Thursday, October 21, 2010

Solidarity in a Cup –CRS Fair Trade

Social Justice in Action –Voices from the Pews
Solidarity in a Cup –CRS Fair Trade
By Ellen Buelow
(Reprinted from the Social Justice Newsletter at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish)

When I enjoy Fair Trade coffee at our parish breakfast, I enjoy a myriad of gifts. The buzz of conversations parallels the celebration of coffee farmers at their annual harvest. CRS –Catholic Relief Services- sponsors coffee cooperatives producing our parish Fair Trade coffee. 

I appreciate that my contribution goes directly back to these farmers with several benefits. The fair trade price is essential because they live thousands of miles away from major cities and can’t compete in the global market. 

Another bonus is the organic label. Farmers avoid contact with chemicals and reduce their exposure to toxins. Coffee companies buying CRS Fair Trade coffee contribute a percentage for development goals. For example, farmers learn how to be coffee tasters to assure quality coffee. Farmers also learn how to diversify crops and reduce hunger. Since coffee is picked once a year, the money earned has to stretch through the lean season. 

Though my purchase of Fair Trade products, I am confident that fair labor practices are assured. CRS through Fair Trade is fulfilling the UN millennium goal that advocates for U.S. policies in the areas of trade, aid, and debt to foster economic and social development for people living in poverty throughout the world.

A bonus gift is selling Fair Trade products. I am a voice for those who can’t advocate for themselves. If you are looking for a fun filled, engaging ministry, this may be your calling. Once a month our social justice committee sells CRS Equal Exchange Fair Trade coffee, tea, and Fair Trade Divine Chocolate. 

Consider joining us by volunteering after Sunday morning Mass. Prepare by educating yourself on the Fair Trade process. You may be interested in viewing the DVD “Solidarity in a Cup” available through the Catholic Center.

*The author, a Bread for the World member, is also part of the Social Justice Committee at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Albuquerque

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