You should point out the value of things like Faircrack, mm... ;)
In my excitement tonight about Beanbay and anticipation of recieving a new bunch of greens I poste this in my status
In response a friend whom I havnt seen in a few years postedSam Tansey Another 20kg of coffee coming my way. What do I roast first though? Peru Ceja de Selva Estate, Bolivia Caranavi, Nicaragua Dipilto Estate or the Ethiopian Gambella Naturals?
Im a little speechless. *:-/im sure theyre all delicious. and being that they all come from third world countries, Im sure all the workers will all equally be as underpaid!
You should point out the value of things like Faircrack, mm... ;)
Originally Posted by 352D28283D2C073539366E6F580 link=1253017514/0#0 date=1253017514
Lifestyle & Pay is relative as to what one can purchase in a particular country
We in Australia have our own struggles and we get paid many % more
And we have many homeless & underprivileged, to many in my book for a so called 1st world country
I AM speechless.Originally Posted by 223A3F3F2A3B10222E2179784F0 link=1253017514/0#0 date=1253017514
I threw her this email.
ouch some venom there. Im not sure that boycotting third world countries in general is going to help bring a greater standard of living to those people? The coffee are all specialty grade, or estate coffees meaning the come from specific farms or are sold through regional co-ops/schemes and attract prices for growers often above "Fair trade" certified minimums, That said the Bolivia is a certified "Fair Trade" coffee.
The coffee trade has deservedly got a bad name, this came about due to the large coffee companies such as Sarah Lee or Nestle trading coffee on the commodities markets, True to the form of capitalism this resulted in people wearing suits making heaps of money whilst the people whose livelihoods depended on it could barely feed their families let alone pay their workers fairly. I assure you these coffees do not come through those channels.
Furthermore the co-op that I receive the coffee through has its own development project called fair crack which collects a small percentage of sales and puts the money back into coffee producing communities. Details of the program here. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1173409950
Obviously for environmental reasons buying local is preferable where possible. I love Australian coffee and we have growers that produce an amazing product, however our national crop is no where near big or diverse enough to meet demand and its rare it becomes available through my supplier.
Just what the world needs: another cynic offering criticism without solutions.
Another approach is to send her articles (preferably independent ones)where Fairtrade has benefited farmers.
So does she think that not buying their coffee (source of income) would benefit them more. ::)
At least you had the opportunity to give them more info, and presumably they feel quite strongly about the subject and will actually listen.
It did sound very snippy tho, so maybe not. Some people just like to be obnoxious for the lulz.
delete your friend! ;D
I think you turned this remark into a terrific opportunity - good for you!
Im sure that your friend, (who is obviously passionate about the subject) will be able to appreciate that you are sourcing your beans from a community that has an established track record of helping workers on the ground.
Passion is a good thing ;)
I have received an apologetic response. Im actually glad she said something to be honest as it allowed me to respond.
Its not the first time I have come across misconception about fair trade coffee amongst some of my environmentally and socially aware friends and associates.
I have had people hesitate when I have offered them some of my roasted beans because "they only drink fair trade/organic.
It can take some explaining to convince people that just because a coffee is not certified fair trade that it was still traded fairly, Likewise trying to explain that the coffee is organic despite it not carrying an organic certification.
Often I feel that I leave these conversation in the same position as I started with people just thinking that I am kidding myself.
I agree, many people like to jump on the fair trade/organic bandwagon because they believe it is "trendy".
The term "organic" is used incorrectly so often and its true application is misunderstood. Many people think organic is the only true way of producing food, yet do not truly understand what horticulture involves.
The type of fertilizer used is really not that important. What is more relevant is the numerous chemicals used to control pests etc. These pesticides can be really nasty, so the term pesticide free is more applicable.
Australia is notorious for controlling pests with nasty chemicals, be it AQUIS (imported food) or the numerous states (like SA) that require some foods to be "treated" before being able to be sold or transported to particular regions.
