The People Behind Your Cup
Fair Trade USA is pleased to announce its participation in the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Annual Event this April. To commemorate the occasion, we’re taking you behind the scenes at SCAA and highlighting the strong, dedicated and hardworking farmers behind Fair Trade coffees. Follow us on the blog and social media all week to meet the producers, roasters, and baristas behind Fair Trade coffee. Grab a cup of joe and read on!
What do you like with your coffee – cream? Sugar? Maybe a scone or doughnut on the side, or a good friend across the café table? Whatever (or whoever) your ideal coffee pairing, we’re willing to bet that your coffee isn’t quite as good without it.
Partnerships between coffee growers and roasters operate in much the same way. That’s why Fair Trade provides a foundation for mutually beneficial relationships to flourish.
One Village Coffee and COMSA
One Village Coffee, an award-winning Pennsylvania-based roaster, purchases its beans from COMSA, a Fair Trade cooperative in Honduras. These purchases have helped COMSA receive fairer compensation as well as Community Development Premiums – additional funding reserved for critical community projects, like education and healthcare. Following an inspirational visit to COMSA, One Village Coffee began sponsoring projects on top of those funded through its coffee purchases. Fair Trade USA helped deepen the commitment by assisting in translations and fund transfers.
Recently, One Village Coffee sponsored two such projects. In exchange, COMSA supplied photos and quotes to help One Village Coffee share these stories with their customers. Both projects demonstrate the unique power of partnerships to effect positive change in communities worldwide.
- Beehives: In 2013, COMSA partnered with One Village Coffee to fund a bee-keeping project. The goal was to use honey to diversify farmers’ income – a crucial move in the wake of a coffee rust (fungus) epidemic that threatened coffee plants and farmers’ livelihoods. Pollination from the bees would also improve coffee berry ripening and uniformity. Though the coffee rust epidemic has passed, beekeeping has become a valuablesource of income for COMSA, and One Village Coffee continues to sponsor the project. One Village Coffee’s 2015 contribution even helped COMSA bring in a beekeeping technician from Uruguay for best practice trainings.
- Farmers Market: COMSA is currently building a farmer’s market to serve the surrounding community. So far, funds from One Village Coffee have been used to conduct a market study to and enable training for producers in organic agriculture and permaculture. This project will empower local populations to prepare nutritious meals for their families and generate supplemental income for those who grow the produce.
“We are so thankful for One Village,” says Sonia Vasquez, a coffee farmer and former Project Manager for the beehive project at COMSA. “Because of One Village, we are able to continue our work in diversifying farms in order to generate sources of income outside of coffee.”
Adds Andrea Hackman, General Manager of One Village Coffee, “We are extremely grateful for COMSA and the partnership we have developed over the years. The coffee we receive from COMSA makes up our number one selling coffee – our Artist Blend. We are continually inspired by our relationship with COMSA and are thankful they produce such an amazing product for us to roast and for coffee lovers everywhere to enjoy.”
The partnership between One Village Coffee and COMSA illustrates what is perhaps the greatest benefit of Fair Trade – a chance to form sustainable, long-term relationships. Fair Trade standards regulate groups at every level of the coffee production process, from those who grow the beans to those who sell it. As such, Fair Trade has the unique ability to connect groups throughout the coffee supply chain and, ultimately, to foster stronger, more direct relationships. These relationships mean better livelihoods for farmers, and lasting business ties for the roasters who empower them. It’s a win-win situation. And like coffee and sugar (or cream, or a pastry), both grower and roaster are better together.
And of course their success wouldn’t be possible without your purchase and support of Fair Trade coffee! So thank you for making sure your morning brew is Fair Trade.