Lecture series on coffee kicks off with book author!

30 Mar

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Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World

This series opens with writer Mark Pendergrast using his unique brand of storytelling to provide a sweeping overview of coffee’s impact on the world since its discovery on Ethiopian mountainsides. Pendergrast explores coffee’s history through multiple lenses – environmental, social, business, medical, and economic.

Lectures will take place on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm, in 210 Kane Hall, University of Washington. Lectures are free and open to the public. Please pre-register at uwalum.com or call 206-543-0540.

“From its discovery on an ancient Ethiopian hillside to its role as millennial elixir in the Age of Starbucks, coffee has dominated and molded the economies, politics, and social structures of entire countries. The second most valuable exported legal commodity on Earth, coffee delivers the largest jolt of the world’s most widely taken psychoactive drug,” so says Mark Pendergrast’s Web site about his book, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World.

Pendergrast, a non-fiction writer based in Vermont, will talk about the history of coffee as the first speaker in the spring-quarter evening lecture series “Coffee: From the Grounds Up.” Led by Josh Tewksbury, UW assistant professor of biology, the series of lectures and panel discussions is open to the public and offered as a one- or two-credit course for UW students. It runs Tuesdays starting April 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. in 210 Kane. The event is free but space is limited and advance registration is requested. Click here to sign up for one or more of the talks, or call 206-543-0540.

The sessions will highlight efforts being made to reduce poverty, improve lives of coffee workers and increase environmental sustainability in coffee producing regions of the world. There will also be session on subjects such as, “Why We Love Coffee.”

Other speakers range from David Robinson, son of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and founder of a coffee cooperative in Tanzania to David Browning, vice president for TechnoServe, a non-profit that works with coffee farmer groups in more than half a dozen countries and that received $46 million from the Gates Foundation to help East African coffee farmers.

Visit, http://depts.washington.edu/coffees/lecture%20series.html, for a full list of speakers and topics, as well as information about how UW students can earn credit.

The series is being conducted in conjunction with the coffee exhibit now under way at the Burke Museum of Natural History. Other sponsors are the College of the Environment; Global Business Center, Michael G. Foster School of Business; Program on the Environment; Center for Global Studies, Jackson School of International Studies; and UW Alumni Association.

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