Delicious Peace

Delicious Peace Grows In a Coffee Bean. Photo credit: Thanksgiving Coffee Company

Fair Trade coffee is about to get an extra shot of deliciousness in Washington DC with the screening of the award winning documentary film Delicious Peace at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store (inside Busboys and Poets @ 5th & K).

The Peace Movement and the Fair Trade Movement meet in Uganda with amazing farmer and activist JJ Keki, who fearlessly crossed religious boundaries to build economic prosperity and peaceful community. This inspirational documentary film tells the story of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish coffee farmers in Uganda coming together in the wake of the Idi Amin regime of terror and intolerance.

JJ Keki Founder and Chairman of the Cooperative and his youngest son Aaron look over the Namatala River Valley, and the slopes of Mt. Elgon. Photo Credit: Thanksgiving Coffee Company

In Uganda today, small-scale coffee farmers account for over 90% of the country’s revenues. These farmers face small profits due to inefficiencies within the Ugandan government and exploitative market intermediaries.

With the support of US-based non-profit organization KulanuJJ Keki and a revolutionary group of farmers successfully organized The Peace Kawomera Cooperative; and rightfully named their coffee Mirembe Kawomera, meaning Delicious Peace in the local Luganda language.

They’ve partnered with  Thanksgiving Coffee Company, an artisan coffee roaster in Northern California, to make Delicious Peace Coffee available to you. The coffee is available at our Global Exchange Stores.

The Peace Kawomera Coffee cooperative, which has grown to over 1,000 members, is the first Fair-Trade certified Ugandan coffee to be sold in the United States.

With the United States consuming 1/5th of the worlds’ coffee, our purchasing power has strong impact in Uganda. When consumer choose Fair Trade coffee, we’re helping to ensure that coffee farmers receive just compensation, competitive prices, access to financial stability, equal distribution of benefits among the cooperatives, and the opportunity to be apart of a sustainable business that supports their community.


Mirembe Kawomera Light

Deena Shadrack is a leader in the Abayudaya (Jewish) community, strong advocate for womens’ rights, a coffee farmer, and a mother to many. Photo credit: Thanksgiving Coffee Company

Come view a powerful film that follows these farmers and their amazing work!

What: A Special Film Screening of Award Winning Documentary Delicious Peace

When: April 2, 2013 from 6-8pm

Where: Global Exchange Fair Trade Store (inside of Busboys and Poets); 1025 5th Street NW  Washington, DC 20001

The 40-minute film will be followed by a panel discussion with Jeff Goldman (Executive Director of the Fair Trade Resource Network), myself (manager of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in DC & VA),  and others.  Don’t miss out on a post discussion FREE tasting of Delicious Peace coffee!

 RSVP: Let us know if you’re planning to attend, Rsvp on Facebook. Or just show up!

Sachiko (far right), Gilbert (3rd from left), Courtney (2nd from left) with Global Exchange store staff.

The following was written by Global Exchange Fair Trade Store intern Sachiko Muraoka, who will be finishing her work here with us this week. We will be sad to see her go, but excited to see what great things she does next!

On Saturday, July 23rd, the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in Fair Trade Town San Francisco hosted a Fair Trade Talk with Gilbert Ramirez from CoopeAgri in Costa Rica and Courtney Lang from Fair Trade USA. Gilbert’s town Pérez Zeledón is the very first Fair Trade Town in Latin America.

Before the talk, we all enjoyed tasty Fair Trade Peace Coffee. Yum! Then Courtney started off the event with a brief introduction to Fair Trade.

Next, Gilbert shared his experiences with and visions of his coffee and sugar cooperative, CoopeAgri, which at the beginning had more than 300 farmers. It is located in Pérez Zeledón, a biologically diverse city in the central valley of Costa Rica. By 2010, about 12,000 members have joined the cooperative, 65% male and 35% female members.

The cooperative was established in 1962, before the Fair Trade movement was established. CoopeAgri started a Fair Trade development model in 1994. They are committed to producing sustainably produced coffee and sugar. For example, their coffee mill conserves the use of water and energy and they practice forest protection programs. Most of their coffee is exported overseas, especially since their coffee became Fair Trade Certified in 1994.

Their coffee sales have increased dramatically over time, but they’re hoping to grow much more moving forward. The cooperative exports their coffee to more than 70 countries but their coffee is not being distributed in the United States as much as Gilbert would like. At this point, CoopeAgri exports 70% of its coffee to Europe and 16 % to the United States.

Fair Trade coffee farmer from CoopeAgri

Gilbert told us that they are aiming to export more coffee to the US and that during his trip here one of his main goals was to explore how to make this a reality. According to The Coffee Book by Nina Luttinger and Gregory Dicum, 1.5 millon cups of coffee is being consumed worldwide every day and the U.S. represents one-fifth of it. Given that the U.S. consumes more coffee than any other country, it makes sense that this is a critical goal to coffee cooperatives such as Pérez Zeledón.

Although Fair Trade has been promoted as a means to equalize the economic gap between developed and developing countries, Gilbert mentioned that Fair Trade can offer more personal connections besides its economic and environmental impacts. Fair Trade brings a direct connection between producers from the community, and buyers and customers. This is possible in part because the Fair Trade model cuts out the middlemen usually present in the conventional trade system.

