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Fair trade: Justice never tasted so good

Coffee is good stuff.

It’s a perfect accessory for conversation. It’s a wake-up agent. It’s just plain tasty.

Considering its popularity, you’d think the producers of those spunky little beans would rake in generous amounts of cash.

But here’s the thing: they’re dirt poor. In fact, coffee growers are some of the poorest people on the planet.

Coffee beans–the ones roasted and crushed to make your cup of Joe–are mostly grown in Latin America by farmers who can barely afford to feed their families. Because of corrupt “coyotes” (people who buy beans from farmers) and the influx of the corporate coffee industry, most small farmers have little hope of economic progress.

Their kids can’t go to school; they have no means of improving their farming techniques, and they’re taken advantage of.

All of that injustice is not something I’m willing to swallow along with my latte. That’s why I think Fair Trade coffee rocks.

Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers get paid a living wage for their beans, and works to establish cooperatives so that small farmers can band together to produce and export their produce. It creates community, teaches solid business skills, uses earth-friendly techniques AND generates profit.

Here’s where you come in.

Ask for Fair Trade coffee in cafés and look for the label when you shop. It’s that simple. With each dollar spent, you can improve another human life.

Farmers who export through fair trade practices make about a dollar more per pound than farmers who export conventionally. Their kids can go to school. They can remain on their land. They can put food on the table.

Now that’s something I’ll drink to.

For more information on fair trade certification, check out www.fairtradecertified.org.

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