Article: Fair Trade: Ten Years of Undeniable Growth

Written by Cafe Campesino on Sep 1, 2008 in Article, NEWSLETTER |
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By Jimmy Foglio

On a dripping twilight in Colombia, Bill Harris doesn’t need to be reminded of the sacredness of human relationships, the precious connection between humans, the idea of us all being stewards to one another and our environments, coiled together like underground Aspen trees as one global strand. Bill stands as the humble personification of what historians call a primary source, having witnessed firsthand a stacked journal of countless family narratives that recount the undeniable worth of fair trade efforts worldwide.

But not everyone gets it.

Some academic opponents and obstinate economists cite basic supply and demand model for their dissention, and use the classic argument against fair trade, which is essentially that if everyone did it, it wouldn’t work. Perhaps. Indeed, our world would be at risk for being associated with that dirty word “socialism,” if this were the case. But what opponents of fair trade miss is that there is a demand for this type of bean, known to some as “specialty coffee,” to others as “socially conscious,” and still others as part of the “cultural creative” resume. Cultural Creatives (CC’s) represent a renaissance in world thought, the transformation of a society that, as Bill puts it, “cares where stuff comes from.” Estimates incur that 44 million people worldwide fit this demographic profile, one-quarter of the total U.S. population, to place it in perspective. CC’s are concerned with economic sustainability, fair prices and lower consumption.

To put it simply, these are people who care about people and their environment; composting is clearly not just for hippies anymore.

Cafe Campesino has played their part in this movement, not only worldwide, having built meaningful personal and economically viable relationships with producer partners and communities, but also locally. Bill notes that the birth of Cafe Campesino in Americus ten years ago has helped people not only realize that there is indeed good coffee out there, but introduce these same people to a values and principles based concept of doing business.

“We were fortunate enough to have brought specialty coffee to the culture of Americus. We have a great group of loyal customers who continue to lend their support, and show their care for where the stuff they buy comes from.”

Bill continues, “We are a good example of where your bliss can take you. We started because of one moment, in one day on a Habitat trip in Guatemala, and a great deal came out of that moment. I’m glad we were able to follow that moment.”

Examples of the tentacles from that moment are included in Bill’s article, recently published for Cooperative Coffees.

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