Why do you drink coffee?
The Aroma? The smell certainly brings back memories for me: breakfasts with my parents, coffee dates with my husband, or even hanging out with friends on the lake in the early morning.
The Connection? I once posted a facebook status all about how crushing it was to grab my morning cup with the intention of savoring the last two sips only to discover that I had already finished. It was one of my most commented on statuses. We all like to connect or feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. With 80% of the U.S. claiming to be coffee drinkers, it certainly can start to make you feel like you are in the cool club.
The Experience? There is something so incredibly alluring about heading to Starbucks with a great book, your computer, or to meet with friends.
Caffeine? In our go, go, go society, we are always looking for ways to accomplish more in less time.
No matter the reason for drinking it, there are ways your cup of joe can do great things for others, while attaining that high quality you deserve. Take a look at two coffee organizations that will warm your heart with each coffee purchase.
Fair Trade USA: This 501(c)3 nonprofit has designed a certification process for farmers (including coffee bean farmers) in developing nations to ensure that the product is healthy, the workers are safe, and the farmer’s compensation is fair.
*Video Courtesy of Fair Trade USA
Why Fair Trade? The 1995-2005 global coffee crisis is a great example of the need for fair trade. During this time, farmers in developing countries like, Latin America, South America and Asia were really struggling. Their coffee beans weren't making enough money to sustain the production. As a result, farmers were having to change occupations (which could have resulted in a coffee shortage) or start growing coffee in ways that were unhealthy both for the workers and consumers. As you can imagine, a career change is extremely difficult for a rural farmer in a third world country. According to USA Today, in order to try and salvage their income, many farmers were choosing to clear cut land, sometimes even rain forests, in order to produce more by means of direct sunlight. If you're not that into conservation, then this might not sound like that big of a deal, but it affects more than that. When coffee is grown in direct sunlight, more can be produced, but farmers need pesticides and chemicals to treat the crops. Not only does this result in unhealthy conditions in the coffee, but can be extremely dangerous to the crop workers. Fair trade prices insure a healthier growing process, as well as a higher quality of life for farmers, their families, and crop workers.
Through Fair Trade, many coffee farmers were able to survive that crisis. Plus, Fair Trade continues to make a difference in the daily lives of the communities in these developing countries because not only do they allow for just compensation and teach farmers how to thrive in a free market, but special funds are set aside for social, economic & environmental projects. To read more about how Fair Trade Coffee is impacting these communities, please see the 2010 Fair Trade Coffee Impact Report which you can download here courtesy of Fair Trade USA.
How can you know that coffee is fair trade certified? Just look on the bag to see if it has the Fair Trade logo, or ask the coffee shop clerk which coffees are Fair Trade certified. They also have a new facebook and cell phone app that will tell you where you can buy Fair Trade in your area. To find out more about Fair Trade and the Fair Trade Finder App, click here.
|Photo Credit: Just Love Coffee Roasters|
Just Love Coffee Roasters, LLC: This coffee company offers Fair Trade coffee, which can be purchased through their website, but that’s not where their philanthropy ends. The experience of adopting two children from Kids Care Orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Rob Webb, the owner of Just Love Coffee Roasters, resulted in a portion of their proceeds going to help build a school for older children at Kids Care. Also, he has a vision to help others with their adoption costs by setting up a business model that allows couples to raise funds for their adoption costs by taking Just Love Coffee orders through their own websites and receiving $5 for every pound they sell.
Link to Just Love Coffee Roasters Store
Link to Just Love Coffee Roasters Fundraising Information
So take a "mug half FULL" approach and jolt into action by supporting farmers, families, developing communities or children looking for a forever home by drinking your morning brew!
Do you know of an organization offering Fair Trade coffee or coffee company that is giving back? If so, give them a shout out in the comments below or email me the details at Knowtable@gmail.com.