Contact Person: Lalla Carothers
Institution: Congregational Church in Cumberland
Phone Number: 207-829-3419
Email Address:
Website URL:



When you think of Valentine’s Day, the colors red and pink come to mind. Saturday at the Congregational Church in Cumberland, people were thinking green. Members collected old calendars, magazines, greeting cards, wrapping paper, fabric scraps, and other craft materials to be recycled into new Valentine cards. The children attending made Valentines, decorated freshly baked, heart-shaped cookies, and watched Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Fair organizers encouraged local ingredients in potluck dishes and sold locally baked organic cupcakes for a special Valentine treat. They also offered fair trade gifts and sustainably harvested, fair trade chocolate and coffee for sale.

The fair featured the short film After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands about the plight of coffee farmers during the thin months, “los meses flacos,” when too much water can make their rural dirt roads impassable.

The price of beans and corn goes up, just when income from the coffee harvest is depleted. The farmers struggle with seasonal hunger, making ends meet by eating less, eating cheaper foods, or borrowing against their future. This film brings the day-to-day challenges of the thin months to life in the voices of coffee farmers themselves, and shares the successes of creative projects that have been established to eliminate this annual period of food insecurity.

Following the film, viewers had the opportunity to sign a United Church of Christ petition requesting FairTrade USA for authentic fair trade, and opposing the weakening of Fair Trade standards:

The coffee served and sold at the Valentine fair came from Coffee by Design, a local business that believes in economic and environmental sustainability. They search for green beans that ensure a quality product at a fair price for the grower. They seek and develop long-term relationships with farms that use sustainable farming practices. A major goal of the fair was to encourage the public to think about the economic and environmental impact of their food and purchasing choices. In addition, proceeds from sales raised over $300 to benefit local fuel assistance programs. Lalla Carothers, Green Team Coordinator, heard from one enthusiastic fairgoer after the evening: “I love these potlucks and films. We eat tasty, healthy dishes we wouldn’t necessarily cook for ourselves, make new friends, and learn ways to help the environment. And the cupcakes were delicious.”

On March 24th from 5-8pm, the Church will screen the film “Meet Your Farmer” with a panel of local farmers and environmental leaders to follow. As with most films at the Congregational Church, food and fellowship will be an important part of the evening.

These events are part of an ongoing effort by the Congregational Church in Cumberland to earn GreenFaith certification. The two year GreenFaith Certification Program helps turn houses of worship into environmental leaders. GreenFaith participants incorporate their commitment to environmental stewardship into all aspects of their faith communities, including worship services, education, energy conservation, and outreach to the larger community. To find out more about GreenFaith, see For further information about the GreenFaith Certification Program, contact Program Director Stacey Kennealy at or 732-565-7740, ext. 303.


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