Thursday, April 16, 2009

Heard about Fair Trade Coffee?

I hadn't heard of fair trade coffee until about three weeks ago. I had heard about modern day slavery related to cocoa beans and chocolate manufacturing. But this was new. My friend, in a personal search to make a step toward social justice discovered a mission of the Methodist church that inspired her.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has developed a partnership between small scale farmers all over the world who grow coffee, tea, cocoa, nuts and fruit. Equal Exchange is a fair trade organization which provides a trading system for these independent farmers and co-operatives that guarantee them a minimum sale price, affordable credit and support for their farming. Simply put, these farmers would not get a fair price without these relief efforts. We would paying the same price here in America but they would be living in poverty, unable to support their families and possibly lose their land. Does that hit home with Americans these lose your home?
I wonder if citizens within our Brentwood bubble are as unaware of this effort. My friend decided to take the next step with her local grocery and ask them to carry free trade coffee. Of course, the manager, who did seem to want to help, had to send her up the corporate ladder. I think it would be an easy and important step if Brentwood residents decided to follow her up that ladder. Where do you buy coffee? Harris Teeter? Kroger? Starbucks? The new place in town, The Perch? Ask what they serve and if they are aware of the program. Look for the label shown above in your local grocers. It's a great way, a simple way to make a difference. Just ask for coffee that has been traded fairly and see what happens. You just might find yourself taking a step toward social justice just by having a latte' or espresso!

1 comment:

  1. Great news----all Starbucks coffee served is fair trade and they also have bagged fair trade coffee for sale. Fresh Market and Whole Foods also sell fair trade. So, we do have good choices locally and just need to get the word out. It can be ordered by the case from the UMCOR/Equal Exchange website and sells by the case. A case includes 6 bags and sells for $30.92 plus shipping of $1.90; no tax.
    Ten Thousand Villages in Green Hills also sells fair trade, of course. They also have fair trade tea and chocolate!