David Robinson, the son of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, moved to Tanzania over 30 years ago and then became a coffee farmer. The youngest child of Jack and Rachel Robinson, David grew up in a home where making a difference in others’ lives was paramount. David says being a witness to his father’s commitment to social change was an effecting part of his childhood. His mom Rachel took David on his first trip to Africa in 1967 at the age of 14 and it had a profound impact on his life. David from that point, embraced Africa as his homeland and it became his dream to be a citizen of an African country. After one-year at Stanford University, he dropped out of college and embarked on his journey to find a new home on the African continent. He travelled to 10 different countries on the continent and finally decided to call Tanzania his new homeland.
David Robinson laid a foundation in his new homeland and started a family of his his own. He married a woman from central Tanzania and together they have 10 children. He would eventually purchase a 280-acre farm on which he grows gourmet coffee and has a food farm. David made it a point to become a coffee farmer because he saw how much of a valuable commodity it was around the world and that the Africans harvesting the crop were being used as cheap labor. With this in mind, he formed a coffee growing co-op with over 300 other farmers and they export their 100% Arabica coffee all across North America under the trade name, ‘Sweet Unity Farms’. Although close to 100 million pounds of coffee beans are produced by Tanzania each year and sold to chain-stores such as Starbuck’s, Caribou, and Peet’s; Sweet Unity Farms is the only ready-to-use coffee that comes out of Tanzania. With the farmers of Sweet Unity Farms growing and producing their own coffee, they are able to keep a large percentage of the profits that are generated. From a business and economic stand-point, David and the other coffee farmers across Tanzania are able to have ownership of an African product. With the farmers being in the business aspect of coffee production, they are able to create jobs and build wealth for themselves and other Black people.
After suffering several devastating family losses after his father Jack died in 1972, and his older brother dying before that at the age of 24, David decided to look to Africa to find solace. He decided to move to Africa full-time in 1983 when he witnessed the change to a more global economy. When asked why he left America, David explains that “Africa is wealthy, Africa’s beauty, Africa is full of potential, Africa is a place where you can make a life, raise children, be satisfied and contribute.” David Robinson explained that it’s easier to move to the African continent where your ancestors are from and you do not feel like an outsider, versus moving to say “China or France or to Germany where you would be a foreigner.”
To purchase Sweet Unity Farms coffee, click here.