When plants need nutrients, they take up what they need from the soil; they do not differentiate between its origin (be it from plant matter or from processed crushed rocks). There are so many arguments about what is truly organic, that I believe the term is misleading and needs further clarification. The same applies to fair trade.
I find that with such outspoken people the best tactic is to ask in depth questions about the subject. As their lack of knowledge soon becomes obvious to everyone, the subject is dropped and usually avoided.
Hopefully those in the know can then start to edumacate them.
Organic is not just the fertilizer used or the type of seed. etc. to get organic certification the entire process is audited. especially the pest control and the storage of harvested product. (I know something about this) Fairtrade is also an important thing Id rather ensure my supply of product by having the farmer be paid a "just" price for their product. But, the inherent problem with fairtrade is the supply chain used after the farm gate is normally screwed for price. This is a cause that needs addressing.
Additionally, the forms of treatment used by AQIS and DPIs are sensitive to the organic process. That is to say IF treatment is necessary, often if the supply chain is doing its job treatment may not be necessary.
"Trend" doesnt come into it - do the right thing, keep it clean and ensure your supply by allowing the producer to benefit for their toil
If its a great coffee, it should (can) bring a great price regardless. The whole problem with FT is that little gets back to the farmer, little is done to ensure bean quality and more often than not a whole lot of greedy middle men pocket the premium paid by gullible consumers.
Id much rather send my $$$ to FairCrack where every cent goes to those who need it rather than offices, desks, cars and fat cat salaries.
Isnt Fair Crack a form of Fair Trade without the branding? If the producer is helped that would make it fair. The issue with not contributing to some sort of FT scheme is that the mark up is ALWAYS there. At least with an FT and Fair Crack more goes to the producer to keep them in business.
If quality allows I prefer to buy producer benefiting coffee because I want to continue to have a good choice of good coffee.
Do not discount as trendy or bureaucratic schemes that at least try to distribute some of the profit.
Now all we have to do is get people to care about the poor sap loading the container to send us the coffee and the world would be a better place
How long have you been working for FT Jethro? *:-?;)Originally Posted by 1508191B6B6F5A0 link=1253017514/15#15 date=1253077701
How deeply have you actually looked into Fair Trade coffee? The farmer is not paid the FT price. The coop is. Fair Trade does little or nothing for the actual farmer. Once again it is a middle man who is getting the higher price, not the farmer.Originally Posted by 786574760602370 link=1253017514/13#13 date=1253074470
Every study I have seen of the FT system that was done by an independent party has indicated it ti be little more than a feel good branding for the masses with the farmers rarely seeing any of the additional monies. The only real financial winners in the whole FT system is the FT administration/certification organization. Theyre the only ones raking in the dough it appears.
Java "Disgusted with the whole FT system" phile
I think that Fair Crack is a great step towards improving standards for growers, in a way that offers them real returns. It may lead towards Fairly Traded coffee...but to say that it is a form of FT would most likely get the FT org up in arms.Originally Posted by 574A5B59292D180 link=1253017514/15#15 date=1253077701
Part of what FT does is to certify the bean along the way (a huge cost in itself) - what it doesnt do is to try to improve the quality. There are other certification programs doing great stuff - which is why I get frustrated when people have eyes only for FT. When you start to hear things like coffee farmers selling their reject beans to FT, you start to get concerned.
We are incredibly blessed, here in Australia. We should be trying to support the oppressed, widowed, the fatherless and the poor - I am unconvinced that FT is the best way to do it.
I think that the Fair Crack scheme is superb in its goal to utilize 100% of its donations to help coffee farming communities.
There are some good issues here to debate!
A good example I remember when Mcdonalds started using "rainforest alliance". This wasnt good enough for some coumnists who accused rainforest alliance of being "fair trade light"Originally Posted by 24263732242F2E29470 link=1253017514/18#18 date=1253079585
Being in the know...Id just like to point out that pesticides that are used on our crops in this district are softer than what you lot spray in your house for flies... ::)Originally Posted by 696E7B74791A0 link=1253017514/12#12 date=1253070348
Ive been wondering recently what AQIS treat the green beans with when they come into the country.Originally Posted by 4F485D525F3C0 link=1253017514/12#12 date=1253070348
I dont whether to laugh or cry when people rave on about I only buy Fairtrade, organic and the like and then walk into Maccas to buy their coffee.
