I am often asked this question; What is Fair Trade Coffee?
Good Question, Fair Trade is supposed to mean that the farmer gets paid a "fair" price for his coffee. And, the Fair Trade Bureaucracy is supposed to eliminate the perception of the "evil" middleman. However, my response remains "What is fair, and who decides?" Second, the Fair Trade people are also middle people, so why are they not capable of evil and yet the concept of a middle man is? Also, when you are dealing with 3rd world countries there simply is no guarantee that money "filtered" through a bureaucracy ever gets to the farmer and his family.
We prefer to deal where possible on what is known as a "direct trade" basis which means that we go directly to the farmer and negotiate a deal agreeing to pay the price he demands for his product that we are willing to pay. However, since we do not have the capabilities nor the desire to actually go to the third world countries and negotiate contracts with farms in each coffee country throughout the world that provides us with coffee, we still have the need to find a "middle man' to do it for us. So, what we try to do is work with people we know & trust in the industry. We also try to incorporate medical and education missionaries into the process wherever possible, so that we are improving the quality of life for the people we purchase from as they provide us with good quality coffee.
The bottom line for us at Hallowed Grounds is that we search the world for good quality coffees. We seek out opportunities to get good coffee from good people and to be good people ourselves in the way that we conduct our business.
Fair is a buzz word today and for some people, it simply makes them feel better if the item they are purchasing is labeled "fair trade"! We carry a number of fair and direct trade coffees as well as certified organic coffees and rainforest alliance or bird friendly & shade grown coffees. All of these are politically correct terms for things we try to do in our business anyway! In other words, being kind to the earth and giving back to the people that we work with in the industry around the globe and here in our hometown! Those are the things that make me feel good about our business and I hope they make you feel good about doing business with us as well!