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Urbana teacher heads to Brazil to study fair trade

Frederick News Post - Maryland

For a week this summer, while her pupils relax at the beach and head to camp, Ellen Georgi will be traveling in Brazil.
Georgi, who teaches sixth- and seventh-grade social studies at Urbana Middle School, will head to South America with nine other U.S. teachers to study fair trade farming and its effect on the environment and the economy.

“They were so sweet, they broke into applause when I told them,” she said of her pupils.

The trip is part of a program sponsored by Sam’s Club, the nonprofit group TransFair USA and coffee roaster Cafe Bom Dia.

Winners were selected based on a 1,000-word essay about the relationship of the fair trade program to school system curriculum.

They will spend a week in Brazil learning about fair trade coffee growing policies and how they can incorporate the concept into lesson plans.

“What I plan to do is take a lot of pictures, do a little blogging while I’m there,” Georgi said.

To be certified as producing fair trade products, a grower must commit to certain standards pertaining to land, water and chemical use. Child labor is also prohibited.

Georgi will also visit Brazilian schools to learn about how fair trade farming practices affect local communities.

She will share what she learns with pupils next school year. Lessons on Brazil’s farming and economy fit into the seventh grade western cultural geography course.

Georgi hopes to establish connections with pupils in Brazil to help children in her classroom link with those in other parts of the world.

“Being able to put a name and a face to someone in Latin America will really make it come alive,” she said.

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