Friday, October 8, 2010

Fair Trade

Darlene asked me to write a blog about the Fair Trade movement and what it means to those involved. As you guys have probably noticed, I base a lot of what I purchase and where I shop on whether or not it is produced by a fair trade farmer/participant. Here's why:
Fair Trade Certification is one of the main ways farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America have been able to overcome poverty because their crops are purchased at a competitive price. These farmers also receive the extra revenue due for their organic produce. Fair Trade bans child/slave labor and the use of chemical pesticides, which means the farmers' crops are cruelty-free and the farmers' families can work in a safer environment. The farmers are also free to represent themselves, which eliminates middlemen who would subtract from their profits and also means the products can go straight from the farm to the seller to the buyer. Nice, right?
Fair Trade Certification is available for many of the dry goods in the US, like coffee and tea (mostly found at Third Wave shops).
In the Third Wave coffee movement, roasters work directly with the farmers to ensure the best beans are purchased to be roasted and used in their shops. This means the farmers are also receiving the credit for the superior quality of the produce, not the shop. Which is how I think it should be. Considering how much we are all willing to spend on a cup of coffee, shouldn't the farmers receive their dues, too?
Fair Trade is often seen as a relationship between the producer and consumer: the producer receives a better price for his product (which allows him to improve his standing) and the consumer is able to help reduce poverty while purchasing a superior product! Pretty great deal for both parties :)
Some of this can get really complicated, like explaining the Fair Trade Premium (which is sometimes responsible for the higher price of Fair Trade products), but I'm not going to put you to sleep. Check it out on Google!
And no, they don't send me money to write that in half of my blogs.
If you go to the store and read the label of a product before purchasing, you'll see whether or not it is certified organic or Fair Trade. And I'll give Starbucks this one break Darlene, every latte and cappuccino is made with 100% Fair Trade espresso :)

Yum. Coffee fruit :)

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