Saturday, December 08, 2007

#9 -- 963 the "Top Ten Gifts That Give"

#9 -- 963 Coffee Project

You Java. Black Gold (or, is that oil?). In America, we consume 2.3 billion pounds of the stuff a year! That's the equivalent of 4 football stadiums, 620 African elephants, 12,500 gallons of 2% milk and 62 average-sized female baboons. (It's important to note that this measurement is not at all precise.)

However, for the 108 million coffee-drinkers in the U.S., fair trade options still aren't top of mind. When the big dogs like Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Dunkin Donuts, etc are still offering "slave trade coffees," it's a problem.

963 Coffee Project offers a half dozen blends of fair trade coffee (and hot cocoa) on their website. You can even purchase whole bean or ground. They also offer fundraising kits, mugs and apparel. 963’s purpose is twofold: to provide a fair wage for coffee farmers in poverty-stricken communities and to allow groups and individuals to use the coffee to raise funds for mission projects (like Blood:Water Mission) and relief initiatives.

Why Care?
Behind oil, coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world. However, the trade system does not work in favor of developing countries; unlike the oil industry, coffee producers live in extreme poverty, bringing in an average of only $500 per year. For every American coffee drinker, there is one worker elsewhere in the world who depends on coffee for their day-to-day survival.

Because the rules that govern trade favor rich countries, the potential to reduce poverty and support economic growth for poorer countries is being lost. As a result, most of these developing countries are dependent on outside aid for their survival. If Africa alone could increase its share of world exports by just 1%, it would generate $70 billion – about 5 times what it already receives in aid.

Families do not have enough money to send their children to school, nor can they afford basic medical care and have access to clean water. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to escape on their own.

A bag of beans is only setting you back $10 Washington's. A fair price for fair trade. So, get to gifting it!

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