We have all heard about and bought Fair Trade coffee. Certification by international and national standards ensures the product is free from fertilizers and herbicides, and grown by the most natural process possible,and has a set price on the money markets.
However, what if the organic coffee farmer or company abides by the rules, produces a superior coffee, but can’t afford to be certified? Do they just forget about organics, and start to grow coffee the “new and improved” modern way? With chemicals, yes, it costs money, but traditional coffee sells anytime, anywhere. Hey, everyone has to live, right?
There is a growing awareness of a new concept, Fairly Traded, which may solve the problem.
A coffee farmer or small co-op can keep on growing organically, but without certification. Lots of small coffee operations are finding it takes years to gain fair trade status, but economically, they need to join the global community now.
One bonus, the price paid for organic coffee can be higher than the fair trade standard as it is not bound by the price restrictions, but it still deals directly with the growers. Extra incentives may be offered, and more donations can be funneled into the individual organic communities.
The criteria for acceptance may have to be adjusted to allow for more access to organic benefits. A movement to label these products “Fairly Traded” means the buyer is confident that the fair trade process was used to grow this organic coffee.
A sustainable industry needs to be open to change when it’s needed for the benefit of all.
About the author, Coffee Joe AKA Suzie Ambrose: I have several passions in my life. Coffee, writing and photography. When I have to work, it’s to fuel those hobbies. I live in the Cariboo in northwestern B.C. This provides ammo for my camera, my written observations and a first hand look at local organics, the old ways, and the strict stewardship of the farmlands. I take photos exactly as I see them and I write the same way. No compromises, no adjustments, just doing the research, and waiting for that moment when everything turns out to be all that I hoped for and more. Magic. Suzie writes a coffee blog for a Vancouver, B.C. coffee roaster Pistol And Burnes under the name “Coffee Joe Says”.
Photo by rogiro.