A Williamsburg café fights food insecurity and inequity in the coffee industry

ByAngelica James Localish logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024
A Williamsburg café fights food insecurity and inequity in the coffee industry
A Black-owned café in Williamsburg uses ethical sourcing to create specialty coffee.

WILLIAMSBURG, NEW YORK -- Bushwick Grind in Williamsburg is a café that tackles social issues. In 2015, Kymme Williams-Davis and her husband Raymond Davis saw a need to create a business that offered a welcoming environment. Their café fosters community with alternatives to the fast-food options in the surrounding area.

Two years prior to the Bushwick Grind's opening, Williams-Davis learned of the lack of equity in the coffee field. According to Fairtrade International, farmers received low compensation for their coffee beans, producers, on average, retaining one percent of the retail coffee price, prompting an increase in the fairtrade minimum price for coffee. A coffee producer would make around $0.04 USD per each $4 USD cup of coffee. According to the National Coffee Association USA, women contribute 40-80% of the labor in the coffee industry. Williams-Davis has pledged to work with roasters and distributors that are actively working to invest in the communities from which they source their coffee. She currently imports house espresso from Yirga Chefe, Ethiopia, where she works directly with a single farmer; the rest of the café' s coffee is sourced locally.

In addition to ethical sourcing, the Bushwick Grind works to improve food insecurity in their community with their Two Fish, Five Loaves community fridge. According to local estimates, one in every five Bushwick residents experienced food insecurity. Briana Calderon Navarro of Collective Focus, LLC speaks on the increase in community fridges in New York City, stating that "because the pandemic was such an abnormal time, for most of us, we were able to think creatively about what a solution could look like for our communities...dozens, if not hundreds of people all over New York City...decided to put refrigerators out on the sidewalks." The fridge operates on donations from organizations like Collective Focus, supermarkets, and Bushwick Grind. Donations like canned goods and feminine hygiene products are placed directly into the fridge and passersby take what they need daily.

Visit the Bushwick Grind at 63 Whipple St, Brooklyn, NY, 11206