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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
CANADA V9E 2B9
Tel (250) 881-1304
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 

Newsletter No. 112 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - January 2002


COFFEE, JUSTICE AND LOVE

Coffee - it’s such a small but innocent pleasure. But could it also hold the key to global change?

Believe it or not, after oil, coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity. In 50 countries, 20 million farming families (60 to 80 million people) depend on coffee for their income. Every day, they tend the bushes, pick the berries, then depulp, dry and pack them, so that you can enjoy your daily hit of java.

It takes 100 beans to make a cup, and a tree yields 4,000 beans a year, so if you drink two cups of coffee a day you will need 18 coffee trees devoted solely to you – and it’s five years before a tree is fully productive.

Behind the glitz of the trendy coffee houses, however, a terrible tragedy is unfolding. Since 1998, the world price of coffee has fallen by 50% to the lowest for 30 years, because of surplus production, and the collapse of the coffee marketing agreement that was in place until 1989. Growers who were getting $1.20 a pound in 1998 are now getting less than 50 cents (prices in US$); some earn as little as 10 cents.

While the coffee-growers are struggling with terrible poverty, often earning less than $3 a day, Nestlé’s profits rose to $1 billion in 2001 ($2.7 million a day), which they attribute to "favourable commodity prices". Starbucks posted a 41% rise in profits in the first quarter of 2001, and Starbucks chairman, Howard Schultz, who earned $2.1 million in 2000, bought himself a $200 million stake in the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team.

The world’s coffee business is dominated by four large corporations – Proctor and Gamble (Fulgors), Philip Morris, Sara Lee and Nestlé, who control 60% of US coffee sales and 40% of the world market. 90% of the world’s coffee – the canned stuff that fills the supermarket shelves - is ‘technified’: it is grown under the full sun, requiring the destruction of the forest cover, and because the sun-baked soil quickly loses its fertility, it requires the constant use of pesticides and fertilizers.

It gets worse: researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a genetically engineered coffee tree, and started a business (Integrated Coffee Technologies Inc - www.integratedcoffee.com) to develop it. They have made the berries stop ripening just short of maturity. Once the whole field is ripe, the berries can be artificially ripened at the same time by a chemical spray, allowing them to be harvested mechanically – requiring less labour.

The remaining 10% is grown for specialty consumers who care about the taste, and it is here that change is happening. Socially and environmentally conscious coffee drinkers who want their coffee grown without chemicals, and who want their growers to receive a decent price, can now buy Fair Trade certified coffee. (TransFair canada: www.transfair.ca TransFair USA: www.transfairusa.org)

This guarantees that the coffee is grown by small family farms and co-operatives in a way that is shade-grown and organic, and that the co-op receives a minimum $1.26 a pound ($1.41 for certified organic), plus access to financial and technical support to help them to avoid the middle-men and loan-sharks (known as ‘coyotes’) who prey on them. The Fair Trade logo gives you the assurance that a farm has been certified as fair trade. On Vancouver Island, the Salt Spring Roasting Company (http:// www.saltspringroasting.com) imports certified Fair Trade coffee, and there are two importers (selling San Miguel and Ometepe coffee) who have trustworthy but not certified fair trade relationships with their growers. (www.levelground.com)

The Fair Trade coffee movement started in Holland in 1988, and there are 17 Fair Trade labeling initiatives around the world. In Switzerland, 5% of all retail coffee sold is certified Fair Trade. As John Cavanagh says, at the Institute for Policy Studies, "Fair trade brings the benefits of trade into the hands of communities that need it most. It sets new social and environmental standards for international companies, and demonstrates that trade can indeed be a vehicle for sustainable development." Fair trade coffee allows trade to be a vehicle for justice and love, instead of suffering and exploitation.

This, therefore, is a direct plea. If you are a coffee drinker, and you care about the conditions in which your coffee is grown, please start drinking fair trade coffee. The local sources are listed in the Directory, inside. If you are involved with a church, school, business, college, city hall or other organization, please ask that they change to fair trade coffee. Ask your local coffee shop and grocery store to start selling it. Starbucks have agreed to sell Fair Trade beans in the USA, and brew it once a month. It’s a start, but they are not doing it in Canada. Please ask them to.

