Delicious Peace is a movie about Jewish, Christian and Muslim coffee farmers who decided “social justice, environmental justice, and economic justice is not enough…what’s needed is peace.” It serves as a model of not just successful organic and kosher fair trade coffee distributors helping the economically disadvantaged, but also interfaith cooperation.
I have not seen the movie, as I’m going to see it at Jo’s on Saturday, but as someone new to the fair trade world, I’m intrigued by the premise of the movie and fair trade coffee.
So what makes coffee “fair trade?” Fair Trade USA takes some of the guesswork out by serving as an intermediary that reviews and certifies products like coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and more to make sure they meet fair trade standards that are established FTUSA. Basically, those standards are the same ones that make jewelry and novelty items fair trade: 1) farmers are compensated for their labor and products so they can maintain a reasonable standard of living; 2) they have safe working environments; and 3) they sell their products directly. This allows for transparency and empowers the communities to set their own prices and build up business skills.
Another cornerstone in fair trade is that the focus is on building up the community through projects designed to bolster education, health care, and basic social needs. Since FTUSA deals with mainly agricultural products, there is the added standard of “environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations,” although environmentally friendly practices are common in other areas of the fair trade world beyond food.
The movie description makes sure to mention the coffee is kosher, so on a related note (and in the interfaith spirit of the movie), what makes coffee kosher? I mean, isn’t all coffee basically kosher? Generally, yes. This website from an organization that investigates and certifies kosher products is an excellent resource for not only explaining kosher as it applies to coffee, but also explaining how coffee is grown and processed.
Kosher concerns only really come into play with flavored coffee and the process of decaffeinating the coffee beans, as the chemical compound ethanol used to decaffeinate the beans is originally from a grain and therefore not kosher. Those are the main issues inherent to the coffee, but there is also the issue of the establishment selling the coffee.
“This problem stems from the halacha of marris ayin, the appearance of wrongdoing,” Star-K says. “This din states that a Jew is prohibited from doing things that others might interpret as violations of halacha.”
This is where things get tricky and it becomes a judgment call, but Star-K’s rabbis apply the standard that if the business is primarily concerned with non-kosher items, then it’s not kosher to get coffee there. If the business deals in just coffee or a mixture of kosher and non-kosher items, then it’s kosher to get coffee there.
Be sure to stop by Ten Thousand Villages on World Fair Trade Day to try some Fair Trade Certified coffee. It’s a dark, full-bodied French roast. Try it with a little bit of cream to bring out the smokiness in the flavor.
Photo Entry from 2013 Fair Trade Challenge:
Becca Ruiz poses with the fair trade coffee section at Ten Thousand Villages
In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was celebrated in America in accordance with a Socialist Party declaration on February 28th. A year later, the second International Conference of Working Women met in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference had over 100 women from 17 different countries, representing working women’s clubs, unions, and socialists. They all voted in favor of an idea presented by German advocate Clara Zetkin for an International Women’s Day for women all over the world to fight for the rights to equality, voting and holding office.
Clara Zetkin, the mother of International Women’s Day
The first day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switerland on March 19 in 1911; in 1913 it was decided that the date should be moved to March 8th, and has been celebrated on this day since 1914. March 8th is now a recognized holiday in 27 countries, including Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Russia, Uganda, and Vietnam.
Much progress has been made over the past century; however, the fact remains that women are still paid 30-40% less than men for comparable work. Seventy percent of fair trade artisans are women; the income generated by these women is often the sole income for the woman’s family, and with the fair wage provided by fair trade jobs, women are investing in the education, health, and future of their children, thus ensuring a more promising future.
Ngong Hills, Kenya
Namayiana means “we are blessed” in Maa
Namayiana was started in 1986 by a group of women of the Maasai ethnic group of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. The women of Namayiana make beaded jewelry, a tradition that goes back to when “the first Maasai was born.” The Maasai culture places a strong emphasis on body painting, ornamentation and modification to help identify and differentiate individuals. The colors of the beads of the jewelry have special significance: white is peace, blue is water, red is warrior.
