By Tripp Pomeroy
At various points over the past several years, we have talked about Fair Trade being at a cross-roads. In fact, Fair Trade seems to be passing through cross roads continuously, but that is to be expected given the scope of the problem the movement is seeking to address, along with the fact that the movement in the US is relatively young, and the sad reality that the main certifying agencies – FLO and Transfair USA – prefer to assert their ownership of Fair Trade rather than participate in the movement’s leadership. Without a doubt, Fair Trade is a work in progress and still has a long way to go to achieve its goal of transforming trade into a vehicle for sustainable, meaningful development. Multi-stakeholder leadership, collaboration, and not just consumer confidence, but also small-scale producer confidence (which at present is on the wane) in Fair Trade are critical if Fair Trade is to right itself. At present, Fair Trade is not an integrated, unified, cooperative movement of traders, small-scale producer groups, and certifying organizations. This reality presents a real challenge to the movement, and more importantly, the prospect for universally bona fide fair trade.
I made collages as a kid. Just learned to do a “virtual collage” with Google’s Picasa. Some photos from the Fair Trade Futures Conference held in Quincy, Mass., Sept. 10-12. More FTF posts to come.
Tags: Bill Harris, CECOCAFEN, Christopher Bacon, Daniel Jaffee, Dix Milles Villages, Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Futures Conference, Ian Bretman, Michiza, Rigoberto Diaz, Rudi Delvai, Santiago Paz, Shannon Ripley, Tripp Pomeroy
TRIP REPORT FROM GUATEMALA
Last month, Bill and Tripp travelled down to Antigua, Guatemala to facilitate a week-long workshop on “The Market & Risk Management” with 25 representatives from the following small-scale coffee farmer cooperatives: ACODEROL, APECAFORM, SAN LUCAS TOLIMAN, ASOCAMPO, and Sta. Anita. This workshop addressed a variety of market-related issues and was part of the ongoing Catholic Relief Services (CRS) CAFE Livelihoods Program, of which Cooperative Coffees is an active participant. Among the workshops participants, Cafe Campesino has been working with our good friends from APECAFORM since the beginning (more than 10 years now) and we were delighted to also spend quality time with our friends Rigo and Mincho from Sta. Anita – a Cafe Campesino trading partner for the past 4 years. Bill and Tripp had facilitated a quality workshop last year for the same group of organizations and many of the friends made at the first workshop participated in this workshop (gracias Nilmo por todo su ayuda!). Bill and Tripp worked with our friend and CRS project manager for Guatemala – Luis Rohr – to address issues like: how the New York “C” works, elements of a fair coffee contract and how coffee coops can negotiate best terms, the coffee chain and why so little winds up in the farmer’s hands, and what the US coffee market looks like and how small-scale farmer coops can best project and present their identity (and coffee) to prospective buyers. The group was also joined by our long-time friends, supporters, allies, and colleagues Miguel Mateo from Manos Campesinas and Michael Sheridan, the CAFE Livelihoods Program Director. One note – while we were there, the group traveled out to a truly extraordinary macadamia nut farm – stay tuned to www.fairtradewire.com for more info about this fantastic experience!
Here are some pictures from the visit:
Tags: ACODEROL, Antigua, apecaform, ASOCAMPO, Bill Harris, Cooperative Coffees, crs cafe livelihoods program, guatemala, Luis Rohr, Manos Campesinas, market-related issues, Michael Sheridan, Miguel Mateo, Mincho, Nilmo, Rigo, San Lucas Toliman, Santa Anita, Tripp Pomeroy
COLOMBIA TRIP REPORT – A VISIT TO FONDO PAEZ
Last month, from July 17-25, Tripp Pomeroy led a delegation of five down to Colombia where they spent the week with our long-standing and cherished trading partners at Fondo Paez. The delegation included Glenn Lathrop, owner of Desert Sun Coffee Roasters and board member of Cooperative Coffees, Claren Jamerson, manager of one of the country’s best coffee houses -The Sentient Bean in Savannah, Brad Baugh, Café Campesinocommunity investor, Scott Umstattd, photographer extraordinaire, and Tripp, who represented Café Campesino, Sweetwater Organic Coffee, and Cooperative Coffees.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the group’s activities:
- Met with long-time friend and professional coffee grader Madlyn Madrid and her colleague Nestor Serrano at the Colombian Coffee Federation, learning about the country’s highly organized coffee industry, and the Federation’s central role in the lives of the country’s 500,000 plus coffee farmers.
- That same afternoon, flew to Cali where we were met by our good friend and Fondo Paez board member Miguel Martinez, who guided us to Santander by bus. Santander is where the coop’s “acopio” is located – the place where the members’ coffee is collected for quality control and then shipped down en masse to the processing facility in Popayan.
