Apr 112013

My parents are from the baby boomer generation and it is this generation that I continue to learn how to organize, prioritize, and engage with the progress of evolution and enlightenment. It was this generation that help to expand the civil rights movement, environmental movement, anti-war movement and the women’s movement. At age thirty-one I am aware that I have maybe twenty years left to work, learn, and understand the legacy of this generation in person. Constantine reminds me of the responsibility he feels towards his parents’ generation that left him with an opportunity to serve others and create this business. They taught him to have a work ethic, to sacrifice for the greater good, be a steward of the land, and fix that which is broken. He reminds me of the humility that is learned though pragmatic resourcefulness.

He continues to live his ideals as he becomes an elder. His eyes question my dedication as he speaks his truth, telling me that I must learn the systems that he has been practicing into wisdom for twelve years at Athens’ Own. In order to understand how something works you must know where it comes from, how it is prepared, distributed, fixed when broken, and recycled back to the earth. I stand before him as a confident women determined to understand him and help him, although I know that the arrogant, self-indulgent, negligent aspect of youth is the stereotype that I must prove to be foreign to my professional nature. I reassure him that I am here to listen, to learn how an ethical business succeeds week to week, and readjust my perception so that my humility will balance the success that I have earned and received. My goal is to take the hippy free flowing ideals and translate them into an outline that can be followed, recommended by institutions, and copied as a model.

He wants all of our dialogues to be transparent and online, not just tonight, tomorrow or next week, no he wants them to be online in the moment that the magic is happening so that others can be included in the discussion. I can understand why logs are important, they keep the history of the people that have been involved with Athens’ Own. Their experiences are not lost and they stay connected well after their internship is over. Their experiences represent them and help the business adapt and improve. Constantine is enthusiastic about the Communication Era. He sees democracy happening through an online forum so that dominating groups do not have the power by default. He is not afraid of failures and mistakes rather he believes that they are challenges that inspire work and solutions that lead to efficiency. He has no problem with critiques of the business for he believes that everything that he and his team does at Athens’ Own is owned by the community and that community should know what they are doing.

As we leave for the day I am reminded to be mindful of my words. I have so much to learn. I feel that I have only practiced and studied sustainability. Constantine is teaching it and living it everyday. I am not here to pat myself on the back while living in the progressive town of Athens. I am here to learn how to grow and greet challenges with an open mind like that which is inspired with the rising sun. Granted, when I am up that early I sometimes question with enthusiasm, challenging what I see before me or what I hear, but I know to trust that all will be explained and understood in good time.

Apr 082013

I love coffee and I drink it everyday. On Thursday April fourth I volunteered at Athens’ Own. It was really fun because they package their products at ACEnet, the community kitchen and office location on Columbus Road. I was able to see many of the wonderful community members that enhance the sustainability practices and knowledge in Athens everyday. I received free potato seeds and garlic from Community Food Initiatives on that day. I learned that Athens’ Own is not just a business, Constantine Faller and his team are working to actualize a vision of resiliency. While you are enjoying your cup of Dawn Chorus Coffee you are supporting ethical economic choices. Constantine Faller, owner of Athens’ Own, orders coffee that is certified by the Café Feminino organization which ensures living wage jobs and works to create education and better living conditions for women in coffee countries such as Peru. Dawn Chorus Coffee is fair trade, organic, shade grown, and the coffee is roasted in Athens County. The boxes and equipment used in the production process are up-cycled or re-purposed. The packaging of the coffee is done at the community kitchen in Athens, Ohio known as the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks and is made of compostable material that has been recycled. Therefore the purchase of Dawn Chorus Coffee is a small action that reinforces a larger vision of holistic management.

Historically women in South America are limited to working in the household/farm and are married between the ages of 12-16. Currently due to the network of businesses supporting the work of Café Feminino, one thousand women are sharing experiences that increase their self-esteem, leadership qualities, and security while working outside of their homes. They are coffee farmers preparing the terrain and the nurseries. They compost fertilizer, prepare bio-fertilizers, harvest, de-pulp, ferment, and dry the coffee. They also sell the coffee and have the privilege of deciding how the money is used. This is a rare accomplishment! Two cents per pound above fair trade price is paid to the US Importer of Café Femenino to pay for the income and education of these working women producers.

