My daughter picked this line up from a cartoon movie – Monsters vs. Aliens, I think. She’ll sit with her water or milk at the table and say “That’s a good joe”. She knows she’ll get a laugh every time.
When I’m making coffee at home, I do offer it to my kids – partially to be polite, but also because I know they’ll laugh & remind me that coffee is an adult drink. I DO enjoy my coffee.
Coffee is one of those things that is under fire by me, mentally. It is one of these necessary evils. Evil in all the bad things it does to me, necessary in that it does lots of good for me as well. I LOVE coffee.
However, I KNOW (as do I think most coffee drinkers somewhere in a recess of their minds) that coffee is one of those products that while benefiting US, is quite disturbing in its production process. We’re talking child labor, wages well below legal standards, a work day extending well beyond legal standards, unsafe use of machinery & pesticides etc etc. Check it!
And at this point in time, the coffee WE purchase at our local store is at a nice low price that doesn’t even cover the farmer’s expenses – this leads to a debt cycle that is very dangerous and just adds to the above mentioned issues. But I REALLY love my coffee!!
Bring in Fair Trade! WHAT does fair trade even mean? It means all the above concerns are monitored & taken into account before the coffee reaches consumers. To receive a fair trade label, all these issues must be resolved.
I don’t like it.
Rather than continue to buy lesser expensive coffee, if more people would accept the reality about where their coffee comes from and start supporting labels that show the fair trade logo, much of these issues would really just go away. If the farmer was paid something above, rather than below the cost of production, they may actually hire real laborers rather than enslave children. In Guatemala, the average female worker makes $0.87 -$1.30 for a 10-12 hour day rather than the legal $2.60 for a maximum 8 hour day. It is a bit of a cycle and the only one benefiting here is US.
Things HAVE been improving though, consumers ARE starting to realize this and major chains ARE making fair trade products more readily accessible. In 1998, more than 21,500 kg of fair trade coffee was sold in Canada. By 2004, Canadians were buying more than 940,000 kg. That’s a huge jump!! In Europe, sales of fair trade products are increasing at a rate of 20% per year. People ARE noticing and demanding change and the industry has had to follow suit. Yay!!
So, a week ago while shopping in Costo, I was purchasing more coffee (because I love it so!) I looked at the big tub for one price, then the slightly smaller container for more than a slightly higher price and I went with the fair trade option.
Why put a band aid on your knee if the cut is on your elbow?
For the record, Starbucks and other large deluxe mega coffee companies have already gone fair trade.
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