UCC Coffee Project
The UCC Coffee Project means that your congregation can partner with UCC Justice and Witness Ministries and Equal Exchange in building fair trade for small farming communities by serving fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa, and chocolate, snacks, and olive oil for justice at fellowship hour on Sundays.
The UCC Coffee Project is a way for your congregation to join hands with communities in the developing world. As Christians we can address a consumer dilemma by buying coffee and other commodities that are fairly traded. Through the project, small farmers and their families gain more control over their lives, earn a fairer share of income, have access to credit and technical support, and gain a trading partner they can trust, a fair trade organization called Equal Exchange. And, through the project, members of your congregation can learn about consumption habits that support small scale farmers and workers throughout the world and encourage careful stewardship of God's creation. At fellowship hour, you will be taking action in a spirit of love.
How to Be Part of the UCC Coffee Project
- Serve fair trade coffee, tea cocoa and snacks at fellowship hour, church events, in the office and at home.
- Design congregational fund raising projects featuring fairly traded coffee, tea, snacks, chocolate and olive oil. Give fair trade gift baskets as thank you gifts.
- Order educational resources along with your coffee and make space and time in your congregation for conversation about justice in the global economy.
- Encourage other places of worship or businesses in your community to partner with Equal Exchange's Interfaith Coffee Project.
April 17, 2013: Equal Exchange has a new webstore. Check it out and remember to log-in as part of the Interfaith Program to see correct pricing! For more information about the UCC Coffee Project, go on line to Equal Exchange's Interfaith Coffee Program at equalexchange.com/interfaith/, r e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 774-776-7366. Download a UCC Coffee Project Order Form directly from Equal Exchange.
Learn More from Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange shares ideas for serving fairly traded coffee.
Here are tips for how to sell Equal Exchange Products. And here is a great fund-raising program.
Explore educational resources about particular fairly traded products:
Direct questions about the UCC Coffee Project to UCC Justice and Witness Ministries by phone at 866-822-8224.
Your Purchase Counts Twice: UCC Small Farmers Fund
Equal Exchange Coffee contributes $0.15 to the UCC Justice & Witness Ministries Small Farmers' Fund for every pound of fairly traded products sold. The UCC Coffee Project has grown in the nine years since the partnership began in 2004. During this time Equal Exchange has returned $81,638 to the UCC Justice & Witness Ministries Small Farmers' Fund, which supports the Just Food Project at the UCC's Franklinton Center, a program in sustainable and nutritious agriculture in rural Whitakers, North Carolina.
A Bitter Cup? Facts about Coffee and the Importance of Fair Trade
Coffee is one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world. Americans drink approximately 320 million cups of coffee every day—20 percent of the world's total coffee production. Some 20 million people near the equator depend on coffee for their livelihood, but for many the coffee trade keeps them trapped in poverty. With little access to markets, farmers often sell through middlemen who offer the lowest price possible. With world coffee prices in constant flux, farmers have no guarantee of how much they will receive for their crop.
Equal Exchange is a worker-owned fair trade company, founded in 1986, that offers consumers fairly traded gourmet coffee direct from small-scale farmer co-ops in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Equal Exchange seeks to establish an alternative model of trade, one that benefits small farmers directly through the following fair trade standards that apply to all Equal Exchange products:
- Always pay a guaranteed minimum price to the farmer.
- Work directly with democratic cooperatives of small scale farmers.
- Provide vital advance credit to farmers.
- Encourage ecologically sustainable farming practices.
- Develop long-term trade relations based on trust and respect.
- Offer consumers the finest gourmet, certified organic, shade-grown coffees.
Small Farmers. Big Change. is Equal Exchange's blog about fair trade labeling and the important role of standards and third party certification. A green and more just food system starts with small farmers.
Equal Exchange posts up-to-date resources to inform your congregation about Fair Trade. Check them out.
Fair World Project publishes For a Better World, a twice-yearly publication filled with articles and graphics that examines the issues and challenges in fair trade. It is a free publication with all past issues posted on-line.
Keep Plantations Out
TransFair USA, long a major certifying body for fair trade products, has changed its name to FairTrade USA and withdrawn from FLO International, the International Fair Trade Certifying body. Transfair USA has ceased to practice the original Fair Trade mission—to support small farmer organizations by helping them gain access to the international market. Equal Exchange, our partner in the UCC Coffee Project, left Transfair in the summer of 2010, to affiliate with another certification agency, IMO, the Instutute of Marketecology, because, for example, Transfair USA had increasingly permitted products from large plantations to be certified as Fair Trade.
Here is the page on the UCC's economic justice web pages that explains the issues: Keep Fair Trade: Don't Weaken Standards.
Here is the World Fair Trade Organization's response to the Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair)/FLO split.