On the recommendation of Just Coffee’s Matt Earley, I’m picking up a copy of Brewing Justice, by Dan Jaffee.
Who is Matt, you say, that he should know from Fair Trade? (Apparently today you are a mensch… I don’t know why.) Matt and his crew at Just Coffee make up one of those small, really admirable coffee roasters that’s trying to raise the bar in terms of of transparency. For them, Fair Trade is a movement, not just a market. (Says so, right in their logo.)
I like the work that Matt’s doing, despite his tendency to talk crap about roasters — like Green Mountain — who offer a number of Fair Trade coffees (currently about 30% of coffee sales) but don’t offer Fair Trade coffees exclusively. This isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s becoming something of a tradition among “self-certified” Fair Trade roasters… those who’ve who’ve cast aside third-party certification for their own flavor of a Fair Trade label. What tends to get lost in kerfuffles like this is that — despite the noise — the essential principles of companies like Just Coffee and Green Mountain are the same: a fair price for farmers, long-term relationships with growers, and support for sustainable and ecologically sound practices all around.
“Fair traders have been way too reluctant to take a critical look at what we are trying to build and this book accomplishes that objective and does it well. Dan makes the point that FT needs to re-connect with other organizations and movements for social and economic justice instead of selling out to the corporations that they oppose. We could not agree more.”
– Matt Earley, Just Coffee
I’m looking forward to some interesting reading.