The heads of two socially conscious coffee roasteries are in the midst of a journey deep into Central America to explore issues related to fair trade.
Matt Earley of Just Coffee Cooperative in Madison, Wis., and Chris Treter of Higher Grounds Trading Co. in Traverse City, Mich., along with a small crew, are highlighting the journey through a series of videos. Their goal? To explore how the fair trade movement, for good or bad, has actually affected some of the farms and farmers that they’ve been working with over the years.
“How fair is fair trade?” Earley asks when describing the project, called the Fair Trade Chronicles. “Come along and see how small-scale producers and roasters are working together to reclaim the movement.”
Above is the first video in the series. Daily Coffee News will be posting each new video as they are produced during the journey, which runs through Jan. 14. For more information, you can also visit the project’s website.
Here’s an intro to the project from Earley:
Coffee farmers work their land; they plant, tend, harvest and labor long days, all so we can enjoy our daily fix. The coffee industry has overworked, underpaid, and taken advantage of these farmers for decades. While coffee represents billions of dollars of world commerce, only a fraction of that money makes it back to the farmers, many of whom lack access to clean water, health-care, education, and a secure home.
Born out of a struggle for basic human rights in impoverished farming communities around the world, the fair trade movement was launched for the sake of social and economic justice. It empowers small family farmers and their communities through long-term trading relationships, fair prices, and safe and sustainable working conditions. Farmers, activists, and dedicated companies have built true fair trade painstakingly, from the ground up.
Today, bigger corporations are co-opting fair trade as a marketing concept instead of a social movement. This threatens to dilute fair trade standards and the growing array of certifications and labels have become confusing to the average coffee drinker.
This January, Join the founders of two socially conscious US coffee roasteries as they travel deep into Central America, examining fair trade’s impact on farmers they’ve worked with over the past decade. The relationships between these buyers and producers will be a springboard for an examination of the basic principles, history, and current controversies surrounding fair trade. This exclusive web series will share the dramatic stories of co-ops and farmers along their route through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
How fair is fair trade? Come along and see how small-scale producers and roasters are working together to reclaim the movement.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher (at) dailycoffeenews.com, or see the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.