Do you take your coffee with cream, sugar, or a dash of social responsibility? Is that a banana or a gun in your pocket?
This Saturday, May 10, is World Fair Trade Day. It is, as the name implies, a day to celebrate and promote fair trade — the guarantee of an equitable price for goods coming from the developing world, coupled with premiums for community and environmental development. It’s good for growers, it alleviates global warming, and it promotes long-term agricultural sustainability.
At Cambridge’s Harvard Epworth Methodist Church on Saturday afternoon, the Boston Faith and Justice Network (BFJN) will sponsor “Faith Brewing Justice” an event that will bring together parishioners from across Greater Boston to show just how simple it is to make a difference. (You know what they say about thinking globally and acting locally.)
“It’s something we as consumers could do so easily,” says BFJN member Elyse Ortiz. “Buying coffee is something a majority of consumers do on a daily basis. And buying fair trade is something we could do to help. Obviously, fair trade is not the end goal, but it’s a means to an end of fighting global poverty. It’s something that we do naturally: consume. This is making consumption fair and just.”
Local organizations — like West Bridgewater’s Equal Exchange, the oldest and largest for-profit fair-trade company in the United States, and Watertown banana importer Oké USA — will be on hand to educate. (As recounted in not one but two recent books, that little yellow fruit has been at the center of a long and sordid geopolitical history marked by armed government intervention, worker exploitation, and environmental despoliation.)
You can buy fair-trade flowers for Mother’s Day at BFJN’s “Justice Bazaar,” then sip a cup of fair-trade coffee as you energize for that afternoon’s series of workshops, which Ortiz says aim to demonstrate “how people can incorporate fair trade and other just living standards in their daily lives.” It will all be capped off with an ecumenical worship service, led by Reverend Ray Hammond, pastor of Jamaica Plain’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“There’s a big global movement toward fair trade,” says Ortiz. “To join in that is something that we in the US need to do further; we need to join that movement more.”
“Faith Brewing Justice” takes place Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 pm at Harvard Epworth Methodist Church, 1555 Mass Ave, in Cambridge. Call 909.200.9532 for more info.