- Spent Tuesday at La Placa (our host site) meeting with selected members of Fondo Paez’ board to learn all about their cooperative, their community and its origins, and to share information about our companies and Cooperative Coffees.
Above: Long time friend, coffee farmer, and member of Fondo Paez, Miguel Martinez, presents coop’s 2009 annual report to the community’s members. The coop, despite the odds, once again showed a profit last year.
- On Wednesday, traveled back to Santander to spend morning learning about Fondo Paez’ operations at their office/acopio at the Café Norte complex. Learned about their extraordinary quality control process, met several group managers responsible for delivering their respective communities’ coffees, and shared introductions among all present. That afternoon we returned to La Placa via bus, spending the afternoon playing with the kids at La Placa and learning about the history of the coop from Don Pedro, a coffee farmer, member of the board and all-around wonderful guy.
- Thursday we headed to Chimicueto to meet with the 60 families that constitute the coop’s producer group there to participate in the annual report from the coop on their 2009 fiscal year. Report given by board members Miguel Martinez and Vacilio Medina. This five hour+ meeting included in-depth introductions by all present and a deep Q&A session that the community’s and delegation’s members took full advantage of to get to know each other. Departed Chimicueto at 3:30, passed by La Placa to gather bags and say goodbye to our friend Yuri who leads the administration of the coop and several of the board members and then drove to Fondo Paez’s office in Santander, where we spent the night. Ate vegetarian dinner at home-restaurant owned by one the of the board member’s sisters.
Above: Group photo after 5 hours of community meeting where Fondo Paez presented annual report to this community of 60 families who are members of Fondo Paez. Cafe Campesino delegation and the community’s members introductions and reciprocal Q&A!
- The next day we visited Popayan for a tour led by good friend Wilman Sotelo, where we first went to Almecafe and met with plant coordinator Fernando Escobar Gomez and toured the facility. He drove us, along with a taxi afterwards, to Caficauca, where we met with the trilladora’s manager (a trilladora is where the coffee is dehusked, goes through final quality sorting and is bagged/prepped for export) and toured the facilities. We then departed for Popayan’s town center where we checked into our hotel. At lunch, Wilman explained the long history of Los Nasa – the name of the people who constitute Fond Paez and their surrounding reserves.
- Spent a day in Cali and Bogota before returning to States on Sunday.
More on the relationship with Fondo Paez and other trading partners in next month’s edition of Fair Grounds.
Tags: acopio, brad baugh, claren jamerson, Colombia, Colombian Coffee Federation, Cooperative Coffees, desert sun coffee roasters, don pedro, Fondo Paez, Glenn Lathrop, Madlyn Madrid, Miguel Martinez, Nestor Serrano, scott umstattd, The Sentient Bean, Tripp Pomeroy, vacilio medina
Another excellent summer event season is upon us with the occurrence of BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) and Paddle GA in June. Geoffrey and Nick served hundreds upon hundreds of gallons of coffee and mucho iced mochas between the two events. Here’s a pic of the traveling coffee house during Paddle GA:
June 15th saw a nice turnout for a Mexican fiesta as a fundraiser for our local Habitat for Humanity softball team. Good food and fun.
June 22nd: Carrie Wagner of Asheville, NC, visited for a book signing and presentation detailing her experiences as a Habitat for Humanity worker in Uganda. The book and more info are available here.
June 28th: Another poetry night at the coffee house for the Americus-Sumter Poetry Society. Stay tuned for their next event.
July 17th-25th: Tripp, Bill, and 4 others are headed to Colombia to visit our friends and partners at Fondo Paez. It has been a tough year for the Fondo Paez community. We hope that they find encouragement in Cafe Campesino’s visit. We find encouragement and consider it a special time when able to visit our producer partners. And we hope to have full details of the adventure in next month’s edition of Fair Grounds.
August – The Cafe Campesino Coffee House turns two years old in August! Stay tuned for info about a celebration that is in the planning stages as this edition goes to “print”.
Wednesday, June 23: Café Campesino Atlanta partnered with Grady Hospital’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department to sample iced coffees & teas to students at Georgia State University. Grady will be sampling with Café Campesino Atlanta every Wednesday during the summer. Thanks, Grady!
Thursday, July 1: Fair Trade Book Club met in Atlanta. Reading: The No-Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade by David Ransom. ContactCaroline DeMitchell for details.
Friday, July 9: Screening of coffee trade documentary, “Black Gold,” in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Café Campesino Atlanta partners with Slow Food Atlanta, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, Green City Market, and the Atlanta Audubon Society to put on a screening of the internationally acclaimed documentary, “Black Gold,” which details the Ethiopian coffee trade and underscores the need for the Fair Trade alternative. Food and drinks (including a generous beer donation from 5 Seasons Brewing-Westside) will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the market. Movie & discussion follow. Register online! The Sweet Auburn Curb Market is located at 209 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta, Georgia.
