“The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world’s coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as “sweatshops in the fields.” Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.” From Global Exchange. Recent falling world prices only make the situation worse.
I didn’t really start drinking coffee until about four years ago. Knowing I like sweet drinks and hot chocololate, someone convinced me to try the French Vanilla at Tim Horton’s..
Around the same time, a friend of mine who frequented coffee shops lured me into Starbucks. For some time after that, we met every three or four weeks to chat, usually at Starbucks. It didn’t take me long to discover that I’m not crazy about Starbucks coffee. Since they offer a variety of cold juices and latte’s, it didn’t matter much.
It turns out, however, that Starbucks uses some fair trade coffee, and also has their own unique arrangement with other producers that works in a similar manner. Apparently Starbucks can improve the work they do in this area, check out the petition HERE.
Now McDonalds has announced that its New England and Albany locations will begin using exclusively fair trade coffee. That amounts to 468 loations out of a total of 30,000.. yeah, kind of just a hill of bills. But it is a beginning and if consumers demand change, change will happen.
Ok, personally, I think we should all switch to tea. Green tea is actually good for you, and Chai is the best. If you’ve never tried it, Chai is a spiced latte made with black tea and honey. A few places will actually brew it for you; most make it from a premix. The mix I buy is made by David Rio.
Fair Trade: What You Can Do.. follow this link.