Trying to figure out how to respond when confronted with all of this information of injustice and exploitation, it is important to begin small and create a lifestyle.
When I first started this journey of voting with my dollars, I told myself a good place to start was with coffee.
Coffee was something I was drinking on a consistent basis and I knew coffee was not grown here in the U.S. but exclusively in developing countries.
So what impact was coffee really having?
83% of Americans drink coffee, 63% on a daily basis.
When you consider how many people live in America, that equates to tons and tons of coffee, but it’s not just Americans who drink coffee, much of the world does as well.
Coffee is a tropical perennial shade-growing shrub that grows in highland/mountainous areas. It is typically grown as a specialty crop, which means farmers usually only grow coffee as their commodity crop. Translation: farmer’s income is solely dependent on how their coffee grows.
80% of coffee is grown by small-scale farmers. meaning farmers who don’t have a lot of land or resources.
For us, coffee is a luxury that we are able to enjoy the benefits of, but for the farmers who grow it, it can be life or death.
Although a cup of coffee can cost us up to several dollars, the farmers themselves only get a small fraction of that cost. This is because of a very corrupted supply chain system.
But, don’t worry! There’s an amazing solution.
Their names are Fair Trade Coffee and Direct Trade Coffee.
Fair trade is more commonly found. Fair trade is a certification organization that has requirements for producers to pay their workers a certain wage in order to have their certification label.
[you can find out more about this amazing organization here]
Fair Trade is responsible for over $200 million towards workers since they started their coffee label in 1998. That is amazing!
Direct Trade Coffee is a little less common, but is even cooler! Direct Trade means that the coffee you are buying was grown by farmers who are directly working with that company.
So when you buy coffee, look for either Fair Trade or Direct Trade labels! You can confidently drink your coffee knowing these farmers are not having to face extreme poverty and can be proud of their jobs!
-- Check out the Resource Page for some amazing ethical & sustainable Coffee sources.