There is far more to be done, but this is a beginning. I am not a coffee drinker, but I hear that fair trade coffee tastes delicious, so there’s no sacrifice on taste. There is a huge sacrifice being made by the growers and their families, however – which we have the power to change.

Guy Dauncey


Please note:  the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.


ECONEWS

AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver Island and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community & the joys of deep fulfillment.

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Many thanks to Christine Johnson, Katey Bloomfield, Gail Schacter, Pru Moore, Maurice Tozer, Richard de Candole, Debra Barr, Gillian Smith, Tim O’Brien, Anke Bergner, Wilson Hunsberger, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Judith Monroe, Claude Maurice, Andrée Scott, Jocelyn Braithwaite, Eric Hartley, Anne Johnston & Doug McGregor. Also, many thanks to Ian Barclay for doing all the address changes & labels, and Joanna Wilkinson for prepping all the envelopes.

Donations can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V9E 2B9. For a receipt, send a stamped addressed envelope.

To receive EcoNews by email, fill out the form at the top.


THE ECO-CORNER

$5/line (non-profits & low-income free) 1" box ad $35, $2" box ad $65

* Still looking for 1 bedroom suite (pref. with yard) by mature responsible female (UVic employee) and 2 therapy dogs. Excellent references for both human and dogs. Call Lynn, 383-7532. Long term. Will do yard work if needed.

* Paper: For the New Year – join the Office Paper Buying Club from Reach for Unbleached. Chlorine-free recycled paper, 27% below retail. Order deadline January 31st, delivery 2nd week Feb. $56 per case (5000 sheets) + GST, PST, delivery. Payment in advance. Delores Broten dbroten@rfu.org www.rfu.org 250-935-6992

* Dallas Road Fresh Air, Car-Free Day - Sunday April 14th. We need a volunteer coordinator to round up 60 marshals to man the barricades to "herd" the cars. Jane Victoria King janeking@coastnet.com 380-2014

* Island Blue reports - Thanks to all for your assistance in our campaign to restore Free Ads to the Times Colonist Classifieds. Countless loads of useable goods will now find a new life outside the landfills, parks, & waterways of our Island, and countless creatures will live on, their habitat no longer threatened by mounting piles of trash.

* Executive Director required by Veins of Life Watershed Society, a high profile local conservation organization with big plans for the future. Details - Ted Hayes (656-4158) or David Grace 380-9494. Applications to Box 36057-1153 Esquimalt Rd, Victoria V9A 7J5 or volws@shaw.ca or fax (250) 383-2084. Closing January 24, 2002.


BANKS STOP FINANCING RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION

Do you despair about the loss of the world’s rainforests? Well, every time a forest is cleared by a big company (as opposed to a local farmer), there is usually a bank involved, just as Manulife Financial backed Texada’s clearcutting on Salt Spring. Well, as the result of a four-year campaign by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Sawit Watch Indonesia, three of Holland’s top banks have announced that they will no longer finance projects that involve forest destruction, such as palm oil plantations. One of the banks, ABN AMRO, includes logging, pulp and paper, mining and oil and gas developments in its exclusion. It’s great progress, one step at a time.


Talking With Children About War…. and the creation of peace

a book of support for adults who wonder what to say when children ask them questions about war.

Lynne Shields 50 pages $9.00 Available at Atman’s, Crown Publications, Ivy’s, & Triple Spiral


MORE VOLUNTEERS!

If you work with a non-profit society, how often have you heard the complaint that the board members are overworked, and (sigh) "If only we had more volunteers!". But most NGOs are very poor at organizing their volunteers. How many have a database of their members skills and interests? Well, fear not - help is at hand. The Gaia Project has done us an enormous service by publishing Managing Environmental Volunteer Programs. The result of a collaboration with 4 local environmental NGOs, the booklet contains strategies for creating an effective volunteer enrolment program, including recruiting, interviewing, creating a volunteer-friendly organization, training, record keeping, conflict resolution, & evaluation. It also includes templates for interview questions, application forms, training programs, evaluation, and record keeping. The booklet is packed full of useful tips, and should be essential reading for all board members of all NGOs. Don’t complain – delegate! To obtain a copy, call The Gaia Project 384-1534 gaia@sierraclubbc.org


OIL, GAS or CLEAN ENERGY?

