Making the choice to purchase fair-trade coffee


This was the first year for Gannon’s Alternative Break Service Trip to visit Fond Tortue, Haiti, where they learned about the economical and environmental impacts of fair trade.

Melissa Bronder

October is National Fair Trade Month, and what better way to celebrate than reminding ourselves why to choose fair trade in the first place? To buy fair trade is to recognize that the products we purchase every day are connected to the livelihood and humanity of others.
A commitment to fair trade means that you’re fighting against the exploitation of workers and ensuring they receive a fair wage for the energy and commitment they put into their goods.
Even beyond a fair wage for their labor, fair-trade certified goods ensure that the labor conditions of the workers are both adequate and safe, and that practices prioritizing the safety of the environment are employed.
Beyond an economic outlook, fair trade is about supporting and loving our fellow humans. It’s about empowering producers to have a difference in their future and reach a better standard of living for them and their families.
Fair trade arose when individuals realized that normal market prices weren’t providing growers and producers with enough money to support themselves or their families, and were limiting their choices. Poverty was limiting these individuals from having any negotiating power in their earnings or way of living.
Imagine that you’re only earning one dollar per pound of coffee you’re producing. This level of poverty would immobilize you from speaking up for fear of losing everything. Growers and producers were and are being exploited in a inescapable system.
The purchasing of cheap, mass produced goods translates into a cruel and unfair life for those making these goods.
Oftentimes, when we purchase mass-produced goods, our money is only going to the companies behind the label, and not the growers and producers who provide the goods and services.
On Gannon’s campus, you can support fair trade any day you want just by purchasing your daily caffeine boost. Doc’s Landing sells Neg Mawon coffee, which is a fair-trade coffee from Haiti. Simply look for the white coffee carafe next time you visit Doc’s Landing.
What’s really neat is that Metz partners with Out of the Grey Coffee (a local business) in order to roast and sell Neg Mawon on campus.
The reason we have Neg Mawon coffee on campus is because of the partnership that Gannon’s Coffee and Economic Justice Alternative Break Service Trip (ABST) has with the coffee growers in Fond Tortue, Haiti.
When you drink Neg Mawon coffee, you’re directly aiding the families of coffee growers that Gannon students have met and formed friendships with over the years. Purchasing Neg Mawon can help Kelly get a new pair of shoes or help Daysun afford to go to school.
Furthermore, did you know that Gannon’s Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration runs a fair-trade sale every year on Gannon’s campus in November? You can browse many unique and ethical items for the perfect holiday gift for your family, all while supporting producers in an ethical and fair way.
If we all join together and change our purchasing habits, it could change the world for the growers and producers trapped in non-fair trade systems. About 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day. If everyone in the world chose to drink fair-trade coffee for just one day, it would provide coffee farmers with $2 million back into their pockets. This simple decision to commit to one fair-trade decision has a staggering effect on the lives of others.
Imagine if we spread our commitment to a second or third day. You don’t have to change your entire life to change the life of others through fair trade. You can truly make an impact by just growing your awareness of fair trade and making educated purchases.
The sheer power that each of us holds in our pockets in the form of money is one of our greatest ways to make a difference in the world. Purchase fair trade and be the change.

[email protected]