Thursday, July 15: Fair Trade Book Club meets in Atlanta. Reading: The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry- from Crop to the Last Drop by Nina Luttinger and Gregory Dicum. ContactCaroline DeMitchell to participate.
Thursday, July 29: Fair Trade Book Club meets in Atlanta. Reading: Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability and Survival, by Daniel Jaffee. Contact Caroline DeMitchell to participate.
Friday, July 30: Atlanta’s Urban Picnic, hosted by the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Atlanta’s Urban Picnics bring together street food vendors and other grab-and-go fresh and tasty food stands to the market the final Fridays of the spring and summer months. Café Campesino Atlanta will be serving up iced coffees and teas.
Sweetwater Organic Coffee in Gainesville, FL -
Sweetwater has been invited to serve coffee alongside other local businesses by the Alachua County Office of Sustainability. In partnership with Florida Organic Growers, Abundant Edible Landscapes, Univ. of Florida’s Young Entrepreneurs in Leadership and Sustainability, and the Downtown Rotary Club’s generous sponsorship, the group will install an organic demonstration garden on Saturday, July 10th, at the County Administration Building on the corner of University Ave. and Main St. in Downtown Gainesville. The area will be a living classroom for growing organic fruits and vegetables while providing fresh, healthy, and local food to nutritionally disadvantaged communities in the area.
On July 22nd, Sweetwater will be giving a tour of the roastery to the YELS - Young Entrepreneurs in Leadership and Sustainability – from the University of Florida.
Tags: Bill Harris, Black Gold, BRAG, Caroline DeMitchell, Carrie Wagner, Colombia, Fondo Paez, Geoffrey Hennis, Grady Hospital, Nick, Paddle Georgia, Sweet Auburn Curb market, sweetwater organic coffee, Tripp Pomeroy, university of florida, YELS
Georgia Organics’ 13th Annual Conference Recap
Eating is sacred. Food should not be wasted. Reclaim your food system. Reclaim agriculture! If there were a rallying cry at the 13th annual Georgia Organics conference held in Athens Feb. 19-20 – “Reclaim your culture! Reclaim Agriculture!” –was it.
Leading that rallying cry was a gray-bearded Italian man who kept an audience of more than 1,000 hanging on his every word through the help of a translator. Carlo Petrini, Slow Food founder and conference keynote speaker, urged attendees to demand healthier, locally focused food production systems from politicians and decision makers. He also boasted that within one day of arriving in Georgia, he had become a fan of a Southern delicacy- collard greens and potlicker.
Celebrating traditional dishes, supporting local, organic food production and working to reclaim agricultural systems was the theme of this year’s Georgia Organics conference, and Cafï¿½ Campesino was proud to be a part of it.
Tripp and Bill led a Saturday educational session on Fair Trade discussing its role in the food system, drawing parallels between it and the organics movement and underscoring the commitments of Cafï¿½ Campesino and Cooperative Coffees to the principles of both.
Their presentation on Fair Trade was one of the many opportunities for best-practice sharing that filled this conference- including specialized workshops and intimate farm tours- that offered attendees with the tools and support they will need to carry this vision of a changed food system into reality.
The practice of collaborating with local farmers and bringing healthy, locally grown food options back into schools, homes and restaurants is gaining momentum and receiving attention statewide. In the few weeks since the conference, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Athens-Banner Herald, Atlanta’s Finest Dining, the Macon Telegraph, Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and other publications across the state have written about Georgia’s sustainable food movement.
And this discussion would likely still be on the back-burner if it weren’t for the vision and commitment of organic farmers throughout the state, the support and organizing capacity of Georgia Organics and the dedication of individuals committed to the movement.
Some of these individuals were honored by Georgia Organics during a short awards ceremony held at the Saturday night Farmers’ Feast where Mr. Petrini presented. Andy and Hilda Byrd of Whippoorwill Hollow Farm were honored with the Georgia Organics Land Stewardship award, which recognized their energetic commitment to the organics movement that has included building and growing two farmers markets in the Atlanta area and serving as committed mentors to new farmers.
Julie Shaffer, Emory University’s Sustainable Food Service Education Coordinator and founder of Slow Food Atlanta, was also honored with the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award for her work to promote the local food movement in various restaurants, schools, institutions and public agencies across the state.
Georgia-based chefs who are leading the farm-to-table movement in the restaurant industry were also recognized. They included Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Michael Deihl of East Lake Golf Club, Bruce Logue of La Pietra Cucina, Shaun Doty of Shaun’s, Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafï¿½ and Abbattoir and Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten, who organized a dinner that pulled together the talents of these chefs and others to serve more than 1,000 people.
