Sunday, September 12, 2010

Coffee-Migra

When I came to Bridgewater for my a job interview in 1997, the chair of my department was proud to include the recently-refurbished Bridgewater Public Library on a quick tour he gave me of the town. We had the tremendous good fortune of renting a house directly behind the library for the following five years (and we still live within a short walk) -- so that our daughter was able as an infant to be a frequent library user. The programs there helped to make her the confident learner that she is today. The entire family has been distressed by the difficulties the library has had in recent years, and we have done our best to support the wonderful staff, trustees, and Friends group.

Over the past couple of years, the library has sold Bridgewater Brew, a private label of Dean's Beans coffee, as an ongoing fundraiser. Periodically, I have been pleased to help the Friends of the BPL in this endeavor by giving public lectures about coffee that help draw attention to the fund-raiser while educating town residents about coffee. I was especially delighted when I was invited to speak yesterday as part of the celebration of the return of Saturday hours at the library (it had been entirely closed on weekends for a couple of years).

Because many patrons had already heard some of my general presentations on coffee, I decided to choose a focus. Because migration has been on my mind a lot in the past couple of years, I decided to focus on the relationship between the Coffee Crisis and the migration of undocumented workers to the United States. Then I decided to balance the human story with an environmental tale, about the importance of coffeelands in the migration of songbirds. The presentation was very well received and stimulated a lot of good discussion. I have put some of the articles and web sites I used in preparing this presentation on a page I call coffee-migra, where "migra" is a common slang term for border-patrol agents, as popularized in Santana's song of that name on the Supernatural album.

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