Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Local, Organic & Fair Trade Cafes Taking Root

Cup o' joe, cup o' java, cup o' ink, cup o' mud, cup o' perk.

Folks use these terms of endearment to express their love affair with coffee. Some like it hot. Some like it on ice. Some like it steaming in fancy little cups.

I like it strong, and earth-friendly. Yeah, earth-friendly.

It came to my attention some years back as I poked around the grocery store coffee section. Labels like "organic" appeared on packages. Then came "shade-grown," and "fair trade." I realized my selection was worth more than a hill of beans.

I had the clout to support coffee farmers who practiced organic and otherwise nature-friendly methods.

I had the muscle to promote better lifestyles for small farmers, and for coffee pickers who harvested the beans that eventually ended up liquid in our cups here in the U.S.

But figuring out how to do that in a "bottomless" fashion was as cloudy as a cup o' black coffee splashed with cream. I started asking around.

I questioned the coffee buyer at my grocery store, plus a leader of a fair trade organization, and staff at a couple boutique coffee companies.

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