Chelsea Green Publishing


Pages:300 pages
Book Art:Black and white, color photos and maps
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781933392707
Pub. Date October 17, 2007


Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 17, 2007


In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel, and cultural anthropology, author Dean Cycon brings readers face-to-face with the real people who make our morning coffee ritual possible.

Second only to oil in terms of its value, the coffee trade is complex with several levels of middlemen removing the 28 million growers in fifty distant countries far from you and your morning cup. And, according to Cycon, 99 percent of the people involved in the coffee economy have never been to a coffee village. They let advertising and images from the major coffee companies create their worldview.

Cycon changes that in this compelling book, taking the reader on a tour of ten countries in nine chapters through his passionate eye and unique perspective. Cycon, who is himself an amalgam-equal parts entrepreneur, activist, and mischievous explorer-has traveled extensively throughout the world's tropical coffeelands, and shows readers places and people that few if any outsiders have ever seen. Along the way, readers come to realize the promise and hope offered by sustainable business principles and the products derived from cooperation, fair pricing, and profit sharing.

Cycon introduces us to the Mamos of Colombia-holy men who believe they are literally holding the world together-despite the severe effects of climate change caused by us, their "younger brothers." He takes us on a trip through an ancient forest in Ethiopia where many believe that coffee was first discovered 1,500 years ago by the goatherd Kaldi and his animals. And readers learn of Mexico's infamous Death Train, which transported countless immigrants from Central America northward to the U.S. border, but took a horrifying toll in lost lives and limbs.
Rich with stories of people, landscapes, and customs, Javatrekker offers a deep appreciation and understanding of the global trade and culture of coffee.

In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world.

What is Fair Trade Coffee?
Coffee prices paid to the farmer are based on the international commodity price for coffee (the "C" price) and the quality premium each farmer negotiates. Fair Trade provides an internationally determined minimum floor price when the C plus premium sinks below $1.26 per pound for conventional and $1.41 for organics (that's us!). As important as price, Fair Trade works with small farmers to create democratic cooperatives that insure fair dealing, accountability and transparency in trade transactions. In an industry where the farmer is traditionally ripped off by a host of middlemen, this is tremendously important.

Cooperatives are examined by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), or the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), European NGOs, for democratic process and transparency. Those that pass are listed on the FLO Registry or become IFAT members. Cooperatives provide important resources and organization to small farmers in the form of technical assistance for crop and harvest improvement, efficiencies in processing and shipping, strength in negotiation and an array of needed social services, such as health care and credit. Fair Trade also requires pre-financing of up to sixty percent of the value of the contract, if the farmers ask for it. Several groups, such as Ecologic and Green Development Fund have created funds for pre-finance lending.


"Who would have thought that a cup of coffee contained World Bank schemes, indigenous rights, third world women's empowerment and a wide range of globalization issues? Dean Cycon reveals the worlds within worlds of coffee that have to make us think about the choices we make at the supermarket or café."--Susan Sarandon, actress and activist

"Coffee is more than just a drink. It is about politics, survival, the earth and the lives of indigenous peoples. Dean Cycon has been involved with indigenous rights, in coffee and in the larger sphere, for the twenty-seven years I have known him. He has a rich knowledge of the people and places of coffee, and knows how to tell our stories in a sensitive, insightful and often humorous way. Javatrekker is a great book for anyone who wants to know what is really going on in their morning cup."--Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Laureate and author of I, Rigoberta Menchu and Crossing Borders

"Dean Cycon is a born storyteller. . . and he has some extraordinary stories to tell in Javatrekker. Dean is the rare individual who possesses a keen intellect, quick wit, without the taint of cynicism or world-weariness. He's a rebel and a trailblazer with a deep passion for the fundamental causes of fairness, freedom, and environmentalism. Javatrekker is a great read because it is, first and foremost, entertaining in the swashbuckling style of Anthony Bourdain or Jack Kerouac. But Dean's stories possess a depth of spirit and a love for his subjects that many adventure writers lack. And his core subject-coffee-is so universally familiar (and yet little-understood) that I believe his potential audience is enormous."--Stephen Braun, author of the award-winning Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

"Dean is truly a singular character in the world of coffee roasters. He takes an intense interest in knowing the origins of his coffee. While most roasters and importers brag about their 'Third World' experiences, Dean travels to the 'Fourth World,' getting down and dirty with the indigenous groups growing the coffees, way out beyond where most folks will go. He is embraced universally by these groups and hailed as a true brother. His visits to these locations and his ability to bring these coffees to the U.S. market and pay Fair Trade pricing to the growers has brought large scale economic recovery to thousands of small coffee farmers around the world."--John Cossette, Royal Coffee, Inc.

"It's not often that a book with great politics is also a great read. Dean Cycon puts a face and a story in each cup of coffee I will ever drink. This is a book for anyone who loves coffee as well as anyone who wants to know the real life stories behind those who provide us with this second-most-traded commodity after oil. Dean Cycon is an informed, lively, straight-shooting guide. I've always been grateful to him for the work he has done to bring a conscience to coffee. Now I can add my gratitude for the stories he tells so vividly and powerfully in Javatrekker: Dispatches From the World of Fair Trade Coffee."--Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and A Cafecito Story

"Dean Cycon's experience has ranged from Native communities in North America to the depths of the oceans and remote coffee producing villages and communities internationally. Cycon's analysis and experience, as well as his humorous and engaging style, promise to bring stories to the light of day that would not and could not be told, simply because no one else has his range of experience. Coffee is god to many of us in the morning, and yet, we know so little about its history and present issues. Linking coffee drinkers to the communities is the work of Dean Cycon in an animated, vital and forever engaging manner. Javatrekker promises to be a set of stories, adventures and compelling relationships told for all of us to eagerly read."--Winona LaDuke, indigenous rights activist, author of All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life and Recovering the Sacred

