the labor behind our cups of coffee

If the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil were a country, it would be the largest coffee producing country in the world.  That’s how much coffee is grown in Minas.  Of the 280,000 people involved in the production of coffee in the state in 2009, over 230,000 were farm workers according to the Brazilian Institute …

I met Eliover in July when I visited the farm where he works in Colombia. He has worked in coffee since he was a kid picking coffee during the harvest, cleaning weeds, and recently guiding other workers in this farm during harvest time. When we met we talked about the idea of Fair Trade with …

why I work with farm workers

In my first job out of college, I lived and worked on a banana farm outside of Quevedo, Ecuador, the city where my father grew up.  It was the year of El Niño, and it rained incessantly.  The workers and I spent days and nights ‘fighting’ the rain to ensure the banana trucks could make …

who knows best what’s best for you?

When I first heard about the washing machines, I thought, “Really?” I  used to hear about so many other ways to spend Fair Trade premium funds….like healthcare programs, scholarships for children, etc…. that it surprised me to hear that the farm workers on this Fair Trade flower farm in Cotopaxi, Ecuador, had chosen to buy washing …

Florinda and the ‘older crowd’

At the end of a sunny and hot day in the coffee fields, I met Florinda and other farm workers in the Mogiana region in Brazil in one of my trips this year. Despite their long day, we had a humor-filled conversation that made us all smile and laugh. When I was talking to her, …

farm workers versus small farmers?

When I traveled to Costa Rica last week, I met several coffee farm workers.  Many of the farm workers in Costa Rica come from Nicaragua.  I was told that of the close to 5 million people living in Costa Rica, around 800,000 are Nicaraguans. Many of them work in coffee, sugar cane, bananas and many other …