2001 was the 2nd warmest year on record after 1998, but the BC Liberals seem unable to comprehend the dangers that the world faces from global climate change. Soon after they came into office, they scrapped the province’s climate change business plan. Now they appear set to expand coal-mining, expand the use of natural gas, and scrap the offshore moratorium on drilling for oil and gas. There are two opportunities coming up to register your feelings: a major rally in Victoria on January 12th, and a chance to speak to the NEB Hearings process about the proposed Georgia Strait Crossing (GSX) natural gas pipeline (see Diary). The GSX is to ship gas from northern BC so that it can be burned in two new yet-to-be-located cogeneration gas-fired plants, somehow making Vancouver Island "more self-reliant" in energy. (Huh?). For the low-down on the GSX, and climate change solutions, see the great GSX site at www.sqwalk.com and the book Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change by Guy Dauncey (www.earthfuture.com)


Martin Golder Mediation

Now offering introductory rates for Dynamic Facilitation to the non-profit
sector for vision building and getting through contentious issues.

250-592-7700
golder@islandnet.com


SUSTAINABLE COFFEE

If you visit local stores and cafés, you’ll find a variety of coffees calling themselves ‘organic’, ‘shade grown’, ‘natural’, ‘fair trade’ or ‘fairly traded’. This can be bewildering, so let’s see if we can help.

‘Organic’ means the coffee has been grown using organic methods, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers; the use of the word may or may not mean that the coffee is certified organic. Salt Spring Roasting Company offers 10 varieties of certified organic coffee, and 3 varieties of ‘natural’ coffee, grown in Ethiopia using natural methods which have not yet been certified as organic. San Miguel fair trade coffee, imported by Level Ground from two co-operatives in the highlands of Colombia, is not certified organic, because it is too dangerous for certifiers to travel in Colombia, but the growers do not generally use chemicals.

‘Shade grown’ means that the coffee has been grown under the forest cover, providing habitat for songbirds and other forest creatures. Some shade-grown coffee is certified as ‘bird-friendly’, but most is not. San Miguel is grown in 1/3rd full jungle canopy, 1/3rd small clearings in the forest, and 1/3rd in the sun.

‘Fair Trade’ means the coffee has been certified by TransFair Canada or TransFair USA as meeting these standards: (a) the growers get $1.26 a pound, or 5 cents/lb higher than the market price, whichever is greater; (b) they are primarily small businesses, family farms and worked-owned cooperatives which bring significant benefits to their workers and communities; (c) they are provided with financial and technical support to help them avoid the loan sharks and ‘coyote’ middlemen; (d) they use organic, shade grown methods, even if not certified organic; and (e) the finances, practices and policies of the shippers, as members of the Fair Trade Federation, are open to the public.

San Miguel coffee is not certified ‘Fair Trade’, but it meets the fair trade standards, in that Level Ground pays the $1.26 price, and the growers cooperatives in the village of San Miguel have voted that the premium (the extra above the world market price) is spent on tuition fees for children in the growers’ community. The same applies to coffee imported from Ometepe in Nicaragua by the Ometepe Gulf Islands Friendship Association, (sold under the World Community Coffee, Ometepe and Songbird labels), which is organic, shade-grown, and fair-traded, but not certified Fair Trade. In general, if a coffee does not carry the Fair Trade logo, it is probably not fair traded.

Overall, it is fair to say that while all certified Fair Trade coffee is also organic and shade-grown, most organic coffee is not fair traded. The most sustainable coffee is fair trade, organic and shade-grown - which you’ll get with the six certified fair trade coffees from Salt Spring Roasting, and the Ometepe coffee. I hope this is not too confusing. The Directory does not list which brands are in which stores or cafés; that’s just too complex a task. If you read the labels, and ask the café where you like your morning java, you’ll soon find out.


