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Fair is fair

December 27, 2012
The Mining Journal

To the Journal editor:

Over the last four months and even before that I have researched fair trade products, particularly coffee. I am an avid coffee consumer and realized I was being socially unjust when I had my morning cup of joe. In the U.S., coffee is the second most traded item on the market after oil.

Fair trade should be defined as prices paid to those involved in the trade of products/services in all countries. Fair trade creates value and better product with better pricing. This fair price covers the cost of production and the cost of living for farmers and workers in all countries.

This is a significant problem. Fair trade provides bigger cuts of profits to farmers that is otherwise lost/taken. What fair trade does is cut out all middle men and has roasters/retailers buy straight from farmers or their co-operatives directly cutting through the chain.

Free trade is why there's a need for fair trade. We import what is the cheapest not necessarily the most social just. According to filmmakers Nick and Mark Francis (2007), these provisions are what build communities as coffee is the main industry in them.

This issue has a clear effect on whole communities in many parts of the world. If we create a policy and set the standard in Marquette we have the potential to start a movement. According to Anil Hira and Jared Ferrie, authors of "Three Key Challenges for Reaching the Mainstream" (2006), fair trade is challenging but not impossible. Awareness is the first step and then from there it must be made mainstream. If it became a requirement, mainstreaming all over will follow.

The Marquette Food Co-op in our own community only sells fair trade coffee and products. This is in their bylaws as voted on by their board members. "Our owners and customers benefit from access to local, organic, wholesome, and fairly-traded food and products," According to the Food Coop Mission Administration. (2012). This attempt at making a policy in Marquette that we only sell and support fair trade coffee.

I ask you to consider this the next time you buy coffee, can you make a difference by asking for Fair Trade Certified? If that thought inspires you here are some tips on how to get started: buy Fair Trade Certified coffee, ask for Fair Trade where you shop, be informed involved in the Fair Trade movement.

Elise Horsell




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