Athens County is documented as being one of the poorest counties in the nation, yet many people of Athens have learned that the meaning of wealth is found in the strengths of a community, holistic education, Biomimicry, energy that is ecologically and economically sustainable, clean water and air, healthy food, bike paths, community gardens, seed sharing and public parks. The local business owners, farmers, distributers and workers support one another in Athens which is the true standard of wealth. The focus of Athens’ Own is community resilience, sustainability, teamwork, education, and local food. Holistic Management is the vision that Constantine Faller is working to expand. Coffee is a common beverage yet how the coffee bean is grown and who it benefits from its sale is not always a common consideration. Luckily Constantine Faller has created the opportunity for the consumer to make a mindful choice. A drop of Dawn Chorus Coffee in your cup creates ripples of resiliency. Constantine is impeccable with his word, clear eyed, strong willed and ready for a challenge. I feel fortunate to have met him and his team and look forward to learning and sharing more about Athens’ Own in the near future.

Dawn Chorus Coffee is served in Athens, Ohio at Salaam Restaurant, Bagel Street Deli, Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, The Union Bar and Grill, 9 Tables, Columbus Road Diner and Burgers.

It can be purchased at the Athens Farmers Market, Seaman’s Grocery Store, Hyacinth Bean, Village Bakery, Dale’s B.P., Amesville Manna House General Store, Poston’s Carry-Out in Stewart, Ohio and Sharpsburg Gilchrist B.P.

Dec 192012

Report: Newsletter

The farmer’s market was another hot-spot of activity for the Athens’ Own team. I gave a brief report on my recent visit to the Do The Math! Tour. In talking about the divestment plan activated by the students at Ohio University, we noticed that many of the participants of the event have common big ideas, but are too separated. With many people deeply involved into different organizations all working towards a healthier and sustainable world, why aren’t these teams working together? Yet, many of the people I met on the trip are in pursuit of doing just that. The first direct connection was with the President of the student coalition for the Sierra Club, Caitlyn McDaniel. I was able to share contact information with her to form a partnership on the way back to Athens from the DTM! tour. Luckily enough, Constantine introduced me to Loraine McCosker, the advisor for McDaniel’s leadership in the Sierra Club. She invited me to the Sierra potluck dinner on Thursday (12/6) to network with more people. In doing so, we hope to create a co-sponsered film-showing (Athens’ Own and Sierra Club). The goal of this showing would be to gain membership to the Sierra Club OU student coalition while providing information on academic activism through an internship with Athens’ Own. Overall, this was an outstanding public relations and networking day for Athens’ Own. This is one more positive step in the evolution of our newly-developed initiatives. After a successful project, we will be hoping to develop a graphic of the “interwoven web” of Athens’ Own.



Meeting with Loraine to discuss our work and exchange information was my first step in networking with the Ohio University environmental studies community. I have discussed Dr. Debatin’s environmental journalism course, but he is a Scripps professor. Thanks to Constantine, I was able to be introduced to an amazing person and an amazing opportunity. Loraine forwarded me to Dr. Dabelko, the coordinator for the environmental studies certificate. It took me little time to commit to this idea because of my personal holistic goal to “Emerge deeper into the sustainability, environmental and local food community culture”{ recent update from (11/27/12)}.  I have thus far contacted both Loraine and Dr. Dabelko for meeting again. It’s been a successful semester to this point because I feel like I am more knowledgeable about the Athens’ Own mission and history.  I’ve dedicated a large amount of time hoping to recruit more students to join this work. Most of the feedback seems to stem from not having enough time. While I feel that the lack of time can be an issue for most people, I personally thrive to open up time for Athens’ Own each week at minimum because this is a lifestyle I have a STRONG passion for. It is a shame it has taken me so long to solidify this following for the remainder of my time in Athens, but I am glad I have still this year and at least one final year to develop my work and the Athens’ Own  team.


-Mathew Roberts, Athens’ Own Intern

Published 12/19/12