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review-
This surprisingly gripping travelogue is filled with tales from the "coffeelands," barely-on-the-map locales in Africa, the Americas, and Asia where coffee farmers struggle to survive. Written with knowledge and good cheer by the founder of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee, the book reads more like a trippy adventure than a business trip, though the issues Cycon raises are vital, prescient and little known ("99 percent of the people involved in coffee... have never been to a coffee village"). While learning first-hand about the hardships involved in growing and selling coffee beans-the world's second most valuable commodity, after oil-the author finds himself in Guatemala praying to an effigy in a Mickey Mouse tie and cowboy boots; eating armadillo leg in Colombia; working to heal landmine victims in Nicaragua and war widows in Sumatra; and meeting with all manner of farmers, bureaucrats and dignitaries. His dispatches are highly enlightening, demonstrating how few national governments provide coffee growers with water, education, health care or even protection from harmful pesticides; further, coffee growers' income is subject to the whims of financial speculators half a world away. Reading this eye-opening book, it's impossible not to reconsider-and feel grateful for-the myriad people behind your morning cup.


  • Winner - Foreword Magazine Bronze Book of the Year Award (Travel Essays)
  • Winner - Independent Publisher Book Award, Gold Medal Winner (Travel Essay)


Dean Cycon

Dean Cycon owns Dean's Beans, an all-organic, all-fair-trade, all-kosher coffee roaster in Orange, MA. He and his company lead the industry in commitment to true fair-trade principles. Projects funded through Dean's Beans include a revolving loan fund to dig wells in Ethiopia, a coffee roaster/café in Nicaragua owned and operated by a prosthetics clinic giving limbs and therapy to landmine victims, reforestation in Peru, and coffee de-pulping machines in Papua New Guinea. to learn more about Dean's Beans visit


Dean's Website


Dean Cycon, author of Javatrekker, at Bioneers '07


Limits to Growth

Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows and Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows

In 1972, three scientists from MIT created a computer model that analyzed global resource consumption and production. Their results shocked the world and created stirring conversation about global 'overshoot,' or resource use beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Now, preeminent environmental scientists Donnella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows have teamed up again to update and expand their original findings in The Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Global Update.

Meadows, Randers, and Meadows are international environmental leaders recognized for their groundbreaking research into early signs of wear on the planet. Citing climate change as the most tangible example of our current overshoot, the scientists now provide us with an updated scenario and a plan to reduce our needs to meet the carrying capacity of the planet.

Over the past three decades, population growth and global warming have forged on with a striking semblance to the scenarios laid out by the World3 computer model in the original Limits to Growth. While Meadows, Randers, and Meadows do not make a practice of predicting future environmental degradation, they offer an analysis of present and future trends in resource use, and assess a variety of possible outcomes.

In many ways, the message contained in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a warning. Overshoot cannot be sustained without collapse. But, as the authors are careful to point out, there is reason to believe that humanity can still reverse some of its damage to Earth if it takes appropriate measures to reduce inefficiency and waste.

Written in refreshingly accessible prose, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a long anticipated revival of some of the original voices in the growing chorus of sustainability. Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update is a work of stunning intelligence that will expose for humanity the hazy but critical line between human growth and human development.

Available in: Paperback

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Limits to Growth

Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows

Paperback $22.50

Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems

By Donella Meadows

In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001.

Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.

While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner.

In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

Available in: Paperback

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Thinking in Systems

Donella Meadows, Diana Wright

Paperback $19.95

The Looting of America

The Looting of America

By Les Leopold

How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it?

In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance.

He also asks some tough questions:

  • Why did Americans let the gap between workers' wages and executive compensation grow so large?
  • Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives' pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes?
  • Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America's new, postindustrial economy?
  • How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again?
  • And what can we do to get our money back?

In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street's exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by "innovative" products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They'll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again.

As the country teeters on the brink of what could be the next Great Depression, we should be especially wary of the so-called financial experts who got us here, and then conveniently got themselves out. So far, it appears they've won the battle, but The Looting of America refuses to let them write the history--or plan its aftermath.

Available in: Paperback

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The Looting of America

Les Leopold

Paperback $17.95

Waiting on a Train

Waiting on a Train

By James McCommons

During the tumultuous year of 2008--when gas prices reached $4 a gallon, Amtrak set ridership records, and a commuter train collided with a freight train in California--journalist James McCommons spent a year on America's trains, talking to the people who ride and work the rails throughout much of the Amtrak system. Organized around these rail journeys, Waiting on a Train is equal parts travel narrative, personal memoir, and investigative journalism.

Readers meet the historians, railroad executives, transportation officials, politicians, government regulators, railroad lobbyists, and passenger-rail advocates who are rallying around a simple question: Why has the greatest railroad nation in the world turned its back on the very form of transportation that made modern life and mobility possible?

Distrust of railroads in the nineteenth century, overregulation in the twentieth, and heavy government subsidies for airports and roads have left the country with a skeletal intercity passenger-rail system. Amtrak has endured for decades, and yet failed to prosper owing to a lack of political and financial support and an uneasy relationship with the big, remaining railroads.

While riding the rails, McCommons explores how the country may move passenger rail forward in America--and what role government should play in creating and funding mass-transportation systems. Against the backdrop of the nation's stimulus program, he explores what it will take to build high-speed trains and transportation networks, and when the promise of rail will be realized in America.

Available in: Paperback

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Waiting on a Train

James McCommons, James Kunstler

Paperback $19.95