Being trendy often causes much more harm than good.
Give me the coffeesnobs fair crack anyday!
Oh, and my very slowly growing wisdom has taught me that the more someone has to prove to me that they are a good person, the more they are not a good person.
Because Maccas only uses ethical products and would never exploit anyone ::)Originally Posted by 6A5B4C5554535855433A0 link=1253017514/22#22 date=1253085326
Probably Methyl Bromide Fumigation- Thats what rice gets treated with when we send it to Japan
The reality is that, according to Australian rates of pay, much of the world is underpaid.
If you are really serious about avoiding the exploitation of those paid less than Australian rates of pay, youll eat only local Australian produce (and Id venture that even some Australians are exploited), and have a hard time purchasing just about everything else. ;D
Im just glad to be doing my part for the coffee producers through the Fair Crack donation.
I think that any discussion of fair trade needs to take place against an understanding of the enormity and diversity of global markets for coffee and how they function. If cup quality is important to you, then cup quality should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to buy a particular fair trade certified product. I put quite a bit of work into writing an article on these two points and providing a number of links on the subject. It can be viewed here: http://coffeereviewaustralia.com/2009/06/28/fair-trade-certification-and-coffee-quality-a-very-brief-exploration/
(If anyone feels that its poor form of me to post that link, please dont hesitate to speak up and let me know, but I do feel that what I wrote in that article is very relevant to this topic and will be of interest to people reading it.)
The coop point is an excellent one to raise, Java. Id like to add three interesting points that spring to mind (and Im sure that there are more):Originally Posted by 43687F68796160656C090 link=1253017514/17#17 date=1253078951
1. many people, including Andy, have made the argument that coops are antithetical to getting the best quality coffee because the truly spectacular stuff will be blended with stuff that isnt as good;
2. not all coffee is produced in a coop system and smallholders that do not produce coffee in such a system may be ineligible for fair trade certification - eg. smallholders in PNG; and
3. the cost of creating and running a coop needs to be taken into account in determining the net benefit that farmers actually receive.
To put a new spin on the FT discussion, one question that I have is this: if the problem is that people involved in coffee production are poor, why does the solution have to be to guarantee them a price for their coffee? Why cant we address the poverty problem as a general poverty problem unrelated to coffee ... or by assisting people to switch to alternate crops? After all, if the problem is that people are poor because coffee prices are low, and coffee prices are low because of overproduction, isnt guaranteeing a price for coffee watering down the effectiveness of market prices in encouraging the producers of the lowest quality coffee to exit the market and switch to a crop that is more beneficial to everyone?
Hi LucaOriginally Posted by 372E383A5B0 link=1253017514/26#26 date=1253191766
I think youve raised some simple, interesting questions that come with complex answers.
I preface by saying I dont have a good or intimate understanding of many of the issues, but some points that spring to mind:
a) Horticultural crops (like coffee, nuts, etc.) can bring a higher return than agricultural crops (like cotton), but are more labour intensive.
b) To optimise the return for switching to agricultural crops land levelling, access to water, and harvesting equipment are necessary and I imagine there may be many areas where this is difficult or not an option.
c) I guess if my family had been harvesting coffee for generations, to be persuaded to switch crops would take some doing.
d) Weve seen the effects of switching and perhaps hear more about the bad outcomes rather than the good, eg. clearing forest areas in Sth America to the detriment of wildlife and the indigenous population; burning old forestation in Indonesia with similar outcomes; and even here in AU, an arid country, some farmers have switched to growing cotton that is a water-hungry crop.
My instincts still tell me its better not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and it would be better to help farmers develop a better product rather than switch.
Surely, with our increasing interest in quality coffees, there lies an opportunity if this path is chosen?
