This Labor Day, Consider the Coffee Farm Laborer

August 25, 2011

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In the US we take our one day per year holiday dedicated to the worker for granted. Coffee growing countries have no such thing as a holiday for the country’s workers. The coffee fields and harvests are demanding, when they are ready, they are ready. No argument, no days off allowed. So this Labor Day, why not thank a coffee farmer and pick a fair trade coffee for your next purchase?

Fair trade is one way to help farmers improve their communities and quality of life. They were not really getting a fair price for their hard work, and with a little higher price for their coffee, a very large improvement can be made to their poverty level lives.  

It’s not just a matter of getting a higher price for their coffee and hard work. Fair trade arrangements usually involve a co-operative set up to represent the farmers with the buyers. Through the co-ops, the farmers have a say in how to use the co-op’s share of the profits. They may build schools, put in a plumbing system, or fund similar community improvements. The benefits contribute to bettering the community and lives of all residents.

This is what one Costa Rican coffee farmer says about his experience as a fair trade farmer:

“Since Fair-trade, our farms have become more environmentally friendly. Our coffee is now produced in a sustainable way. We have planted trees and reduced the use of pesticides by 80% in 10 years. We used to cut 20 hectares (50 acres) of forest down every year to fuel the ovens at our processing plant. Now we have a new oven which is fuelled by waste products, including coffee skins and the skins of macadamia nuts that we buy from farmers on the other side of Costa Rica. It is a win-win business.”

This farmer’s coffee growing community has moved into sustainable agricultural practices which benefit not only the farmers, but the quality of the crop and the environment. As he says, fair trade is a “win-win” situation.

Have a happy Labor Day!

Here’s a win-win deal for you from ROASTe: 

Enjoy a fair trade coffee at a 15% savings on LaborDay (September 5). Simply visit our fair-trade coffee section, pick your coffee and put in the Coupon Code * - LaborDay15  - at checkout.

And enjoy your coffee that much more, knowing that farmers in distant regions are benefitting at the same time.

* Coupon valid on Monday, September 5, 2011, until end of day for Fair Trade coffee only.

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