At this year’s annual Specialty Coffee Association of America conference, we asked a group of our farmer co-operative, food co-operative, Interfaith partners, and other friends and allies to tell us what Big Change they would like to see our network accomplish over the next 20 years.
Here’s some of their responses:
– “The biggest threats facing small farmers in Nicaragua are transnational companies in the food system and the impact of environmental degradation. These are the two most important issues we must address.” Pedro Rojas, General Manager, Tierra Nueva Union of Co-operatives, Boaco, Nicaragua
– “Soy parte de una red de productores y quisiera que en los próximos años construyamos relacciones comerciales que nos aseguren una vida digna.” “I’m part of a network of farmers and I’d like to see us build commercial relationships which will assure us a dignified life.”
– “Develop an effective lobby to influence U.S. government trade policies.”
– “Que siga creciendo con sotenibilidad el consumo de café de Equal Exchange y que comprometidos a todos con la conservación del medio ambiente.” “May the consumption of Equal Exchange coffee continue growing in a sustainable way and that together we all commit ourselves to protect our environment.” Beltran Apaza Enriquez, CECOVASA, Peru
– “Unify grassroots organizations around a platform which can be acted on at a federal level.”
– “Un negocio rentable para toda la cadena.” “A profitable business for everyone in the [supply] chain.”
“Hacer un gran bloque para hacer un comercio justo mas grande y unir mejor el Norte y el Sur.” “Create a strong block to expand the Fair Trade movement and better unite those in the North and the South.”
– “Que se fortalezca y consolide el nivel economico del productor – crear una alianza fuerte de consumidores y productores.” “Strengthen and consolidate the economic levels of the producers; create a strong alliance of consumers and producers.”
– “Un consumidor mas sensibilizado con relacion al comercio justo. No perder de vista el trabajo con la gente y para la gente.” “Consumers who are more aware of Fair Trade. Don’t lose sight of working with the people and for the people.”
-“Ser socios de toda la cadena – un mayor acercamiento entre productores, comericalizadores y consumidores.” “Be partners throughout the supply chain; that there be a closer relationship between producers, sellers, and consumers.” Hernando Restrepo, Expocafe, Colombia
– “Que no ha necesidad de certificación Fair Trade porque todo el comercio es justo.” “There will be no need for Fair Trade certification because all trade will be fair.”
– “Un comercio con verdadera justicia social ambiental.” “Trade with true social and environmental justice.”
Please let us know what you think! What are the biggest threats, challenges, and opportunities facing small farmers? Why should we care? What can we do to bring about changes in our food system, to build healthy communities, and to contribute to a greener planet?