“Our 20-year vision contemplates a mutually cooperative community and this week overlapping events in West Bridgewater and Nairobi demonstrate what that can mean. Cuppers from two of our African partners are here to participate in our 5th annual Co-operation in Quality seminar; simultaneously two staff people from the same co-operatives are in Nairobi with Twin Trading participating in a QMS (Quality Management Systems) seminar. It’s cool to think of two different coffee co-operatives, two different Alternative Trade Organizations, in two different countries pursuing our shared vision. This is a great example of the network approach we use in sourcing great coffee from great sources.” Todd Caspersen, Director of Purchasing, Equal Exchange
Lydia Nabulumbi, cupper at Gumutindo co-op in Uganda and Jodi Anderson, Equal Exchange Natural Foods sales representative, cupping coffee at Equal Exchange’s Quality Control Lab in West Bridgewater, Mass.
It’s also a great way to build community. Yesterday, a team of Equal Exchange staff accompanied our two guests to the Equal Exchange Café in Boston and to several other neighborhood cafés, natural food stores, and food co-operatives that have long partnered with us to provide alternatives to the corporate-controlled, profit-driven, and impersonal food system that is increasingly dictating what and how we eat.
Above, Lydia Nabulumbi, a cupper from Gumutindo co-op in Uganda, Amen Mtui, a cupper from KNCU co-op in Tanzania, Brian O’Connell, Equal Exchange Food Service Sales Representative, and Equal Exchange cafe customer Guadelupe Gamboa sharing ideas at the Equal Exchange Cafe in Boston, Mass.
Our vision is both ambitious in impact and human in scale. We look at food economies, local communities (whether here or abroad), quality of product, quality of relationship, transparency and ethical business practicies, human dignity and right livelihoods. We think that the two weeks Lydia and Amen have spent with us at Equal Exchange and yesterday’s visits out in the larger community – sharing knowledge, experiences – and quite simply, just having fun brought us another step closer on our path.
Photos taken by Ashley Symons, Marketing Writer, Equal Exchange