Maasai society is strongly patriarchal, with decision-making in the hands of elder men. The women of Namayiana came together to try to create a way for their children to go to school. Agnes, a Namayiana artisan who recently learned to drive a car, explains:
Batsiranai translates to “helping each other” in Shona, the local language. Their motto is “Batsiranai has made us fat and fatter!”
Batsiranai Craft Project was formed in 1998 as a support group of 14 for mothers of disabled children. In Zimbabwe, the disabled and their families are often shunned from society and extended family, forcing many into extreme poverty. When the 14 women realized their shared talent for embroidery, they decided to create a handicraft business that would provide income to support their families. Since 1998, the success of the business has allowed Batsiranai to expand to 100 members, and purchase two houses used as a daycare center, physical therapy center, office and work space, and housing for three families. They are managed by a committee of seven who are democratically elected. They are members of the World Fair Trade Organization and the Zimbabwe Parents of Disabled Children Association. Ten Thousand Villages sells “Sharing Dolls” from Batsiranai: Each time a doll is purchased, its twin is given to a child affected by HIV/AIDS.
Corr-The Jute Works: Christian Organization for Relief and Rehabilitation
In 1971, Bangladesh suffered a brutal genocide, leaving many of the surviving women destitute and alone. CORR- The Jute Works was founded in 1973 to provide job opportunities to uplift and empower the mothers, daughters, and sisters of this ravaged nation. CORR has hired more than 4,000 women regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or caste level. Many women work from their own homes and self manage by democratically electing a president and a secretary to distribute work amongst their group. If a woman is having a particularly hard time financially, this is considered in the distribution of work. CORR has also established a number of community welfare projects like installing sanitation in artisans’ homes, building wells to provide pure water, offering financial help with medical emergencies, and starting health programs for pregnant women.
Artisan Haricha Begum, who has worked with CORR since 1980, says:
“My dream came true. My sorrows have all gone and my hope has been fulfilled.”
San Patong, Thailand
Grassroots HQ Co. ltd
Grassroots HQ Co. ltd is an alternative trade organization that markets for Thai cooperatives, like White Lotus, whichworks to empower and employ women in San Patong, Thailand. San Patong is a very poor area where women are often lured or sold into prostitution. This area also has a very high rate of HIV infection. Grassroots provides AIDS education, awareness and training for care of those affected by AIDS. White Lotus hand-makes beautiful batiked paper from mulberry leaves, which are renewable resources.
Galilee Region, Israel
Sindyanna of galilee
Sindyanna of Galilee is a women-led nonprofit established in 1996 to empower Arab women in northern Israel, as well as olive farmers and other artisans in Palestinian Occupied Territories. Sindyanna strengthens the economy of the Arab-Palestinian population and emphasizes cooperation between Arabs and Jews. It provides maternity and retirement benefits, educational projects, and organizes a summer camp for artisans’ children. The name of the organization is a reference to the Palestine Oak, symbolic for its endurance, stability and of the Arab population who remained in Israel. On March 8th, the Arab and Jewish women of Sindyanna will meet in Tel Aviv with other organizations to march for equality and celebrate International Women’s Day together.
Creaciones Chonita is a small business located on the coast of Lake Atitlan and was founded in 1981 by Concepción Sojuel Mendoza, an indigenous Mayan woman who lost her husband in the violence of the Civil War and needed a way to support herself and her children. Since 1981, Creaciones has grown to support 45 widows and young women full-time and 35 part-time. The women make a fair wage for their work, and a percentage of the proceeds are put aside for social projects, such as a scholarship fund for needy children, and a program that provides monthly food packages to elderly widows. Additionally. Creaciones has taken part in building a school for 225 children and is working on a senior citizens center.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Unidas Para Vivir Mejor: United for a Better Life
UPAVIM was started in 1988 to provide health and education services for women on the outskirts of Guatemala City living in a squatter community called “La Esperanza.” The women of UPAVIM are mothers, homemakers, widows and in many cases the sole breadwinners of their families. The women must first volunteer 32 hours, and continue to volunteer two hours a week at the UPAVIM community care center. In addition to crafts, UPAVIM has started other small businesses such as a bakery, pharmacy and an internet center. Through UPAVIM, donors also fund scholarships for 430 elementary and junior high students. Profits also go to running a Montessori Infant Education Center and an Alternative Elementary School.