I have been pondering this line for a while, since I heard a presentation on it earlier this year - from what I understood, as soon as theres a big frost in Brasil and world coffee prices spike, farmers all over the world are inclined to rip up their food crops and plant coffee. Thus, by the time theyre able to harvest, theres a surplus and the price falls again. It seems to me that discouraging these farmers from ripping up the crops which can sustain their communities is a good idea.Originally Posted by 51707B7B7C66150 link=1253017514/27#27 date=1253250981
If its all about supply and demand, then if too much coffee is grown worldwide, thats no good for anyone.
Originally Posted by 647D6B69080 link=1253017514/26#26 date=1253191766If I read these correctly, these are two opposite views suggesting how to resolve the same problem that just go to show how complex it would be to find a solution.Originally Posted by 657F697C7C080 link=1253017514/28#28 date=1253253166
Theoretically, there is probably a very simple solution to poverty. All wed need to do is share our resources. Its a pity we humans tend to be greedy.
Nope, I meant encourage them not to rip up their food crops.
Oh, sorry Michelle.Originally Posted by 4D57415454200 link=1253017514/30#30 date=1253264197
Kind of raises even more questions in my mind. "Discouraging" farmers in developing nations? How do you do that? Through education, legislation, nationalisation, force?
You mentioned Brazil earlier and it reminded me of Daterra. They have advanced the quality and desirability of their coffee product enabling them to become what I believe to be a role model when it comes to social responsibility. To me, they also represent a model of how poverty can be overcome.
Their website is worth a look if any CS readers havent already done so...
Well, clearly, force. You know me, Im all about violence and oppression :-? I do realise its a complex issue, and I actually dont have many answers.Originally Posted by 527378787F65160 link=1253017514/31#31 date=1253270038
I absolutely agree that we ought to be concerned for the plight of the oppressed and the poor, the widowed and the fatherless. I, like many CSers it would seem, remain unconvinced that capital F Fair Trade is the best way forward.
But it seems logical that if there is less coffee grown, a higher price will be paid for it - whether or not any of that gets back to the farmers depends on the greed of middle men. Which is why I think the increasing number of coffee companies involved in directly-traded coffee is a great thing! And yeah, coffee through these avenues costs more. As it should.
Good thing that a significant proportion of the coffee Andy sources for us is direct trade 8-)
As spoken about in another thread, there is a DVD called Black Gold, which whilst is primarily about the coffee growers in Ethiopia and a search to find a better way to get a bigger birr in the pocket, does touch on briefly at the end the fact that Africa(with a predominance of developing nations) has a grand sum of 1% of the worlds trade, as generously allowed for them through the WTO.
It was pointed out that if they were able to grab another 1%, the difference made in terms of less aid needed (and by extension greater self sufficiency and less poverty) woud be great indeed. And it was funny how the aid pictured arriving had USA in big bright letters stencilled across the tops of the bags.
It is a complex problem, and has to be regarded on many fronts, not just one tentacle in isolation. We could do another 10 pages in this thread and still only cover half the relevant issues.
Recommend the DVD spoken of very highly.
Seems like the simplest solution and one that would apply to any type of harvest. Yet I think its true that within the wine industry, bumper crops can generate more profits for the growers, while the glut of wine forces prices down for the makers?Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1253017514/32#32 date=1253271169
Yeah, the more I think bout it the more my brain hurts.Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1253017514/32#32 date=1253271169
Me either. But I think bringing it to discussion raises our collective consciousness and makes us more considerate about our purchases - not a bad start.Originally Posted by 544E584D4D390 link=1253017514/32#32 date=1253271169
And coupled with FairCrack, is why I am always thrilled whenever I have the opportunity to purchase through BeanBay.Originally Posted by 0B544C5A515A565F5F5C5C545857390 link=1253017514/33#33 date=1253272909
but this doesnt mean youd encourage people not to buy the coffee that isnt? I know I wouldnt...Originally Posted by 005F47515A515D545457575F535C320 link=1253017514/33#33 date=1253272909
by the way, the one problem with Black Gold is that its a video shot by someone whos already decided the premise of their film, and their opinion.