Monthly Archives: January 2008

BART to offer free morning coffee

- The Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — Many early morning BART riders jump start their day with a cup of coffee and on Thursday, thousands of commuters can get their java for free.

Partnering with the non-profit Transfair USA and Tully’s Coffee, the transit agency will offer coupons from 6 to 9 a.m. for a free cup of coffee at six stations as part of its rider appreciation campaign.

What makes this promotion unique is that the three organizations are teaming up to promote environmental sustainability and create awareness of Fair Trade products to socially conscious Bay Area residents.


BART offers Thursday morning commuters free coffee coupons

- San Jose Mercury News

OAKLAND — Many early morning BART riders jump start their day with a cup of coffee and on Thursday, thousands of commuters can get their java for free.

Partnering with the non-profit Transfair USA and Tully’s Coffee, the transit agency will offer coupons from 6 to 9 a.m. for a free cup of coffee as part of its rider appreciation campaign. (more…)

Free? We LOVE free stuff!

- The San Francisco Chronicle

Nothing says “I love you” like a cuppa free joe.

Yes, they might have recently raised ticket prices, but the lovely people at BART are organizing a giveaway Thursday at six BART stations, starting at 6 a.m.

Volunteers will be handing out 50,000 coupons for a free fair-trade latte or drip coffee at Tully’s Coffee. They say the promotion goes until 9 a.m., but we sort of doubt there will be enough coupons to last, so get there early. (more…)

Two San Luis Obispo Fair Trade Businesses Team Up to Spread Valentine’s Day Love Around the World


This Valentine’s Day, two San Luis Obispo-based companies are offering a sweet and spicy treat – the new SLO Chai Chocolate. SLO Chai and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, Inc. are marketing a blend of Sweet Earth’s award-winning 65% bittersweet Fair Trade chocolate and SLO Chai’s incomparably warm and spicy chai mix that not only tastes delicious but is helping to support cocoa farmers in West Africa. (more…)

Fair trade hopes take root

- The Observer, UK

Can Malawi’s newly empowered farmers transform one of the world’s poorest countries?

The district hospital at Mchinji in Malawi was built nearly 20 years ago to serve a population of 275,000. It is a modern complex that, from the outside, would not look out of place in any British city. The trouble is that it’s drowning under a sea of patients.

Mchinji lies in the far west of Malawi where the Zambian and Mozambican borders meet. The sick swarm over the borders and swell the hospital’s catchment area to more than 600,000. With a population of 13 million, Malawi has the lowest number of doctors per person in the world; a 17-bed children’s ward will typically treat at any one time 185 kids suffering, and often dying, from malaria, pneumonia or anaemia.

The sick children are accompanied by a parent – or, just as likely, a guardian, because Aids has sunk its claws into the people who farm this fertile land. Consequently, life expectancy has reduced from 45 in 1990 to 37 in 2005. Virtually every adult you meet looks after at least one Aids orphan, more likely several.

But Mchinji District Hospital has no beds for those accompanying the sick, let alone cooking or washing facilities. So opposite the hospital, gathered on scrubby grass, are hundreds of women and children at the mercy of the elements. Some are pregnant, waiting to go into labour.

Yet here at Mchinji, contrary to perception, all is not lost. Three weeks ago, work started on a brick shelter to protect parents, guardians and expectant mothers from the sheeting rain and scorching sun. Progress has been rapid: the foundations have been laid and the structure is rising out of the ground. Work should finish soon. What’s remarkable is that the shelter has been paid for by nuts – fair-trade groundnuts, grown in Malawi and sold to British shoppers. (more…)

Cup ‘o java — and controversy


We all know coffee is the good that comes to mind quickest when we talk fair trade.

More and more, though, the survival of the planet-spanning bean industry is being discussed alongside the ramifications of global warming.

Author Dean Cycon has circled the globe looking for quality (read: tasty and fair trade) joe. His wanderings revealed that even high in the Sierra Nevada, coffee farmers are feeling the heat:

“Arhuaco coffee farmer Javier Mestres … had never heard of the global circulation model that tried to measure increments of change in the temperature of the ocean or dynamics of the atmosphere. He was unaware that the IPCC report stated that Colombia would heat up dramatically in the next twenty years and lose 90 percent of its glacial snowcaps by 2050.

Javier saw the results of a warming planet clearly in the premature flowering of his coffee plants on his four-acre family farm in the slopes above Nabusimake, the capital of the Arhuaco nation. He showed me the smaller, weaker berries that dotted the stems and wondered why the outside world wanted to harm these beautiful plants. Why were we changing the world?” (more…)

Woman proposes fair trade town

- The Sun Times, CAN

Liz Campbell believes Saugeen Shores could become the third “fair trade town” in Canada.

“By becoming a fair trade town, we are confirming our community’s commitment to supporting the principles of fair trade and improving the livelihood of millions of farmers and workers in the global south who benefit from the fair trade certification system,” the Port Elgin resident told a town council committee of the whole meeting earlier this month.

Campbell said among of the major goals of the program are to encourage access to fair trade-certified products in the community and to increasing public awareness of the issue of fair trade. (more…)

Co-Founders of Higher Grounds Trading Company to Visit Delaware

- Connect 2 Ohio Wesleyan University

Coffee, one of the largest traded products in the world, is that wonderfully satisfying morning beverage for which we reach daily. For the many millions of us in the United State alone, who crave, covet, and become quite crabby when denied that first cup of java as the sun rises, coffee is simply the right way to start the day. But for the many coffee bean farmers in places such as Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Columbia, coffee is more than one of life’s culinary pleasures. Coffee is life itself—a means of survival for these farmers and their families. A hut in which to live. A new roof for that hut. And a wonderful dream of some day building a new school close to their homes for their children to attend.

And yet…for each three-dollar cup of coffee we purchase at a local establishment, the farmer receives but three cents. Three cents. Enter Higher Grounds Trading Company and co-founders Chris and Jody Treter. They will be in Delaware on January 31-February 2, to meet members of the community for “coffee talk,” coffee tasting (or cupping as it is described), and a noon brown- bag lunch discussion (in OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes room), about their company’s history, mission, and progress, fair trade facts, and their coffee company’s forthcoming spring trip to Chiapas, Mexico.

Sam’s Club(R) Adds Roses to Fair Trade Certified(TM) Products

- CNN Money

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Romantics and fresh flower fans can now give or decorate with “green” roses that have been Fair Trade Certified(TM) and are available online at While the classic rose colors are available, including red and pink for love, white for virtue and yellow for friendship, these roses are grown with special gratitude and love because farm employees benefit from Fair Trade standards that put proceeds back into (local/their) schools, medical services and housing.

“Sam’s Club is a significant partner in our effort to expand the availability of Fair Trade Certified flowers to American consumers,” explained Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA, the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. (more…)

Why Dean’s Beans got fair trade certified — again


Buying coffee with a conscience can be complicated these days. Sure, you can look for the fair trade certified sticker, awarded by TransFair USA, but a new company seems to come out with their own allegedly “better than fair trade” program every day.

Should you buy one of those coffees instead? Some of these “better than fair trade” programs are actually really hardcore, while others are simple greenwashing tactics — and most are somewhere in between. Deciphering between them, however, is a tough, time consuming job, even when it is actually achievable….

This is the reason that Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans, one of the first activist companies that pioneered fair trade coffee in the US, is going back to fair trade certification. Yes, I said going back, not simply joining. Dean’s Beans, along with Just Coffee and Larry’s Beans, left the fair trade roster back in 2004, alleging that the fair trade certification standards had gotten too watered down. (more…)