Chefs, farmers, foodies and revolutionaries – Georgia Organics pulled them all together for a delightful, delicious and energized conference. Job well done. And rest assured, we’re ready to keep the momentum going.
It is hard to beat good southern cooking, especially when the vittles are prepared by an all-start cast of Atlanta’s best chefs! On February 21st, it was our privilege to provide the coffee for an evening with Slow Food International (www.slowfood.com) Founder Carlo Petrini at a Slow Food Atlanta Family Dinner hosted by downtown Decatur, Georgia’s famed Watershed Restaurant. In addition to sharing five courses of reinterpreted southern family recipes – each course inspired by a food memory from the preparing chef – we enjoyed a word from Carlo on the importance of Terra Madreand the future of the Slow Food movement. We were also enchanted by the talent of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls and a co-owner of Watershed singing a few of her (and our) favorites. Bill represented Cafe Campesino at the event and said he just didn’t want the evening to end! A big thank you to Judith and Slow Food Atlanta for including us at the Family Dinner and in your important work!
Last Month, Tripp traveled down to meet and work with our friends at Maya Vinic in Acteal, Mexico… Chiapas. He joined our good friend and fellow coop member Chris Treter of Higher Grounds, representing Cooperative Coffees as part of the USAID-funded Farmer to Farmer program. When Tripp and Chris weren’t out in the field, they stayed at the apartment of another good friend, Tomas Johnson, who owns and operates Cloudforest Initiatives… also a member of Cooperative Coffees. During their week in Chiapas, they traveled to meet with a number of the coop’s members, observe a CRS Cafï¿½ Livelihoods program workshop for the coop’s promotores (the guys who go out to their communities to provide organic cultivation technical support), meet with the coop’s board of directors to discuss a broad variety of subjects including quality and their financial needs, and spend a day with the coop’s management team and roasters to discuss and work on their roasting operation. Says Tripp of the experience, “It was a powerful week, especially given that this was my first time visiting trading partners in Mexico. I learned so much from our friends at Maya Vinic and Chris – I’m looking forward to my next visit there.” Tripp noted that on the front wall of the coop’s warehouse and processing plant, the following words are painted prominently: “Oy cuxlejal yu’un licajuele.” In the local language, Tzotzil, this means “coffee gives life.” To learn more about where we get our most excellent Chiapas Full City Roast, read our profile of Maya Vinic.
Sweetwater Organic Coffee Company..
At our roastery in Gainesville, FL, things are going well. Here’s a snapshot of some local events Sweetwater is currently involved with:
March 12-14 - Helping to sponsor the 2nd Annual Harvest of Hope Fest in St. Augustine, Florida at the St. Johns Fair Grounds. This weekend music festival features more than 100 bands and attendance is expected to top 17,000 people for the 3-day event. Proceeds from the event benefit the Harvest of Hope Foundation and their work to fund immigrant needs when faced with hardship. harvestofhopefest.com
every Wednesday you can find Sweetwater Coffee at the Union Street Farmers’ Market. The farmers’ market on the Downtown Plaza in Gainesville is one of the larger markets in the county. Brightly colored tents surround the outskirts of the plaza with produce, bakery goods, a hot dog stand, arts and crafts items, and more. A refrigerated truck holds beef from grass-fed cows and milk that is certified. A band may play and one may sometimes find baby farm animals for children to pet. A large grassy area is perfect for children to play and folks to relax.
When: Every Wednesday, 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Downtown Community Plaza, East University Avenue and SE 1st Street, Gainesville.
Ongoing - Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta is looking for cateringclients in the Atlanta area – If you know of anyone organizing breakfast meetings or gatherings, have them contact our Atlanta coffee shop for organic, Fair Trade coffee, freshly baked scones, muffins, cookies, granola parfaits, breakfast burritos and more. 404-254-2029. See our complete catering menu
Feb. 19-20 - Tripp, Bill and Nema attended the Georgia Organics Conference in Athens. Great Job, Georgia Organics! (Be sure to read the conference recap in the article above.)
Feb. 25 - Cafï¿½ Campesino participated in Sevananda’s Java Kiss member mixer event held at Radial Cafï¿½ in Atlanta. Good food, good coffee, good times. Thanks for having us, Sevananda.
Feb. 26 - Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta hosted Emory University students in charge of the student-run coffee cart, The Green Bean, that is selling Cafï¿½ Campesino coffee on Emory’s campus. The students toured the Atlanta coffee shop, learned a bit more about Cafï¿½ Campesino and made their first lattes and cappuccinos. Surprisingly glassy milk and tasty drinks for a first go. Baristas anyone?
