Archive for May, 2014

By Damian Carrington in the March 14, 2014 issue of the Guardian
Reposted/printed from The Progreso Network
Rising heat, extreme weather and pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes

Global warming is leading to bad, expensive coffee. The perfect storm of raising heat, extreme whether and ferocious pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountain                                       sides on which it flourishes.


Rich western urbanites expecting to dodge the impacts of climate change should prepare for a jolt: global warming is leading to bad, expensive coffee. Almost 2bn cups of coffee perk up its drinkers every day, but a perfect storm of rising heat, extreme weather and ferocious pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes. Read more here.

Read Full Post »

By Carly Kadlec, Green Coffee Purchaser

I recently visited San Gaspar Chajul, a predominantly indigenous town in Western Guatemala where the Asociacion Chajulense (or simply “Chajul”) coffee co-operative has its headquarters. I spoke with the general manager, Arcadio Daniel Galindo, who told me they were in crisis: an outbreak of coffee leaf rust in the region was devastating coffee production and only getting worse. – See more here.  

Read Full Post »

And I have only this to share with you.

coop grocer ad

Read Full Post »

coffee graphic

From our friends at Catholic Relief Services:

For World Fair Trade Day, May 10th 2014 ALL DAY
You can watch Connected By Coffee for free online at right from the homepage.

We want to inspire you with the voices of these farmers on a day to honor fair trade. Please share this with everyone! DVDs and public screening versions are for sale now as well!

(A film by Stone Hut Studios, produced by Chelsea Bay Dennis and Aaron Dennis)

Learn more about WFTD at Fair Trade Resource Network.

or World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).

Connected By Coffee is an inspiring and thought-provoking look into the lives and history of the people who grow the coffee we drink.

Coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry, yet most coffee farmers live in poverty.

Connected by Coffee follows two North American coffee roasters on a 1,000-mile journey across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to listen to the stories of the people who grow their coffee. On the way they meet with soldiers who have become growers, powerful women who are controlling their own destinies and countless farmers joining together to form cooperatives.

We’ll witness how coffee is changing from a tool of oppression into a tool for empowerment, and how it is transforming small-scale growing communities across the world. And we’ll see the indomitable spirit of people who are determined to live joyfully in the face of economic, social, and environmental challenges.

As ethical consumer practices like fair trade grow, questions arise about how fair they really are amidst the historical injustices of global politics and international trade. Connected By Coffee confronts these questions and motivates consumers to make a difference.

Throughout the journey we learn how every cup of coffee we drink connects us in a very real way to the people who produce it.

Read Full Post »

It’s Fair Trade Month and this Saturday, May 10th  is Fair Trade Day.  Appropriately, today we received this alert from the AFL – CIO.   They are asking folks to share the graphic below with friends and family on facebook and twitter.

Their news is as follows:

Thousands of people are in D.C. today to call on Congress to support fair trade and a 21st century economy that works for everyone—not just corporations.

Because of your efforts, we’ve changed the conversation in Washington about trade and stalled—for now—efforts by politicians and Big Business groups to pass the anti-democratic “fast track” trade bill. But these corporate politicians and Big Business interests aren’t going to just ride off into the sunset. They’re already conspiring again to use their massive wealth and power in Washington to silence us. That’s why we’re rallying in D.C. today—and you can stand in solidarity with us.

Share this graphic with your friends to let them know you won’t back down to corporate CEOs and will fight for people-centered trade policies that create good jobs, protect workers’ rights and stop corporations from having more control over our lives.

Just last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who’s the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate committee where the “fast track” bill is sitting right now, made it clear he would do what he could to get it passed by June. At the same time, the Business Roundtable announced it would be running a major ad and media blitz to get Congress to support more old, stale and failed trade policies. This isn’t a coincidence. They haven’t won yet, because of the amazing work you all have done.

Make no mistake. They aren’t stupid and they’ve got a lot of money to burn. They’re going to try to make people forget the misery that NAFTA, CAFTA and other bad trade deals created for millions of workers and their families—lost jobs, lower wages and corporations wrestling more power away from our communities to pad their pockets. So, we can’t let up.

