Bella Tica Organic Coffee - Fair Trade Up and Close by Renee Travel
Fair trade is a lot more than some dirty stinky hippy hemp jewelry sold to you at a make shift farmers market by a dude who mistook too much patchouli oil with a shower. Fair trade is also about a lot more than coffee, however for me the first time I heard anything about fair trade was directly related to coffee and specifically the working conditions that coffee farmers were exposed to.
Years of capitalism and globalization has led to ridiculously low costs of food, clothes, home goods, furniture, technology, raw materials and a multitude of other goods and commodities. While we all love a good deal, some is paying for it in one way or another. With clothing for example, textiles manufacturing is primarily made in countries with cheap labor and loose to no labor laws around working conditions. This basically means, if you work in a factory that makes clothing you are often a child or a very young person making less than the equivalent to $2 a day. Your hours of work will be long and spent in a hot, sweaty factory with bosses yelling at you to work faster and denying you a bathroom break. At the end of each day, you barely have enough for a bowl of rice, let alone anything else like clothes of your own, health care, education or retirement for when you get to be older. The alternative is no job and starvation.
More often than not a good deal for us comes at the expense of another human being. In 2011, I had the opportunity to do a Service Learning Project in Costa Rica with the University of Utah. The trip was packed with activities designed to be educational, fun and service to some some rural areas outside Santa Elena a town at the foot of the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve. The program nailed just that. While I understood the concept of Fair Trade before I went on this trip, that idea about that changed completely when I met the people who grew, dried, roasted and packed my beloved favorite morning beverage.