Today the Green team and the Missions Ministry will begin selling Coffee By Design coffee after the worship service in the Parish hall. We all need to understand how these Fairly Traded products benefit the small farmers around the world and how important it is for us to promote Fair Trade worldwide. In its purest form, Fair Trade promotes greater equity in trade by supporting the individual farmers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States. Based on transparency and respect for the rights of individuals, a cooperative effort contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to marginalized producers and workers. Products include coffee, cocoa, tea, bananas, almonds and olive oil.
Fair Trade co-ops help stabilize farmers’ incomes and promote labor rights through democratic control of their businesses. By gathering many small farmers together, resources and energies can be combined to improve the lives of rural families. With the power of a number of producers working for each other, the political landscape in a community can be improved as well. Quality of the products improves as training and techniques are shared. Fair trade in its best form provides external monitoring, auditing and certification.
There are, however, movements afoot to fight Fair trade or to at least alter the playing field as large corporations feel threatened by the real Fair Trade movement. Some companies are attempting to subvert the efforts of these co-ops in the name of bigger profits and less rights for the farmers. We need to support Coffee By Design by buying coffee and promoting this authentic Fair Trade company. I light the candle of Peace today in the name of social and economic justice and sustainable agriculture. Together we can make a difference for small farmers around the world.