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Fair Trade Editorials and Debate

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In this section, find opinion pieces and critical debate from various news sources around the world.

Fair trade a fair shake for farmers

- guelphmercury.com

The fair trade certified coffee market is not only fairer to farmers than the conventional coffee market, it is a uniquely remarkable way to stimulate economic growth in some of the poorest communities on the Earth.

My perspective is in direct contrast to an opinion column by Gene Callahan that appeared on this page Aug. 14. (more…)

Feeling the heat of food security

- news.bbc.co.uk

Reforming the economics of food production and supply would be beneficial for a number of environmental and social problems, argues Peter Baker. A key issue, he says, is understanding the energy involved in putting food on your plate.

Global development, global debt, global warming, food miles, food security, food riots, peak oil, peak water…

What’s this got to do with small farmers and global food chains?

The answer is that all the issues mentioned above intersect over small farmers. (more…)

It’s Only Fair - Shop smart to promote the American way

- goerie.com

A high school friend once made me a birthday card. The once-folded printer paper was plastered with images of Bono, alone and with his aesthetically pleasing U2 bandmates. On the front, my friend identified a condition I’ve suffered from most of my life: Bononucleosis.

(more…)

Drinking Green

- nationalzoo.si.edu

A primer on choosing coffee that supports sustainable practices

With the first rays of the morning sun slanting through the trees, I made my way through the coffee farm of a small landowner in Chanchamayo, Peru’s central coffee-growing region. (more…)

Fair trade fight brewing in Asheville

- Mountain Xpress, NC

It was the plight of the rose-breasted grosbeak that persuaded Laurey Masterson to switch coffee brands.

Masterson was one of the many downtown Asheville restaurant owners targeted by Durham’s Counter Culture Coffee in the mid-1990s with its dual message of quality and corporate responsibility. The sales reps’ basic pitch revolved around a simple concept pioneered by Counter Culture co-owner Fred Houck: Save the songbirds. (more…)

The friction between the fair-trade and local-first movements

- Charleston City Paper

Food shopping has never been more political than it is now. Beyond the clutter of brands vying for consumers’ attention in any grocery store aisle, deep social movements are at play, and marketers are keen to exploit their ideas to slap an additional 30 cents on a price tag. Eat organic. Buy local. Help children in Africa get access to clean drinking water. Support Lowcountry shrimp. The consumer is more powerful than ever, and at times, also more confused. (more…)

John Oliver from Daily Show Supports Fair Trade

- Comedy Central

John Oliver is a regular reporter on America’s leading comedy news program on Comedy Central. In his stand-up routine, he discusses Fair Trade and the alternatives. Check it out.

Fair trade branded ‘unfair’

- The Guardian, UK

The burgeoning fair trade movement which allows consumers to buy ethically sourced products such as tea, coffee and bananas is little more than “marketing hype” which benefits a minority of farmers in developing countries at the expense of all the others, a leading thinktank claims today.

At the start of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight, a highly critical report by the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) warns that it is little more than a marketing exercise intended to maintain fair trade’s predominance in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It says fair trade is “unfair” because if offers only a very small number of farmers a higher, fixed priced for their goods. These higher prices come at the expense of the great majority of farmers, it says, who - unable to qualify for Fairtrade certification - are left even worse off.
(more…)

A Greener, Sweeter Valentine’s Day

- The Huffington Post

Is Valentine’s Day a beautiful celebration of love, commitment and denial?

Dating back hundreds of years, the origins of Valentine’s Day-and its patron saint-have long been shrouded in mystery. Though little is known about St. Valentine or Valentinus, one thing is certain: Valentine’s Day is not so sweet. (more…)

Cup ‘o java — and controversy

- Mlive.com

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…)

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