Inspiring People

Radical Nonprofit Brings Surfboards to Coffee Farmers


Two Sydney-based brothers recently launched the new nonprofit Earth Boards, geared toward helping coffee farmers succeed by providing them with surfboards. I sat down with co-founder Joe Goodwin to talk about how Earth Boards is changing the world.


RJ: Can you tell me how you and your brother got the inspiration for Earth Boards?


JG: My brother and I have worked in coffee shops since high school, and the work that coffee farmers do is often taken for granted and undersupported. So the question wasn’t who to support, it was how.


Alongside that, Steve and I had such a moving and formative experience surfing in Bali on our spring break two years ago, and we try to go back as often as possible. It’s a known fact that creativity gets harder the more stressed you are. We thought, what if we could bring the spirit of play to coffee farmers and help them be more creative by reducing their stress?


RJ: What do you see as your guiding mission?


JG: Surf, support, grow. We see Earth Boards as an investment in the future of coffee. Without producers, we have nothing. If we can help them be more resilient in the face of challenges, that’s the most important work out there.


RJ: Do you intend to bring Earth Boards to all coffee farmers, or just those along the world’s coasts?


JG: For the first three years, our funding will only allow us to focus on the coastal farmers, but our five year plan includes what we call “surf pilgrimages” for farmers from all regions. It may be awhile but we’ll get there eventually.


RJ: Wow. That’s just great. It’s well known that coffee producers work so hard that they don’t always have time to think about things like play. Do you have plans for how to bolster labor during surf breaks and pilgrimages?


JG: We haven’t really put much thought towards that, but we’re confident that once we unlock the spirit of creative play, the details will work themselves out.


RJ: Wow. Thank you so much for your time. Anything else you want to add?


JG: To support Earth Boards in our mission and bring surf boards to coffee farmers, get in touch or donate on our website.


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About RJ Joseph

RJ Joseph is a coffee lover, roaster, writer, ex-bitter barista, and founder of The Knockbox.
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