Community Caravan: Cafe Campesino wins Small Business of the Year Award!

Written by Cafe Campesino on Feb 5, 2009 in Community Caravan, NEWSLETTER |

Café Campesino Wins Small Business of the Year Award!

As this newsletter arrives to your inbox, Café Campesino is preparing to be honored as Small Business of the Year by the Americus-Sumter County Chamber of Commerce. The Feb. 5th event will include a dinner and ceremony at South Georgia Tech’s John M. Pope  Center to honor some local businesses including our friends at Koinonia Farm, Agri-Business of the Year. A “thank you” to our Chamber and to our local community for their continued support and “congratulations” to Koinonia for their excellent work!

Now we take this opportunity to introduce to you a partner in the global community effort to bring dignity to all workers and their families.  Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza (Center for Women of Hope) is a multicultural and faith-based community of women in the geographical region of El Paso, TX, southern New Mexico, and Juarez, Mexico.  For the last 15 years, this organization has been working to transform structures that oppress women and their families at local, national and international levels and to raise awareness of these issues.  One of the ways they accomplish this is to promote and sell a variety of Fair Trade products, including Café Campesino coffee; in doing this, they have become the hub in El Paso for churches, businesses, and individuals interested in supporting the Fair Trade Movement.  These coffee sales are also made in conjunction with and support another leader in “fair trading”, Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Under the direction of Sister Maureen Jerkowski, Centro Mujeres actively pursues living a life of service and compassion, of education and empowerment, of dignity and justice for all.  We’re so thankful for their good work.

Maureen shared with us about a recent trip that she and others made to visit one of our coffee partners (and theirs) – Maya Vinic Cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico.  She told us of their time spent with a survivor of the December 22, 1997, event known as “The Acteal Massacre”.  This person recounted the horrid tale of the government-sponsored assassination of 45 men, women (4 of whom were pregnant), and children who had gathered at a Catholic chapel to pray.  Their gathering was a peaceful response to the ongoing conflict between the indigenous population that simply wanted the right to fairly benefit from the natural resources of their homeland and the national government who continued to oppress them and deny them these rights.  About a year and half later, again in a non-violent act and through the strong will of the people, the Maya Vinic coffee cooperative was officially formed.  The cooperative remains true to its roots and continues to produce wonderful coffee for our enjoyment and their livelihood.

The Chiapas region of Mexico has long been recognized as a producer of high quality coffee beans and the fruits of their labor remain a favorite with many java lovers across the globe.

As our special for this month of February, we are happy to offer superb coffee grown in the highlands of northwestern Chiapas, roasted here in Americus, Georgia, and then delivered to you.  Enjoy this sweet, smooth, balanced cup that is lightly acidic with nutty and chocolaty flavor at 10% off any size bag.  Enter code mexfeb9 during checkout to receive this special price. Read more about Maya Vinic in this month’s Producer Spotlight.

Looking ahead:
-The 6th Annual Sustainable Business Day event will be held at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Feb. 12th.  Once again, we’ll be serving coffee to those in attendance and showing our support for and dedication to sustainable, enviro-friendly business practices.  Our presence is yet another reminder to our state legislators that we, as Georgians, need to be more mindful of how our day-to-day business operations affect the places we live.  We hope you’ll join us in considering the ability and responsibility we all have to impact our environment in a positive way.

-As you may know, Café Campesino proudly partners with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) by donating a portion of profits from each designated CRS coffee or tea sale. While financial contributions are certainly essential to the program’s success, raising awareness of the issues facing those in disadvantaged economic circumstances is critical to making lasting changes in the way that everyone does business.  One of the ways we stay connected in this journey towards “fair trade for all” is to collaborate with others who support CRS and the fair trade movement.  Later this month, Feb. 27-28, friends will gather for the 3rd Annual CRS Fair Trade Weekend here in Americus, GA.  Hosted by Koinonia Farm and Café Campesino, this weekend is slated to include a movie screening and discussion with Fair Trade experts as well as a day-long workshop filled with the nuts and bolts of fair trade versus conventional trade, fair trade and our faith, and how to promote fair trade in our respective parishes and communities.  We look forward to this informative time of fellowship as it invigorates and inspires us to consider and reconsider our effort in making trade fair and sustaining.

Looking back:
-Our first “Café Campesino presents…” event was a huge success.  The café was at full capacity for both of Julia Easterlin’s performances as we were treated to the soulful sounds of this young and talented singer/songwriter/ musician.  What a great start for what we hope to establish as a regular occurrence here at our coffee house.  A big “thank you” to Julia and all those in attendance.  And special thanks to Patrick Owen, a talented local artist, who not only set up the sound system for the event but entertained with licks on his acoustic guitar.

-Jim & Margaret Favre gave us an excellent and informative slideshow presentation about their experiences from a recent trip to El Salvador as organizers and volunteers in a Fuller Center for Housing Blitz Build.  The project week resulted in 16 houses at a site that will ultimately contain 50 houses for families in need of a simple, decent place to live.  It’s always uplifting to see and hear about acts of kindness and service provided to folks in need.

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