Ten Thousand Villages celebrates women locally and globally with our 5th Annual International Women’s Day Awards on Friday, March 8th, 6-8pm at our fair trade store (1317 S. Congress). The Ceremony will be hosted by 2010 IWD honoree Sara Hickman, who will present awards to three finalists and a winner from each category. “Through actions and influence these women are distinguishing Austin as a city that’s leading in social change,” Store Manager Kitty Bird said. The Finalists are:
Finalists were chosen by a judges panel comprised of previous IWD winners and leaders in Austin’s nonprofit community: Brandi Clark Burton, Founder of Austin EcoNetwork; Meg Goodman Erskine, Executive Director of Multicultural Refugee Coalition; and Abigail Smith, Chief Animal Services Officer for the City of Austin.
“The judges had incredibly tough decisions to make,” Kitty said. “At the same time, it’s inspiring to learn about so many amazing women in our community who are making meaningful social impacts. This event is about celebrating all of them.”
For five years, Ten Thousand Villages has been celebrating and honoring women at this time of year. One day isn’t enough, so Ten Thousand Villages celebrates International Women’s Day for a week with cultural events and benefit shopping nights that support other nonprofits, culminating in the IWD Awards Ceremony on March 8th.
All events are free:
5-9 pm: Out of Africa
See Nobelity Project’s Building Hope documentary, enjoy traditional African food, and get 10% off all fair trade products handmade in Africa. A portion of all purchases supports local nonprofit Well Aware, which brings clean drinking water to rural villages in Kenya.
Tuesday 3/5 10:30-11:30 am: FREE Yoga Class! Courtesy of Mimi Curry at beradiantbliss.com 5-9 pm: South Asian Bazaar: Mehndi, Mandalas & More
Sari wrapping, henna art, music, food and 10% off all fair trade products handmade in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. A portion of all purchases supports Austin-based Tender Heart Foundation, which helps bring education and socioeconomic development to rural communities in Northern India.
Wednesday 3/6 5-9 pm:Latin America Romance Come hear Latin American music performed live and get a 10% discount on all fair trade products handmade in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, Chile, Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras or Colombia.
Thursday 3/7 5-9 pm:1st Thursday on South Congress
Ten Thousand Villages stays open late for this popular monthly block party that lets Austin fly its weird flag. This event is about as Austin as it gets — don’t miss it!
My name is Corey Lee and I’m interning here as the International Women’s Day Event Coordinator from January to May. I am a senior at St. Edward’s University majoring in Communication and originally from the Greater New Orleans area, but I am planning on staying here in Austin once I graduate in May.
One of the things I am most known for amongst my friends is my obsession with everybody’s favorite web-slinging superhero, Spider-Man. I remember my dad waking me up early each Saturday morning to watch the cartoon and my grandpa bringing me to flea markets to see some Spider-Man comics and the joy it brought me. Looking back, I think being such a fan of this comical superhero helped me get out of my shell, while teaching me the famous adage, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
One of my favorite things to do to pass time is listen to music. Although I feel I listen to a large majority of mainstream music, my heart will always be with R&B. I remember the first time I listened to Usher’s 2004 album Confessions and how much I listen to that CD because of the emotion in it. My favorite artist, however, has to be Ne-Yo. Not only does his music bring me on a journey, but he also sets an example of being a good person, which is why I modeled myself after him once I learned more about his choices and career.
