This paper is based on research conducted about small–scale coffee farming in Rosário da Limeira, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The paper connects the global coffee market and new trends within the coffee market with the reality of small–scale coffee production. The paper considers the transition to a sustainable coffee production system as a potential tool for environmental conservation and community development. The role of coffee farming in the identity and livelihood of local people is considered, as well as obstacles to change. The paper concludes by proposing different ideas as to how local coffee farmers might be able to make the transition to more sustainable systems of coffee production. The case study examined in this paper is very specific, but the obstacles and opportunities for the communities of Rosário da Limeira parallel rural communities worldwide.
Keywords: coffee farming, deforestation, Brazil, sustainability, fair trade, organic, shade grown, land use, sustainable development, community development, environmental conservation, small–scale production, coffee production, rural areas