Tadesse Meskela, the founder and director of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Union (OCFCU) in Ethiopia, spoke at Horizon Books in Traverse City about the impact of fair trade on the Ethiopian Countryside on Friday, March 31.
Fair trade removes the exploitation historically experienced by coffee producers by introducing systems that empower and benefit the grower. It connects farmers directly to consumers and provides them with a living wage. This, in turn, helps communities thrive. For example, OCFCU returns 70% of its gross profit back to its members--a drastic increase from traditional systems. Fair trade also often means that farmers use sustainable growning practices. Farmers gain autonomy, and consumers can take pride in knowing that they are supporting a just system. To learn more, visit www.javaforjustice.com.
Higher Grounds Coffee, who hosted Tadesse Meskela in Traverse City, are a 100% fair trade company. On top of that, the owners, Chris and Jody Treter, are just swell folks who have been big ISLAND supporters.