Action: Be an advocate for trade justice!
Background: The MCC U.S. Coffee Project links Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches with small farmers growing fair trade coffee.
Coffee is a big business—it is one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world. But for the majority of small coffee farmers, the benefits are small. The chain of events that leads from the coffee farmer to your cup is long and expensive, often leaving the farmer with very little to live on.
Most small coffee farmers live in isolated communities in some of the poorest countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They usually sell their coffee through intermediaries, known to Central American farmers as "coyotes." With prices in constant flux and coyotes offering the lowest price possible, farmers never know how much they will get for their crops.
Coffee farmers—some 25 million people often struggle just to make a simple living. In recent years farmers typically earn less than 50 cents per pound, not even enough to cover their production costs.
MCC began the Coffee Project in 2003 in partnership with Equal Exchange, as a way to assist small farmers around the world after coffee prices hit all-time lows.
Action: Drink fairly-traded coffee. Urge local supermarkets, cafés, and corporations to get involved in Fair Trade. Call on Congress to support trade justice.