When our Roastmaster, Joe Cesa, had his coffeehouse (the first Fair Trade coffeehouse in Philly), one of his patrons was Keith R. Brown. Keith's wife came in too so Joe became friends with both of them. At one point, Keith had gone to Nicaragua to visit a coffee farm just a week or so before Joe went on his visit to a coffee farm in Nicaragua. Their missions became aligned and Joe served as one of the contributors to Keith's book, "Buying Into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality and Consumption".
Keith, now Dr. Keith, wanted to bring in his students from St. Joe's University to meet the man mentioned in his book as a final stage of the coffee "process" before they prep to head down to visit a coffee farm in Costa Rica. What a great class! We started by discussing the roasting process, seeing and smelling green and roasted beans, our Organic certification requirements for handling coffee and some details about tasting coffee.
Then started the good stuff. How do we decide who to source our coffees from? What sets those importers apart from other importers and what are they doing to support our mission of fair treatment, education and care within the farm communities? How do we know that they are doing what they say in terms of the Fair Trade model and what the reputation of Fair Trade is today? What can we all do to add awareness and change our ways of daily consumerism to support a more fair world?
All so many good thoughts and questions. What do you do, or need to do, to bring you closer to the products you buy and use each day?