Good coffee for a good cause
The Presbyterian Coffee Project offers a special link between congregations and communities around the world. Churches can now reach out to neighbors overseas not only with the prayers and offerings we give, but with the goods and products we purchase. A warm cup of coffee (or tea) in our hands is perhaps the most tangible daily connection we have with farmers around the world. It represents warmth, hospitality, fellowship, hard work and life’s pleasures both fine and simple. Buying fair trade through the Presbyterian Coffee Project ensures that more of the money we spend on coffee reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow it.
Participating congregations testify that the Presbyterian Coffee Project is a great way to help people in need while enjoying fellowship and an excellent cup of coffee. Fair trade practices complement our mission with farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as our commitment to stewardship of the natural environment. By using fair trade coffee in our congregations, offices and homes, Presbyterians help guarantee that farmers will earn the income they need to feed their families, educate their children and improve their communities. Fair trade is a simple solution that means the difference — quite literally — between surviving and not surviving for small-scale coffee farmers.
Congregations get started simply by ordering fairly traded coffee. In your congregation, a women’s group, youth group, mission committee or peace and justice committee might sponsor this project. As your congregation enjoys this high-quality coffee (as well as tea, cocoa, sugar and chocolate), take time to learn about its impact on the people who grow it. Read about coffee farmers, discuss issues of justice in the global marketplace and take action in the spirit of love. Long-term congregational commitment has sustained Presbyterian and ecumenical ministries of relief and development for more than 50 years. With such commitment, we can also make a difference in this new way.
Hi Sherry, thanks for your question. Fair trade coffee is a better choice than some you may buy in the store for lots of reasons. Fair trade far surpasses the temporary assistance provided to farmers through charity. Instead, the ongoing business of long-term, fair trade relationships consistently contributes to the living conditions of farmers, their families and their communities. Cooperatives use profits from fair trade coffee sales to establish community development or improvement programs such as schools, health clinics and training in areas such as leadership development. Fair trade farmers tend to use environmentally friendly growing practices — such as organic farming, composting and shade growing (interspersing coffee trees among other plants) — all of which benefit the farmers, the land and the quality of the coffee.
Is this coffee shade grown? How is it more environmentally friendly than coffee we may buy in the grocery store?