But to really get to know me, you have to understand one of my greatest passions in life: The New Orleans Saints. You might be wondering how a football team could be so special to someone. Well, we New Orleanians have never had a reason to celebrate. Of course, we party during Mardi Gras and other holidays; but there was never a reason to celebrate outside of tradition. Then Hurricane Katrina struck the city I held so deep in my heart. My family had to evacuate to Houston and a cloud of uncertainty hung around my future. Four months later, my family and I moved back, repaired our house, and I began going to high school in trailers. During the same time the Saints organization was rebuilding, starting with a quarterback named Drew Brees, who just had surgery to repair his torn shoulder. Despite all that, the Saints eventually won a championship — and made me feel like a winner for the first time in my life! I’m still a legend in my old dorm for yelling and screaming during the game and crying my eyes out in joy when they won Super Bowl 44. Even today, when I watch the recap of that season on DVD or read a chapter from Drew Brees’ memoirs, I tear up because it was so much more than a game.
It was liberation from tragedy.
During my internship here, I hope to learn the processes involved with making a large event such as International Women’s Day a success and also forge my personal skills to prepare me for my career once I graduate. I decided to join Ten Thousand Villages because of two reasons. The first was a recommendation from my friend, Baillee Perkins. She interned here last fall and explained how she really enjoyed her experience working here. The second reason is the passion and happiness I noticed in the staff and volunteers; they expressed clearly the importance of fair trade and Ten Thousand Villages‘ mission.
I look forward to meeting many new people, working on meaningful projects, and creating joyful memories during my stay here. I hope you enjoy this journey with me!
It was the start of the semester and for two weeks I had vastly underestimated the weather predictions for the daily temperatures. This day was no exception. Despite my efforts to exert as little energy as possible, bullets of sweat continued to fall off my body at a record pace as I sat in front of the UT Student Center. Luckily, there was a constant stream of activity to provide some distraction from the overwhelming heat.
Tables were set up all along the edges of the crowded walkway, promoting every club and cause imaginable. At every booth, there were ecstatic individuals who were there to answer any and all questions about their groups. I sat there for an hour watching these groups try to get bystanders to listen to why their mission was important, or at least persuade them to come to a meeting. The reaction was mixed — some students stopped to listen, maybe even argue, but most people continued on their walks with little care.
I was so enthralled by this exchange between the diverse makeup of beliefs and the range of reactions from bystanders that I did not even realize a large group of friends had gathered at a nearby table. It wasn’t until they all began to banter loudly that I noticed their arrival. They were criticizing some of the groups they had seen around the quad, making fun of the groups’ members and criticizing their methods of action. Finally, after complaining for 20 minutes about the various global issues the groups addressed, my friends ended the conversation with the general consensus: “Whatever … it’s not like they’re actually going to help.”
I sat there in utter disbelief, shocked and confused by such pessimism. Looking around the quad, all I saw were earnest individuals trying to ignite some sort of action and passion within those around them. Trying to inspire others to do something. The problem was not with what the groups were doing, but with what these cynics were not doing.
It is so easy to feel paralyzed with doubt and discouragement when you think about the immensity of injustice that occurs in our society. Sometimes we think that it’s too big of a problem to make an actual difference. But really, I want to assure you — IT’S NOT! It is every small decision and every daily action that creates huge shifts. We often forget the power we have and what immense good we can bring into the world with it. It is dissected into all parts of our everyday life — as consumers, as citizens on local, national and global levels, and simply, as persons.
Therefore, I challenge you to free yourself of any doubt you have about your ability and choose to do something. Anything. It is your responsibility to use your power. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
Taylor Foody is Education and Outreach Intern and on the Marketing Committee at Ten Thousand Villages. She majors in International Relations and Global Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
October is Fair Trade Month and Ten Thousand Villages of Austin kicked the celebration off with its 4th annual fundraiser, One Reason Why: A Fair Trade Art Show, Oct. 5, 2012, at the Heller Building. Staff, volunteers, friends, sponsors, donors and social changemakers gathered in a beautiful private space overlooking Congress Avenue and downtown Austin to experience one-of-a-kind fair trade art from around the world, as well as stories, live music, a silent auction, food, drinks and good karma.