March 3 - Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta takes its show on-the-road- to the Decatur’s Farmers Market. Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta will be selling its freshly brewed coffee, hot cocoa, spicy sweet chai and freshly roasted whole bean coffee Wednesday afternoons at the Decatur Farmers Market. Wednesdays, 4-7 p.m., at the corner of Commerce Dr. and Church St. in Decatur. More Info.
March 17 - “The Whats, Whys and Hows of Organics Eating” at 12 p.m. Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta collaborates with Green City Market, a new vendor in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, to host their first organic foods discussion. “The Whats, Whys and Hows of Organics Eating” will be held at 12 p.m. at Cafï¿½ Campesino Atlanta. The discussion will be led by Kip Slaughter, a registered dietitian and manager of food service projects at Emory Healthcare. Food samples offered. Come and bring a friend!
March 31 - Tripp will be speaking about Fair Trade at Emory University during Mark Causey’s Food Ethics Class, held at 2 p.m.
And, in Americus..
Feb. 18-19 - A group of 4 college students stopped in to visit and share some of their story as they continued on their “Trail of Dreams” – a walk from their homes in Miami, FL, all the way to Washington, DC, to draw attention to and advocate for undocumented immigrants who simply want an equal opportunity to attend school, work, and live in this country. See picture below that was taken just before they began their walk out of Americus and visit www.trail2010.org to see the latest on their journey and read their inspiring stories. We think you’ll be glad you did.
Feb. 20 - The coffee house hosted the Americus Board Gaming Society (AMBOGS) event. Young and old were introduced to and challenged by some very interesting board games and fun was had by all!
Feb. 27 - Tripp will be speaking about Fair Trade at Emory University during Mark Causey’s Food Ethics Class, held at 2 p.m.
April 10 - Our very own Joe Johnston (Joe the barista, carpenter, plumber, shopper, recycler, all-around handyman, recipe thinker-upper, and soon-to-be husband) is in the final month of preparation leading up to his wedding to his love, Becky. More on this big occasion next month. In the meantime, drop by and wish him well on the wonderful event.
April 16-18 - Geoffrey will be serving up BRAG Brew again at the BRAG Spring Tune-Up. Don’t miss out on another great, well organized weekend ride, sign up today at BRAG.org
Tags: Acteal, BRAG, Chiapas, Chris Treter, Cloudforest Initiatives, Cooperative Coffees, crs cafe livelihoods program, Decaturs Farmers Market, Emory University, Farmer to Farmer, Harvest of Hope Foundation, Higher Grounds, Maya Vinic, Mexico, Nema, sweetwater organic coffee, The Green Bean, Tomas Johnson, Trail of Dreams, Tripp Pomeroy, Union Street Farmers market, USAID
Cooperative Coffees’ Annual Meeting in Peru – Is it Time for a Fair Trade Makeover?
There’s a bunch of news to report from our most recent trek to Peru, where Bill and I met and worked with our trading partners and fellow Coop Coffees members for an action-packed week Jan. 15-22. Meetings, farmer and coop visits, roundtables, and community events kept us fully engaged in what turned out to be (another) remarkable, unforgettable experience. So firstly, I want to thank our gracious hosts at CAC Pangoa and CEPICAFE/CENFROCAFE for taking the entire week to be with us, work with us, and teach us. The same thanks applies to the representatives from 12 of our trading partners’ coops and the seven fellow members of Coop Coffees who made it to this year’s annual meeting… what a wonderful group of talented, committed people!
Before I give a brief trip summary though, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention how glad we are that Bill and our good friends from Bean North finally made it out of Aguas Calientes near Machu Picchu after a week of being trapped there with 4000 other tourists and locals as a result of catastrophic flooding. While we’re thrilled that our friends and the other visitors made it out safely (thanks to the Peruvian government), we acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by the folks who live in the area (and who have a long road to recovery ahead of them) and those who lost their lives or were injured.
Fortunately though, prior to Bill’s unexpected stay in Aguas Calientes, we wrapped up what indeed was a very intense and productive week of work that brought together the coffee trade’s two primary stakeholders – coffee farmers and roasters – for frank conversations about the work that needs to be done on Fair Trade. We have been visiting and working with our trading partners (mostly the same ones but new partners as well) for the past 10 years or so, but this meeting packed a bit more punch, as we established a joint task force (trading partners, roasters, and Cooperative Coffees as the importer) to go to work on identifying and, ultimately – hopefully, implementing what it’s going to take to really make trade fair.. at least when it comes to coffee.
Café Campesino is very fortunate to be part of Cooperative Coffees, through which we get to work directly with our fellow compadre roasters and coffee farming trading partners. This direct access, year in and year out, provides all of us with a unique opportunity to learn, grow, and develop deep relationships, which in turn breaks down communication barriers and opens the door for open, honest dialogue.. and the opportunity to take action.
