Fair Trade certified coffee is a great system for ensuring that exploited coffee farmers get more of the due for their labor. Even better is Community Agroecology, a system by which Costa Rican farmers send coffee directly to your house, bypassing all middlemen and ensuring that the farmers really get their fair share.
All funds from the coffee sales are returned to the Cooperative. This returns to farmers over five times more than those who sell their coffee in the conventional system and three times more than certified Fair Trade standards.
Ex-UCB student Joshua Deutsch, via email from Costa Rica, where he’s on currently working with coffee farmers and observing how commerce with America affects local economies: “This organization uses the term “fair trade direct” and aims to create a global network of direct purchasing between producers and consumers. The organization also guarantees that the coffee is grown in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Amy and I are giving it a shot (no pun intended).
Update: Looks like it’s also possible to order coffee directly from Zapatistas.
9 Replies to “Community Agroecology”
We get Milk and Juice delivered by a Farmers Co-op here in Suburban Melbourne.
The Milk tastes just as good as the Large Corporate Milk Suppliers, and the Juice (made from Tasmanian Apples and NSW Oranges) tastes better than any of the Large Corporate Juice Suppliers.
Must be nice to live in the civilized world where such options are more available. Here in Southern Colorado, we’re lucky to have Whole Foods. Their selection gets dumbed down and their prices go up every year, but they’re the best we’ve got.
The flipside of living in podunk-ville is that we have a milk man, and our dairy, at least, gives a crap what’s in the milk. Between that and freshness, you can taste the difference. See their website at http://www.royalcrestdairy.com/
Oh yeah, I live somewhere in their delivery area. That narrows it down to a couple million people. :)
Hey Jim, this is a mail order service, direct from Costa Rican farmers to you. Shouldn’t matter where you live!
I agree about tasting the difference (depends which food you’re talking about). To me, the biggest taste difference in organic is with chicken – the difference between a Safeway chicken and a Rocky Range is immense.
Another source of such coffee is Pura Vida Coffee. They even have some specific blends offered from which they donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.
My favorite ? Why it’s Bishop’s Blend of course ;) Which benefits Episcopal Relief and Development – one of the most respected charities there is…
Great tip David, thanks. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side of these kinds of organizations to see who is really providing the largest proportion of proceeds directly to farmers. On one hand, they need some kind of middleman to organize and coordinate efforts, but there’s always the danger there of that org becoming a middleman and trapping a chunk of the profits.
Two of my friends just bought a full share in a fruit/vegetable co-op for this upcoming season… I’m looking forward to see how it pays off for them, because after Corinna move this year we will have a kitchen that I will actually want to cook in (as opposed to our kitchen now, which is barely big enough for two people to pass each other edge-on)
Thereâ€™s also Contra CafÃ©, for those of a differing political persuasion.
(not that Iâ€™d buy any; I canâ€™t stand the taste of coffee.)
Hmmm…Contra Cafe, huh ? ;)
Reminds me of bit of humor about the Bishop’s Blend coffee I mention above. (Background: I’m an Episcopalian, and our church is organized into geographic regions called Dioceses, each lead by a Bishop. My Diocese, Dallas, has a bishop who is an extreme political and social right-winger. This is not common in the Episcopal church)
I was joking recently with a friend at my parish about “Bishop’s Blend.” She asked if it was flavored. I responded that it wasn’t, then added that even if we decided to offer a flavored “Bishop’s Blend” coffee from our diocese, it probably wouldn’t go over too well .
After all, flavors like “Bile” and “Sour Grapes” aren’t very high on most peoples’ lists ;)