Join me in keeping the momentum going against the “fast track” trade bill by sharing this graphic with your friends now:


In Solidarity,

Celeste Drake
Trade and Globalization Policy Specialist, AFL-CIO

Read Full Post »

Celebrate World Fair Trade Day By Taking Action!

This Saturday, May 10th is World Fair Trade Day. This is a time for all of us to reflect on the kind of world we want and the steps we need to take to get there. Here are just a few ideas from Fair World Project:

Watch five short videos from the finalistsMake a choice and enter to win! Watch five short videos from the finalists in our World Fair Trade Day video contest. We asked all of you to submit videos on why you should win a chance to go to Nicaragua to see fair trade on the ground and what you would bring back to your community. We reviewed dozens of great videos and chose five finalists who represent different ideas about fair trade and how to move it forward. Everyone who votes is entered to win a fair trade gift basket worth $150 for themselves!
Vote now and enter to win!
Support Fair Brands! And even better, support fair brands giving you a discount on select fair trade products at a natural food store or co-op near you!
Spread the word! Watch our own Free Trade vs. Fair Trade video and share it with your network.
Advocate for fair policies!Advocate for fair policies! As important as it is to support small-scale farmers and mission-driven brands, we will never have the impact we want until our policies are in line with our values. Take a look at our action and campaign page where we make it easy to tell congress you want fair trade not free trade, advocate for a fair minimum wage, and advocate on behalf of small-scale farmers in Brazil and victims of the Rana Plaza disaster in Banglaesh.
Small Producer SymbolLook for the Small Producer Symbol! Finally there is a fair trade certification created by and for small-scale producers. Look for it at a retailer near you and if you cannot find it point them to the list of certified producers and registered buyers. (Fair World Project’sFair Americas Coffee also carries the seal.)
Additional Reading:


Ethtix Merch interview with Jonathan Rosenthal on his keynote speech at Fair Trade Federation conference, history of fair trade, direct trade, and more.
Watch the trailer for Seed Keeper of Crescentville, a book that portrays where communities may be heading as corporations take over food and see supply.
After long debate, Vermont becomes first state to require GMO labeling with no strings attached.
Fair World Project joined other civil society organizations in a letter to Harvard University to express concern over their troubling investments in farmland, forests, and other natural resources around the world.

Read Full Post »

There are no two ways around it: Equal Exchange is experiencing a tricky and protracted period of disruption in banana supply. unnamed (1)Equal Exchange works with independent 3rd parties along our chain, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Our reason for existence is to purchase bananas fairly from small-scale producers while challenging the undemocratic nature of the multinational model. Our goal is to also supply consistent and quality bananas on the store level.While upsets in our chain may be common, they tend to be isolated blips that we work hard to minimize. This has not been the case more recently. We’ve had consistent shipping delays and increased examinations at the port, which combined with the other elements of the supply chain, lead to quality problems. As a result of these issues, you might be seeing crown rot on fruit. You might also be seeing greener bananas resulting from inconsistent deliveries to ripeners and distributors. (Learn more about our supply chain here).

We are working to make changes that will show improvement on the store level:

We are diversifying our shipping lines.
We are diversifying our ports of arrival.
We are continuously communicating with producers and distributors regarding quality.

We remain highly accountable to our work and are available to answer any questions.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Fairtrade is about connecting consumers to farmersReal-life disruptions can lead to conversations about how fairtrade products are different. Share this newsletter.Here are some other ideas about how to promote World Fairtrade Day on May 10th!

Use this social media guide

Raising awareness makes us stronger together!

Read what people are saying!Aliza Wasserman wrote this piece about authentic fairtrade bananas after attending the Equal Exchange Banana Conference in March. It covers a lot of ground so it’s a great discussion piece!
Read it here.Erik Larson wrote this piece for the St. Peter Food Co-op, where he is Produce Manager. It also covers what he learned while in Boston at the Banana Conference. Read it here.


Please be in touch with any more requests for banana suits, demo ideas and marketing needs. You can email operations@okeusa.com or call774-776-7361 with any questions.You can find more resources on our website: 

Read Full Post »

By Sara Fiore, Community Sales Writer

Organic Coffee Farm

Coffee lovers are discerning people, and there’s a lot to say about its many flavors, aromas, and origins – but one of the biggest differences between coffees is most striking before it even reaches your cup.  Read more here.

Read Full Post »