We started our week in Peru with a full day of meetings in Lima, where we attended to the business of our Canada office/organization CoopSol, which is responsible for, and highly skilled at, managing our relationships with our trading partners. We received an update about our new cupping lab in Montreal (oh, we’re so excited to have this new in-house resource to which both roaster members and our trading partners will have access). We then reviewed the past year and our work plans for the upcoming year as part of the CRS-funded Café Livelihoods and USAID-funded Farmer to Farmer programs, two initiatives that have asked Cooperative Coffees to work directly with small scale coffee farmers by conducting workshops on understanding the coffee market, managing coffee quality, and related issues. BTW, we, as roaster members of Cooperative Coffees, volunteer our time for these workshops. (On Monday, I travel to our friends at Maya Vinic in Mexico to work with our good friend Chris Treter of Higher Grounds and facilitate a Farmer to Farmer workshop on the coffee market.)
It was after these updates that we dug into an update on Fair Trade, with a particular emphasis on our trading partners’ point of view. Our roundtable discussion elicited a lot of emotion but, more importantly, valuable information about the impact of Fair Trade and “certification” in particular on our trading partners. The bottom line – the mainstream model of Fair Trade needs to be revisited, reworked, and brought into alignment with the reality of the vast majority of the world’s coffee farmers.. who happen to be small-scale producers. From overarching principles to operational mechanisms, Fair Trade needs an overhaul. We feel a responsibility to heed this call, not necessarily to call others out but to focus in on why our model seems to be effective in bringing roasters together with their coffee farming partners in long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. We need to continue to improve our approach, building on its solid foundation, and work with our trading partners to make it a model that truly satisfies our trading partners and serves as an example to the many roasters and importers who are truly committed to the tenets of Fair Trade, which I think are best expressed by the Fair Trade Federation.
So.. pretty heavy – I know. After getting the ball rolling on this massive “project”, we headed out into the Peruvian field – with about half of the group heading north to spend the week with our friends at CEPICAFE/CENFROCAFE while I headed off with the other half to visit with our friends at CAC Pangoa. On a personal note, I am proud to say that when we reached the 15k foot plus peak at Tiglio during the 16 hour journey to Pangoa, I was able to stand, smile, and enjoy this stop at the site of the world’s highest operating rail system. My first time through, a few years ago, I could barely stand!
The following day, we launched into a week with our friends at Pangoa that was a blur.. non-stop visits, conversations and learning opportunities. Our first day started off with a truly delightful breakfast at the farm of Don Gregorio and his wife, Olinda, and their three lovely children -Louisa, Hido, and Mika – a family that is half indigenous and half Colonas (Peruvians of Spanish descent, some of whom migrated from the Sierra Madre to the Pangoa region). CAC Pangoa has made it a point to facilitate bringing these two groups closer together as both are represented in their coop. Our breakfast was organic eggs, avocado, and fruit from the farm. Delicious.
Immediately after, we drove up to visit with CAC Pangoa member and coffee farmer Don Jesus to learn about his solar drying system and organic practices. His solar drying facility is one of several that are being constructed as part of a CAC Pangoa initiative that is being funded in part with some of the coop’s Fair Trade premium funds.
We then drove to another member of the coop who demonstrated his extremely large solar drying facility, which was in mid-construction. We wound the day up with a most excellent visit to the farm of coop member Norma Valderama, where Senor Guaringa met us to teach us about his bio fertilizer and bokashi (compost) production techniques and the huge impact they’re having on organic coffee yields… actually bringing yields to a financially sustainable level for farmers – about 3000 pounds per hectare – whereas too many organic coffee producers are struggling to reach half that yield. Kudos to Pangoa and their active collaboration with other pioneers in the organic coffee movement from Nicaragua… through shared information and innovation, they are leading the way for small scale farmers. One little sidenote on the trip to the Valderama’s farm.. which is located atop a very steep hill near the top of a mountain. Let me rephrase: it wasn’t just steep, it was vertical… and muddy. Our driver heroically took us up in our 4wheel drive Toyota pickup, delivering us against all odds in fine shape. My good friend, Terry Patano of Doma Coffee, and I celebrated our newfound ability to hold onto things with our bottoms… a skill one can only acquire trying to stay in a truck bed while the earth spins around you!
The following day, we jetted off in pickups to visit and tour farmer Isaac Cotachi’s botanical reserve (eco-tourism site), followed by a community gathering at the indigenous community of Mazaronquiari, where we learned about development proposals for the bringing of tourism to the community. We were honored to be received by the community, hundreds of whom turned out despite the heavy rains. We will soon post videos of the visit. One the way back from the visit to the community, we had lunch at the home of Dona Cilda, where Monika (Cooperative Coffees’ producer relations manager extraordinaire) and I received the unexpected honor of being named the godparents of Dona’s new restaurant which was under construction. With great fanfare we christened the doorway and celebrated Dona’s new venture… which I can’t wait to visit on my next trip down to Pangoa!