House (before) CoopeAgri Fair Trade premium funded renovation

The Fair Trade model also helps fund community development projects, thanks to Fair Trade premiums producers receive. CoopeAgri provides a variety of benefits to its members, including social security and medical, housing funds which more than 70 families have benefited so far, and education and sports programs for children.

House (after) CoopeAgri Fair Trade premium funded renovation

The cooperative also provides some social services for community members who do not belong to the group.

CoopeAgri will commemorate its 50 years anniversary next year. We all hope they will maintain and increase their positive development. These days it is not difficult to find Fair Trade coffee in the United States, particularly in a city like San Francisco, with its numerous markets and coffee shops providing Fair Trade coffee. But meeting directly with a coffee producer…so not common!

This event gave me a better understanding of and new perspectives about Fair Trade coffee and its positive impacts on one producer community. Long-term relationships between cooperatives, importers, and customers are important.

A big thanks to Courtney and Gilbert for participating in this event. I’m looking forward to tasting CoopeAgri´s coffee in the United States in the near future. ¡Muchas gracias!


To keep up-to-date about Global Exchange store happenings & events, join our free Fair Trade Store e-newsletter here and “like” our Fair Trade Facebook page.

This past July, Reality Tour participant, Larry Heath went on the Reality Tour delegation to Nicaragua to explore Fair Trade and alternatives to neo-liberalism. Read on as he shares his experience with us.

Our tour coincided with the 31st anniversary of the Sandinista revolution and the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship on July 19.

Throughout the ten days leading up to the celebration, I witnessed the mixture of hope for a more prosperous and democratic country and the disillusionment and cynicism over the terrible economy and legislative paralysis that currently exists in Nicaragua. Unemployment is rampant.  Selling trinkets on the street and washing windshields on cars stopped at intersections are examples of the kinds of activity people engage in to have some kind of income.

The National Assembly is so polarized that no majority exists to make basic decisions, such as appoint Supreme Court judges or members of the Supreme Electoral Commission.  Also, incumbent Daniel Ortega blatantly is violating the Nicaraguan constitution by running for a second presidential term. During the tour I could easily see that governance and respect for the law are huge issues that appear almost insurmountable. Elitism, impunity and a lack of transparency in governmental economic activity undermine the fabric of Nicaraguan society.

I was impressed with civil society organizations that have emerged outside the sphere of partisan party politics to deal with these many problems. Our group met with unionists, worker groups, fair trade advocates, university students working on environmental issues and a women’s network, as well as experienced a home-stay with a number of families who work on their 3 or 4 acre coffee farms and belong to a cooperative which allows them to get technical/economic assistance, as well as a fair price for their coffee.

During the home stay and throughout the entire trip I was continually impressed with the resiliency and resourcefulness of Nicaraguan citizens and equally impressed by their extraordinary historical, i.e. colonialism, US imperialism, and environmental, i.e. recurrent devastating earthquakes and hurricanes, dilemmas. I left the country after the tour feeling very connected to its people and had a renewed commitment to continue to advocate for fair trade and for a more just foreign policy to Central America.

In partnership with Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Global Exchange is proud to announce a new line of Global Exchange Fair Trade and Organic coffees.

The coffee beans are purchased from purchased from small-scale farmers and cooperatives, and roasted by Thanksgiving Coffee Company, whose motto is Not Just a Cup, but a Just Cup’.

The coffee beans in the Global Exchange coffees originate from Ethiopia, Sumatra, Uganda, and Nicaragua. The six new roasts carry such names as Justice Blend Espresso, Solidarity Vienna Roast, and Respect Decaf and are all shade grown, organic and Fair Trade Certified.

The importance of Fair Trade cooperatives is significant because it allows small-scale farmers to work together to sell directly in the international market. By cutting out the middleman, these farmers and their cooperatives are able to build long term relationships with buyers and negotiate better prices for better quality, as well as create local democratically governed community institutions.

Working together through their cooperatives, coffee farmers around the world are transcending a history of exploitation by some of the world’s largest multinational corporations, earning a fair price for their exceptional coffee and creating dynamic opportunities for community led development.

Global Exchange is happy to work with Northern California artisan coffee roaster, Thanksgiving Coffee Company. They are a family run company that has been roasting coffee for over 25 years now. They source their coffee directly from family farms and cooperatives, which they keep long-term trading relationships with. They work closely with the partner cooperatives to invest in the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of their communities while sourcing some of the most distinctive and finely crafted coffee in the world. Visit their blog to get a better taste of their Fair Trade work.

Don’t forget to visit the Online Store to get yourself a bag of Global Exchange Fair Trade Coffee.

This December, spend your vacation harvesting social justice in Nicaragua. Take a Reality Tour trip with Global Exchange! Participate in a transformative travel experience with Global Exchange and work with a Fair Trade coffee cooperative to experience the other side of the struggle for social and economic justice.

Global Exchange is sponsoring several highly motivated individuals to travel to Nicaragua this harvest season and work with a Fair Trade coffee cooperative (CECOCAFEN). Fair Harvesters will live with a cooperative member family and work alongside farmers to harvest coffee, learning by participating in the daily lives of small-scale farming families and beginning to understand the meaning of Fair Trade producers. This is a unique opportunity, and Fair Harvest is not intended to be a tour or tourist visit, but rather to be a lived experience that will motivate the participants to be committed activists when they return.