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Rural Renaissance Renewing the Quest for the Good Life

Rural Renaissance Renewing the Quest for the Good Life

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Published by Pedro Cabral

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Published by: Pedro Cabral on Jul 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Among our steps toward living a more sustainable lifestyle was through our coffee
cup.Coffee is our beverage ofchoice and the sound ofcoffee beans grinding in the
morning is music to our ears.As coffee connoisseurs,we use our purchasing dollar
to support sustainable coffee production.When purchasing coffee beans,we look
for the following:

•Is it shade-grown?Conventional coffee plantation practices typically
involve clear-cutting forests for monoculture coffee plantations.This
destroys the ecosystem and requires fertilizers and pesticides which then
adversely affect both the health offarmers and local wildlife.Shade-grown
coffee is made from sustainably harvested beans from coffee plants that
grow in the shade ofthe existing forests,without destroying the natural
ecosystem.Coffee plants grown this way do not need to be subjected to a
regime ofpesticides or fertilizers;thus,most shade-grown coffee is also
organically grown.

•Are the farmers equitably compensated?Historically,companies from
developed countries such as the United States have set the terms for the
pricing ofworld commodities,including coffee.This has resulted in a huge
inequity in developing countries,where coffee farmers have little choice but
to accept the terms offered.While a pound ofgourmet coffee may sell for
$8-$10,only 35 to 50 cents ofthat goes to the farmer.


How to

Fortunately,there is a growing number ofprogressive coffee companies that not
only offer organic coffee,but do so in a way that support fair trade,striving to ensure
that sustainable growing practices and equitable pay scales are offered to farmers.
Most sell coffee through direct mail order or at local food co-ops and independent
coffee houses.Among the leaders are Equal Exchange and Thanksgiving Coffee.
Dunkin' Donuts,Starbucks Coffee and Albertson's supermarket chain have also
agreed to sell Fair Trade Certified coffee.
Beside coffee,the fair trade movement has grown in response to the increasing
awareness ofsweatshop labor,unfair labor practices,environmental degradation,
and other social issues.Today,there are fair trade certified teas,chocolate,bananas,
oranges and a wide range ofhand-crafted products,revenues from which support
—not exploit — the communities that make them.



Fair Trade Federation

Website: www.fairtradefederation.org

Provides information on fairly traded products and a listing of companies

supporting the fair trade movement.

TransFair USA

Website: www.transfairusa.org

A non-profit that regularly reviews and certifies the business and growing

practices of coffee, tea and cocoa (chocolate) producers to insure that they

meet fair trade conditions.

Co-op America

Website: www.sweatshops.org (to avoid supporting sweatshop labor)

Website: www.responsibleshopper.org (for information on resposible


Website: www.fairtradeaction.org (for information on fairly traded goods)

Rainforest Alliance

Website: www.rainforest-alliance.org

As one of its initiatives to protect the rainforests and the people who live


in them, this non-profit organization certifies cocoa, oranges, coffee

and bananas grown according to environmentally and socially responsible

criteria. Look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified label.

Equal Exchange

251 Revere Street, Canton, MA 02021, 781-830-0303

Website: www.equalexchange.com

Offers fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa by mail order.

Thanksgiving Coffee Co.

P.O. Box 1918, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, 1-800-462-1999

Website: www.thanksgivingcoffee.com

Offers a wide variety of fair trade-certified and organic coffees, also by

mail order.

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