The following day, after waking up to the groaning rumble of the nearby male leader of the monkey pack, we traveled back to spend the day with our friends at CAC Pangoa. There, we were brought up to date on their organization and its management, the many projects they have in the works, and how they manage their organic and Fair Trade processes. We then wrapped up the afternoon with a series of dance presentations by members of Pangoa and lots of smiling, laughing, and dancing with each other.
On our last day there, we spent the morning in Pangoa’s spectacular cupping lab. One note – CAC Pangoa deliberately cross-trains its dynamic technical support and management staff (young, full of energy, and supremely competent) so that any one of them can fill in for or support another when the workload peaks… it was impressive to witness such intentional personnel management. Equally impressive is CAC Pangoa’s diligent use of a strategic plan and annual work plan. So inspired was I that I have finally started to discipline myself at Café Campesino to make sure we follow the example set by our friends at CAC Pangoa.
That night, we left to take an overnight bus back to Lima, where we would jump right back in to our last day of meetings with the group that had also just returned from the visit to the north. This last day of meetings provided each group and everyone who wanted with an opportunity to talk about and share their experience during the course of the previous week. After in effect celebrating our visits to what may be two of the best run Fair Trade coffee farmer cooperatives in the world, we shifted over to discussion of the issue we had broached prior to leaving to visit the coops – how we can help to make Fair Trade better. With our task force in place, we now have our work cut out for us. While the challenges are great, I can think of no other group of people I’d rather work with than our trading partner friends and fellow Cooperative Coffees members. Stay tuned for more!
Tags: Aguas Calientes, Bean North, Bill Harris, CAC Pangoa, CENFROCAFE, CEPICAFE, certification challenges, Chris Treter, Cooperative Coffees, CoopSol, crs cafe livelihoods program, Doma Coffee, Don Gregorio, Don Jesus, Dona Cilda, ecotourism, Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade principles, Farmer to Farmer programs, Higher Grounds, indigenous development, Isaac Cotachi, Lima, local development, Machu Pichu, Maya Vinic, Mexico, Monika Firl, Montreal, Norma Valderama, Olinda, Peru, Senor Guaringa, Terry Patano, transparency, Tripp Pomeroy, USAID
Friday, Jan. 15 - Cross country bicycle team of Clint Valentine and Paul Dorr visited Cafe Campesino. Bicycling from Maine to California to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research, the pair stopped off for coffee and internet access during their layover in Americus. You can visit their website atwww.teambowditch.com to support their cause.
Saturday, Jan. 23 - Georgia Organics’ Incredible Edible Grow-it-Yourself Fruit Tree Sale. Café Campesino Atlanta attended Georgia Organics’ first annual Fruit Tree Sale, offering coffee, muffins and scones and witnessed the hugely successful event in action. More than 1,000 people took home a fruit tree or bush in an event that extended into a second Saturday because attendance was so high. Sales at the inaugural event included blackberry and blueberry bushes, fig, pear, plum and apple trees. Congratulations, Georgia Organics! Café Campesino Atlanta was happy to participate.
Saturday, Jan. 30 - Café Campesino Atlanta started knitting! Our Atlanta coffee shop is hosting a Sweet Auburn Curb Market initiative to bring together knitters- both newbies and veterans- to celebrate the craft and share techniques. The weekly “Sip n’ Knit” is held every Saturday at 12 p.m. Stop in to learn from fellow knitters or show off your latest project. 209 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta, Georgia.
Feb. 5 - Several of us gathered at the coffee house in Americus to discuss & plan for 2010. Nema joined us on behalf of Café Campesino Atlanta, and Amanda and Tina made the drive from Sweetwater in Gainesville. Lots of fun was had by all! And we’re definitely excited about another year of Fair Trade, organic, shade grown coffee!
Feb. 8-13 - Tripp is traveling to visit our friends and partners at Maya Vinic in the Chiapas region of Mexico. He and Chris Treter of Higher Grounds Coffee are in Mexico to facilitate a Farmer to Farmer workshop on the coffee market. Program is sponsored by USAID.
Feb. 19-20 - Bill and Tripp will lead a workshop (from 2:15-3:45pm on the 20th) about Fair Trade at Georgia Organics’ 13th Annual Conference and Expo in Athens, GA. They’re excited and honored to be able to share and discuss the importance of Fair Trade with the other attendees.
Mon.-Fri., Feb. 22-26 - Café Campesino Atlanta rolls out its Frequent Buyer’s Card. We want to thank our loyal Atlanta customers, and keep them coming back for more, so we will be introducing a Frequent Buyer’s Card at the end of February. The program will offer a free product after a certain number of purchases. Look for details on Café Campesino Atlanta’s website or cafecampesinoatlanta.com and on Facebook during that week to learn more details.
