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Mobile Portland: Mobile Apps for Coffee Farmers: 10 Lessons Learned in the Field

334 NW 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209, US (map)

Access Notes

Front door on 11th; venues may have access through large garage door on Flanders



It's hard to build mobile apps. But it's even harder to build them them for people very different from yourself – in this case, coffee farmers in Tanzania. How do you go about building an app for someone who's never before used a computer, smartphone, or tablet? How do you convince a farmer to use your app when you speak different languages, come from different contexts, and have different needs? How can you ensure that your app is creating a lasting, positive impact?

This month's Mobile Portland presentation shows how Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers faced these challenges, and what they learned along the way. After deploying iOS apps and mobile -optimized websites in coffee-growing communities around the world, Sustainable Harvest has plenty to share. You might be surprised how lessons learned in places like Moshi, Tanzania and San Ignacio, Peru apply to Portland, Oregon.


  • Developing for audiences who are new to mobile (and computers in general)
  • Deploying technology solutions in distant countries
  • Choosing between and maintaining iOS/native and mobile-optimized web app platforms
  • Helping farmers have more sustainable livelihoods, supported by mobile technology

Join us to learn about Sustainable Harvest's successes – and challenges – in bringing mobile technology to coffee cooperatives and farmers around the world.

About the Speaker

Ezra Spier [https://twitter.com/sh_ezra_pdx], Director of Technology Solutions, Sustainable Harvest [http://www.sustainableharvest.com/]

Ezra Spier designs and builds sustainable mobile technology that improves the productivity and incomes of smallholder coffee farmers around the world. He has presented Sustainable Harvest's mobile technology work at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, and has visited coffee communities in Peru, El Salvador, and Tanzania. A Portland native, Ezra is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he majored in East Asian Studies.