A VANCOUVER ISLAND SUSTAINABLE COFFEE DIRECTORY

This is not a complete directory; our apologies to anyone we missed. Please send new listings by email to guydauncey@earthfuture.com

Level Ground: www.levelground.com

Call Stacey Toews (250) 544-0932

Ometepe:www.bosia.org/cafe/cafe.html

Call Brian Fennemore, 250-653-4630

or Wayne Bradley, 250-337-5412

Salt Spring Roasting Co :

www.saltspringroasting.com

Call 1-800-332-8856

World Community Coffee:

www.web.net/~worldcom/coffee.htm TransFair Canada: www.transfair.ca

Oxfam’s Fair Trade Coffee campaign:

www.oxfamamerica.org/fairtrade

Victoria Cafés:

Banana Belt Café, 281 Menzies
Bean Around The World, 533 Fisgard
Café Ritmo Latino, 556 Pandora
Caffé Fantastico, 965 Kings
Caffé Teatro, 990 Blanshard
Cairo Coffee, Fort St
Cyber City Café, 1501 Haultain
Demitasse, 1320 Blanshard
Foster's Coffee House Eatery, 753 Yates
Fresh Cup Roaster Café, Saanichton
Green Cuisine, Market Square
Parsonage Café, 1115 North Park
Robins Coffee Café, Sidney
Solstice Café, Market Square off Pandora
The Fixx, James Bay Village

Victoria Stores:

Banana Belt, Cadboro Bay Rd
Bill's Food & Feed, 5611 East Sooke Rd
Capers, 3995 Quadra
Colwood House of Nutrition, 310 Goldstream Ave
Continental Bakery & Patisserie, 2032 Oak Bay Ave
Country Grocer, Royal Oak
English Sweet Shop, 738 Yates
Food Country, 230 Cook
Food Forum, 5124 Cordova Bay
Global Village, 535 Pandora
Helmcken Market, 38 Helmcken
Jubilee Pharmasave, 1775 Fort
Lifestyles, 2950 Douglas
Market on Yates, 903 Yates
P and P Market, 2510 Estevan
Peninsula Coop, 2132 Keating X Rd
Peninsula Roasting Co, Sidney
Pepper's Foods, 3829 Cadboro Bay
Rainforest Store , 651 Johnson
Rising Star Bakery, 313 Cook
Seed of Life, 1316 Government
Ten Thousand Villages, Broadmead
Ten Thousand Villages, 2030 Oak Bay
Thrifty Foods, Admirals Walk
Thrifty Foods, Broadmead
Thrifty Foods, Cloverdale
Thrifty Foods, Fairfield
Thrifty Foods, Hillside
True Value Foods, Brentwood Bay
Village Foods Market, 6661 Sooke Road
Wellburn's Market, 1058 Pandora
Western Foods Mkt, 16-6660 Sooke Rd
Wildfire Bakery, 1517 Quadra

Salt Spring: 109 McPhillips, Ganges, 107 Morning Side, Fulford Harbour

Cowichan Valley: Country Grocer, Cobble Hill & Duncan

Nanaimo: Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store, Quality Foods, Thrifty’s Longwood & Downtown

Tofino: Salals

Denman: D.I. Bakery Restaurant

Qualicum: Heaven On Earth

Courtenay: Edible Island, Thrifty’s, Rocky Mountain Café, Plates Eatery, Bar None Café, Circles

Comox: Quality Foods, Super Valu, Java Junction on the Harbour

Campbell River: Nor-Isle Co-op, Pumpernickels

Cortes: Squirrel Cove Store


ACTION OF THE MONTH: SUSTAINABLE COFFEE

Step 1: Ask your local café, restaurant, store, college, school, city hall, church, business, or brown box organic delivery service (etc) if they serve fair trade coffee.

Step 2: If NO, ask "Would you be interested to learn about it?" Show them this copy of EcoNews.

Step 3: If YES, Check out the locally available sustainable coffee sources, and decide which one you’d like to promote.

Step 4: Contact the supplier, and ask if they would like you to approach the store or café on their behalf.

Step 5: Prepare to win one more supplier for a more just, more compassionate, more sustainable world.


The Green Diary has moved!  Click HERE to see whats happening!

 


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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
(New Society Publishers)
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