March 17 - Want to learn more about organics? Café Campesino Atlanta is working with professionals at nearby Grady Hospital to plan monthly informational sessions that address the “Whats, Hows, and Whys” for organic foods. The first monthly session is planned for Wednesday, March 17. Visit www.cafecampesinoatlanta.com for event details as the date approaches.
Tags: Amanda, Bill Harris, Chiapas, Chris Treter, Clint Valentine, Farmer to Farmer, Georgia Organics conference, Georgia Organics' Incredible Edible Grow-it-Yourself Fruit Tree Sale, Grady Hospital, Higher Grounds Coffee, Maya Vinic, Mexico, Nema, Paul Dorr, Sweet Auburn Curb market, TIna, Tripp Pomeroy
Café Campesino will lead an educational session during Georgia Organics’ 13th Annual Conference and Expo, “Reclaiming Agriculture,” to be held Feb. 19-20 in Athens. Tripp and Bill will present a workshop talk about Fair Trade, offering a definition and overview of its practices as well as firsthand examples of the importance of fair trade in the field and its direct affect on the lives of producers. The session will be held from 2:15-3:45 p.m. as a part of a Food Systems educational track that is being offered on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The conference is expected to draw thousands of food lovers and organic enthusiasts from across the Southeast for educational sessions, farm tours, and a dinner featuring keynote speaker Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. A non-profit-turned-movement, Slow Food began in Italy in the late 1980s in an effort to preserve local food cultivation and culinary traditions that were being threatened by fast food chains and agro-industrial production systems. The organization now boasts 100,000 members with chapters in 132 countries and Mr. Petrini, who is an editor and columnist in Italy, founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences in 2004 in northern Italy that is dedicated to Slow Food principles.
The Atlanta chapter of Slow Food and Georgia Organics work closely together, sharing similar visions for food cultivation in the Southeast.
In addition to Mr. Petrini’s keynote address and the Food Systems educational track, other topics covered during the Saturday sessions include ones on Slow Food culture, farm-to-school issues, home-grown food, raising livestock, managing the business side of farming, and various tips on growing organic food. Farm tours are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19, and will feature a number of organic farms in the Athens and north-Georgia area. To sign up for a farm tour, the Saturday educational sessions, or learn more about the conference, visit Georgia Organics’ website.
For many years, Cafe Campesino has been proud to be a member and supporter of Georgia Organics. We look forward to many more.
Fair Trade Futures Conference Planned for September
Fair trade entrepreneurs, retailers, consumers, advocates, and producers are invited to attend the 2010 Fair Trade Futures Conference to be held in Boston Sept. 10-12.
The conference is an opportunity for Fair Trade professionals to share their best practices and explore the challenges and successes of the movement. Attendees can expect seminars, workshops, social activities, and experiential learning sessions all focused on Fair Trade. More than 50 Fair Trade Organizations and 700 attendees are expected.
Cooperative Coffees is a Leadership Group member for the conference, providing guidance and support. Other Leadership Group Members include Catholic Relief Services, Ten Thousand Villages, Equal Exchange, the Fair Trade Federation, Green America, Oxfam America, and SERRV. To learn more about the conference, visit Fair Trade Federation’s website.
Cooperative Coffees member Kickapoo Coffee Named ‘Micro Roaster of the Year’
A coffee industry trade and technical publication, Roast Magazine annually announces a Macro and Micro Roaster of the year in its November/December issue. Micro Roasters are classified as roasting fewer than 100,000 pounds of beans per year. Among Roast Magazine’s selection criteria are the quality of the coffee and the roaster’s commitment to sustainability.
Owned and operated by two small families, Kickapoo Coffee is located in southwestern Wisconsin near the Kickapoo River. The roaster was founded in 2005 with a commitment to Fair Trade and sustainability. In addition to maintaining relationships with coffee producers through Cooperative Coffees, Kickapoo is tirelessly committed to environmental sustainability, working to entirely eliminate petroleum-derived plastic from its operations. Their canned coffee is sold in reusable, recyclable steel cans that contain 80 percent post-consumer recycled steel, and their coffee bags are biodegradable. They are also actively committed to their local community and region, selling the bulk of their coffee within a 200-mile radius of their roastery, which is located in a historic train depot.
Cheers and congratulations to the team at Kickapoo!
Tags: awards, Bill Harris, Carlo Petrini, Catholic Relief Services, Cooperative Coffees, Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Futures Conference, Georgia Organics conference, Green America, Kickapoo Coffee, Oxfam America, Roast Magazine, SERRV, Slow Food, Ten Thousand Villages, Tripp Pomeroy, Wisconsin
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