Photo by Julia Totten
There are many reasons why this year’s event was our biggest and most successful fundraiser yet. Lots of guests came to meet Ten Thousand Villages’ national CEO Doug Dirks. Other people were curious to visit the beautiful private event space owned by Andrew and Mary Ann Heller. Many customers came to admire the exclusive artwork that our Store Manager Kitty Bird discovered on her learning tours in India and Bangladesh, items that couldn’t be found in the store on online. Some people wanted the chance to bid on experiential prizes in the silent auction.
For all these reasons and more, we ended up selling more artwork and tickets and generating more auction revenue than any of our events in previous years! Hearing the touching stories about the remarkable people who make our crafts — such as Kitty’s friend from Keya Palm and Bella, a former beggar and now manager at Bonoful Paper Products — positively inspired guests to rally around our fair trade mission and feel good doing so.
Photo by Bernie Castillo
The evening began with a private champagne reception with CEO Doug Dirks. He and volunteer docents Stacy Gauthier and Christa Young led sponsors and Board directors through a private gallery tour of the featured art, explaining who made each piece, where it came from and its unique cultural significance. Pianist Eddy Maine played a magnificent Steinway piano throughout the reception, setting a classy mood for the special guests, which included individual donors and representatives from sponsors Climb On! Products, Fresh Chefs Society, Handmade Expressions, and The Groove Realty and Investments. Word of Mouth Catering provided delectable gourmet appetizers, which were graciously served by store volunteers CeCe Cembalest, Joanie Cooksey, Taylor Foody, Rebekah Krych and Baillee Perkins.
Kitty and Anne Olson, Board Chair, welcomed guests and explained how their support of Ten Thousand Villages and One Reason Why directly helps provide a sustainable fair trade marketplace in central Texas, expands opportunities for artisans in developing countries, and increases our outreach locally. Anne also showed off the swag for guests to take home: gorgeous boxes handmade from sari fabrics, each one filled with gifts such as a Go Local Austin card, Putumayo World Music CD, Climb On! lip balm, Sustainable Food Center seed packet, Healthy Hound dog biscuits, Geobar, Hey Cupcake! BOGO coupon, stickers and more.
Photo by Bernie Castillo
When Doug took the stage, he prompted tears, smiles and hope from guests as he told a moving story about Bella, a woman in Bangladesh who had been a beggar on the street with her young son. Bella was illiterate, homeless and had never worked for pay — which amazingly qualified her to join a group of women making fair trade paper products for Bonoful. Today Bella owns a home, manages 12 other women, and her son is in college studying to be an engineer because of orders from Ten Thousand Villages. The fabric gift boxes that guests took home from One Reason Why were handmade by Bella and the women employed at Bonoful. Doug’s story drove home the message that buying Ten Thousand Villages products helps pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans — many of them women — who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. Our nonprofit store, volunteers and customers keep women like Bella employed now and in the future. These are the reasons why fair trade is so critical.
Photo by Julia Totten
The rest of the evening was festive and alive with music by international fusion trio Atlas Maior. We would also like to thank our photographers, Bernie Castillo and Julia Totten, for capturing the fun and vibrancy of this amazing event, as well as event volunteers Linda Deason, Becky Garcia, Catherine Givens, Claire Lewis, Margaret Marchant, Varsha Raj, Becca Ruiz, Margaret Valenti, plus Green Gate Farms, ID Soda and Brooke McCombs of Austin Event Logistics. One Reason Why 2012 was a success due to the generous time and investments by all of our volunteers, sponsors, donors and customers. Thank you for supporting fair trade!