Dean Cycon, founder of the fair trade coffee company Dean’s Beans and author of Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee will be presented with one of six of the college’s prestigious Bicentennial Medals on Saturday, September 6 at their annual Convocation ceremony.
Established in 1993 on the occasion of the college’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Medals honor members of the Williams community for distinguished achievement in any field of endeavor.
Our heartiest congratulations go to Dean. As Bill Harris, president of Cooperative Coffees said, “He was fair trade before fair trade was cool.”
Fifteen years ago, Dean Cycon formed the company Dean’s Beans as a model of how a commodity could be grown, processed, and sold in ways that are environmentally sensitive, economically fair, and return a profit. He buys organically grown beans from farmer cooperatives throughout the world and roasts them in the company’s facility in Orange, Mass. Profits are shared with the farmers and company employees and are invested in community development projects in the farmer’s regions. He also pressures coffee chains to increase the percentage of their offerings that have been produced in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible. The company has received Best Practices Recognition from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and a Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.