Film Screenings!

Last night we hosted a screening of Give A Damn?.  Over 50 people came for the film.  We had a bunch more say they were coming up but think the weather kept them away.  The film was followed by a great Q&A time with the filmmakers.  The audience asked some pretty deep, thoughtful questions and the filmmakers responded with deep, thoughtful answers. 

Dan, one of the filmmakers, encouraged everyone to (a) find what makes them angry/sad (like poverty, violence, human trafficking, etc.), (b) find what gives them lots of joy (like film, coffee, writing, building relationships, etc.) and then (c) see how to two things could connect.  This was his suggestion for a sustainable way to make a long-term impact.  Sounds similar to what happens at Overflow.  :)

The next film is coming up on March 22.  This time we're screening Good Fortune. You can watch the trailer here.  Tickets are available here:

Announcing... Overflow's 1 Year Anniversary Celebration

Help us celebrate making it to 1 Year since we officially opened the shop!
Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1

8:00am-5:00pm Overflow is open for business and giveaways, discounts are happening all day. Free cupcake with purchase.
11:00am Kids Story and Music Time  
1:00pm Art gallery in auditorium.  
6:30pm Coffee Tasting and Speed Networking featuring food from local restaurants. Tickets: $15 per person, members are $10 per plate, buy a membership and a ticket for $45.  Limited tickets available. You must reserve your spot in advance at

10:00am-6:00pm Overflow is open for business and giveaways, discounts are happening all day. Free cupcake with purchase.
1:00pm Live music.  
6:30pm "Taking Flight" Owners Brandon and Amanda Neely share their story of starting a business to change the world. Discussion, food and art included.

Extreme Poverty and Coffee

Extreme Poverty has a definition: living on less than 1.25 dollars US a day.

In 2000, 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit made a promise and some goals. 
Goal #1 is to END HUNGER & EXTREME POVERTY through these objectives:

  1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day.
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.
  3. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
How does this connect with the coffee industry?

The 25 million small coffee farmers world-wide often live in poverty or extreme poverty.  Many of their neighbors do too. Coffee accounts for billions of dollars of export income for some of the world's poorest countries.

Paying coffee farmers a more than fair wage for their coffee is a step toward ending poverty for them.  Plus, they buy from their neighbors' business or farm and thereby help end poverty for the entire community.

Here's an example for you.  The Guatemalan coffee we use puts at least* $1.72 per pound of green coffee in the farmers' hands (his name is Edwin if you're wondering).  Our roaster buys 10,000 lbs of coffee from Edwin.  So, the farmer gets at least* $17,200 from the sale of his coffee.  Which gives him and his family over $47 per day to live on.

Compare that with many farmers who end up selling their coffee to "coyotes" who pay them way less than the C market rate (this rate fluctuates daily and widely over time).  Farmers who sell to "coyotes" can get as little as 50 cents per pound.  50 cents per pound for a 3000-pound crop would mean a family lives on $4.11 per day.  For a family of four that's way less than the $1.25 extreme poverty definition.

Do you Give a Damn?  Want to talk to some filmmakers who Give a Damn?  Check out for more information about an upcoming documentary film screening.

*It's a little more complicated because Edwin gets $4 per pound since he secured the coffee from farm to "free for export" (FOB).  After covering the costs of transportation and exportation fees, he gets at least $1.72.

What You Missed at Open Mic

This past Saturday we had our first Open Mic and More! of 2012.  There were about 15 people who attended.  But it wasn't the quantity of people that made the night special, it was the diversity

People were gathered together to appreciate and showcase the Arts from many different backgrounds, cultures and skin colors.  The mic was shared by African Americans, Asian Americans, and Caucasian Americans alike.  Feedback was given to those who shared from various perspectives.  It was awesome to see people who might never interact otherwise having dialogue around the Arts.

This Open Mic and More! featured poetry, spoken word, comedy and novel-excerpt reading.  We're hoping to add some more different types of art for the next Open Mic.  Already a couple people are working on some music to share. 

Speaking of the next Open Mic and More!, it'll be on March 3, 2012.  It's going to be even more special this next time.  The Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference will be in town and a few from the group are joining with us.  Here are the details:

Brain Trust: A Reading of New Work on Dementia and other brain-straining subjects 
Saturday, March 3, 2012
4-5pm gather and network
5-6pm Reading
6pm on: Overflow Coffee Bar’s Monthly Open Mic Night
Poets and prose writers in all genres are invited to read at this gathering of writers who are addressing Alzheimer’s disease and other assaults on the brain.  Maximum length: five minutes. To sign up, contact Ann Hedreen at ann[at]  Please include: title of your poem or prose piece, genre, and a few lines of introductory copy about you and your work. 

For those of you planning on attending from the South Loop, come at 5 to hear the Brain Trust readings and to sign up for sharing your art.  Be sure to keep tabs (pun intented) on the event tab at  for more information and to invite others to attend.

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