Growing 7000 Coffee Trees, Help Brazilian Farmers

On the 20th of July 2021, the temperature dropped down to -1.2 Celsius (29 Fahrenheit) in Minas Gerais, Brazil, causing enormous frost damage to the coffee crop (Grant 2021). There are two types of frost: white frost and black frost. White frosts leave visible ice crystals on foliage and plants, although they do not often inflict permanent damage. However when temperatures drop below 0°C and there is little humidity, black frosts form. Instead of causing water or other liquid to freeze, frost burn causes plant leaves to turn dark or black, causing irreversible harm. Next, the frost destroys immature plants that are not yet producing cherries, and even if these plants recover, they will never yield cherries (Grant 2021). An interview from Nayara Figueiredo and Marcelo Teixeira state the following:

I will probably have to take out some 80,000 trees, they are burned all the way to the bottom, said Airton Gonçalves, who farms 100 hectares (247.11 acres) of coffee in Patrocinio, in the Cerrado region of Minas Gerais (Figueiredo and Teixeira 2021).

In 1994, after the worst frost to date blanketed many of Brazil's coffee-growing regions, destroying up to 30% of the next year's harvest and foreshadowing dramatically higher coffee prices for consumers, coffee prices skyrocketed (Reuters 1994). Thus, climate change triggering frost will affect global coffee prices and small farms. Coffee is my passion, and it is painful to see this tragedy happen for the coffee farmers, which motivates me to use this struggle as a theme in my art practice.

7000 Coffee Trees is inspired by German artist Joseph Beuys ' social sculpture project 7000 Oaks. Beuys art project condemned man's crimes against nature, which he saw as a whole. Healing and therapy are metaphors for the regeneration of damaged parts of humanity in Beuys' work. Linking medicine and ecology, Beuys asserted that the question of survival extends beyond the issue of human health to the health of the entire planet.

I apply with this insight into the power of language, thoughts, actions, and objects. That is, social sculpture is the perception of social society and environmental problems through the creator’s observation. 7000 Coffee Trees could connect with people to participate in this project. For instance, people could donate money to farmers to grow coffee trees, part of a process to heal the planet. I want to use the power of the public to create a social sculpture, aiding coffee growers who have been directly affected by the climate crisis.

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Dung-Chuan Wen 
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Burswood WA