Jeremy Julian

226. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 226 – Changing the World One Cup at a Time

April 1, 2024


Have you ever wondered about the journey your coffee takes from the farm to your cup? Our latest podcast discussion explores this journey, featuring a stimulating conversation with the co-founders of “One Big Island in Space”, a project aiming to reshape the coffee industry with a more sustainable, ethical approach, and Jeremy Julian, the host of The Restaurant Technology Guys.

Social-Economic Impact of Coffee Production

With Michelle and Bob Fish at the helm, “One Big Island in Space” is a passion project focused on transforming the way coffee is grown and sold. They started their journey after realizing the coffee industry’s current state, where many coffee farmers are exploited, facing severe economic struggles, and the planet is being negatively impacted due to deforestation and the use of harmful pesticides.

The Journey towards Sustainability

Michelle highlights how they found common ground with a few coffee farmers who shared the same vision for sustainable farming practices. While their journey was challenging and filled with unexpected discoveries, it was fulfilling as they got to connect and learn from the farmers themselves. They spent days visiting the farms, assessing the farming practices, and working with farmers to improve their operations.

Boots on the Ground

Bob emphasizes the need for their approach of “boots on the ground,” which involves visiting the farms personally to witness the operating conditions firsthand. He explained how this approach helped them to vet the farms, ensuring they took care of both people and the planet equally. Their approach includes looking into housing conditions for workers, the fair treatment of employees, and their investment in the local community.

Impact on Local Communities

Our guest speakers explained that their venture sought a “core values fit” with the farmers they work with. Michelle highlighted that they were not merely looking for coffee producers but were more interested in aligning with those who matched their values of sustainable farming, fair working conditions, and commitment to the local community.

The Future of Coffee Production: A Sustainable Vision

Michelle and Bob shared their ambitious vision for the future – they intend to be 100% farm direct by 2028. They acknowledge that this is a daunting task as the amount of coffee they need to find increases annually due to Big B’s rapid growth. However, they remain committed to their mission.

Their goal is to connect all the coffee drinkers to “the name, the face and the place” behind each cup of coffee. They believe in the power of consumers to drive change in the world, especially when they understand their impact on the lives of the people growing the coffee.


The discussion with Michelle and Bob revealed a compelling picture of the coffee industry’s realities and the need for sustainable farming practices. In the face of these challenges, they are leading the way with “One Big Island in Space,” a model that paves the way for more responsible, ethical coffee consumption while uplifting communities around the globe.

By putting people and planet first, they are setting the stage for a more sustainable, equitable coffee industry, one cup at a time.

Don’t miss out on this fascinating dialogue about reshaping the coffee industry. Join The Restaurant Technology Guys podcast and stay updated with the latest insights and tips to help you run your restaurant better.

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