Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 12 of Giving That Gives Back: Coffee Talk

Did you notice that I stepped away for a few days? I didn't forget that I promised 31 days. Life dirty laundry growing mold because of rainy season and bathrooms I cannot even describe happened and required my attention. And, y'all, I was tired. I am battling a little burnout here on a lot of levels and the resulting exhaustion is getting the better of me. I have loved blogging these posts, but in all honesty, I did not have the mental or emotional energy to think any great big thoughts the last couple of days.

But, I'm back now, trying to start the week out on the right foot. And to make up for my absence and keep life going around here, I'm going to be relying on coffee and grace. So while we're on the subject of coffee, let me introduce you today to a coffee company I recently discovered that is a great model for making ethical purchases that give back:

Three Story Coffee. I am sure it is no surprise to any of you that there are ethical and sustainable ways to source coffee and pay fair wages to its growers and there are means that are just the opposite of those things. Since I live in a community of coffee growers and harvesters, this is something that I hope more people will consider when purchasing coffee. Did you know that in many parts of the world, including mine, that summer vacation from school coincides with coffee harvest time so that kids can go with their parents to work in the fields? Did you know that much of the world's commercial coffee supply is harvested by marginalized indigenous populations that can be paid very low wages for their work, which may well be the only work they will find that year? Some of this is simply cultural. But it is possible to make a purchasing shift and support independent family farms who do their work themselves, farm cooperatively with their community, or pay their helpers (usually extended family members) fair wages for their work. The more we move our consumer dollars over to coffee that is purchased through a direct relationship with tits growers, the more we can protect some level of ethical sustainability and employment for farmers and families in developing nations. For this reason, whenever it is possible, it is important to look for coffee products that you know are ethically sourced.

Now there are a lot of labels attached to products that can get confusing. Fair trade especially. Let's make sure we realize that anyone can call anything fair trade if they choose. There is no guarantee that a seller simply calling a product fair trade guarantees fair trade practices were followed in the sourcing of the product. To ensure that a product you purchase is actually sourced using fair trade practices, you want to look for a third party fair trade certification. Usually in the form a logo like the one here:

But an even better approach would be to look for a coffee company that has a direct purchasing relationship with its growers. This means they know the farmers they are purchasing their coffee beans from personally and they have a commitment to those farmers to produce coffee that benefits everyone in the relationship. That is Three Story Coffee's motive. And then, besides making their business good for the farmers, they purpose to make it good for others too, investing in the care of widows and orphans, education and missionary support. Plus I love that each coffee's name tells its story. So head on over and learn more about their amazing business and fill your holiday cuppa with coffee you can feel good about drinking.

One other little favor. Can I ask you to take a look at the quilt raffle widget there on the sidebar? Would you mind clicking over and doing what you can to make the raffle a success? This will allow us to get much needed materials and skills training and extend the reach of our Mercy Covers social enterprise. And someone is going to win a fabulous one of a kind quilt! 100% of the raffle proceeds will benefit the artisans of Mercy Covers. It would help us out a lot of you would share the raffle blogs and social media outlets for us. Thanks in advance!

Find all the posts in the series linked here.

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