Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 9, 2003
Aroma of fair trade coffee comes to local parishes
By AL MELLA
Special to the WCR
Wake up and smell the coffee - fair trade coffee that is. The smell of fair trade coffee will be coming to a parish near you.
Six parishes have responded to the Edmonton archdiocesan Council for Development and Peace's initiative on the promotion of fair trade products.
Rod Loyola, education coordinator, said, "The parishes already involved love it. It's really good because it brings awareness to the social issue that we deal with on the council.
"It's more than just selling coffee. It's a way of creating a relationship with those people in developing countries where the coffee is grown and produced."
Loyola said the most important effect of fair trade is on the lives of farmers who have been able to sell their coffee at the prices that meet their basic needs.
The coffee being sold is Just Coffee, a Development and Peace (CCODP) name and label for fair trade coffee. It is supplied by a Vancouver-based roaster that gives four per cent rebate of the wholesale price of Just Coffee to CCODP. This rebate is used to further the aims of CCODP partners in Mexico.
The coffee is purchased from long-established cooperatives, family farms and ethical importers concerned about social and environmental issues. The coffee is all grown under a shade canopy, supporting hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.
The council hopes eventually to create a market for other fair trade products. Loyola said select parishes will be selling fair trade textiles along with coffee. The profits will go to support cooperatives in Guatemala. The council already has products from the small isolated town of Nebaj in Quiche, Guatemala.
Quena Sanchez, council volunteer from St. Theresa's Parish, said, "We believe fair trade is about responding to calls to change the way we purchase products so poor producers mainly from the South get a bigger cut of the profit from the products they produce."
"The fair trade coffee has been a wonderful opportunity to talk about development issues in the South," said Carolee Perry from Assumption Parish who has been selling fair trade coffee in the parish during coffee Sundays.
The other parishes that have been involved are Annunciation, St. Charles, St. Thomas More and Sacred Heart (Red Deer).