Connecting Coffee Farmers and Consumers Around the World


I would like to thank everyone who showed up to our “Connected by Coffee” documentary event. We had plenty of yummy treats and beverages to satisfy any mouth. (And it was all Fair Trade!)

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It was truly inspiring to see the lives that were touched by this Fair Trade movement. I was shocked to hear about the devastating threats to coffee farms from coffee rust.

“Coffee rust is caused by a fungus which causes powdery orange spots on leaves. The infected leaves drop from the coffee plant too soon. The coffee rust weakens the coffee plant, reduces yield and eventually kills it.” (Source)

Not many people realize the obstacles that coffee farmers face. But it’s the dedicated Fair Traders like you who can make a difference. Amazingly enough, Fair Trade sticks by all the hardships that farmers must endure which is what makes this organization great. I hope many viewers were motivated by this documentary and continue to choose Fair Trade and support our cause.

For more information, visit the Connected by Coffee website.

Contributed by Fair Trade Student Intern, Lisa Chun

20 Ways to #BeFair for Penn State Brandywine Students

1. Visit the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market.


2. Drink some coffee made with Fair Trade cocoa beans at your local cafes:

Coffee Beanery & Seven Stones Cafe, Media

Burlap and Bean Coffee, Newtown Square

Fennario Coffee, West Chester

Good Karma Cafe, 3 locations in Philadelphia (The Pine St. address is the closest to school)

3. Shop at supermarkets that sell Fair Trade products.

4. Purchase some Fair Trade chocolate at the Lion’s Den.

5. Stay updated on Fair Trade news.

6. Follow us and all your favorite Fair Trade advocates using social media.

7. Not a coffee drinker? Then try some Fair Trade Tea!

8.  When you shop at the King of Prussia mall, choose Fair Trade:

9. Wear sustainable FT fashion, like People Tree.

10. Show your Penn State pride with a t-shirt from Alta Garcia. (Found at our campus bookstore)

11. Be eco-friendly at school or in the office.

12. Don’t forget America’s First Fair Trade Town is just around the corner!

13. Commute to school and spread the word about Fair Trade at the same time.

14. Bake some brownies made with Fair Trade cocoa!

15. Watch Fair Trade Films 

16. Participate at on-campus Fair Trade events.

17. Buy a bar, give a bar.

18. Stay energized with Scheckter’s Organic Energy Beverages.

19. Switch your gifts to Fair Trade!

20. Finally, spread the Fair Trade campaign among your friends and family!

Starbucks USA vs Starbucks UK

The UK has long been known as the birthplace of the fair trade movement. It is only fitting that the Starbucks UK market can boast that 100% of their espresso based coffee drinks are Fair Trade Certified (Starbucks UK 100% Fair Trade Espresso Based Drinks), but what about the U.S. market? The U.S. market offers the Italian Roast as their Fair Trade Certified option. I found a great article on a petition for Starbucks to offer a Fair Trade Certified brewed coffee option daily by a former partner. The main reason Starbucks USA has not acted is because there is not enough demand for the same Fair Trade standards as the UK stores. Please take a look and let your voice be heard!

Former Barista Tells Starbucks: Brew More Fair Trade Coffee

Coffee harvesting (image source)

I also found a link to an article about how Starbucks UK is creating a Fair Trade Access Fund, check it out! Introducing Starbucks Fair Trade Access Fund

Contributed by Jack Ramaika, founding Fair Trade TrailBlazer

Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices vs. Fair Trade Certified Coffee

Hello supporters of all things fair trade! My name is Jack Ramaika and I am a student here at PSU Brandywine. I am also a lover of coffee, which would lead me to find a job at Starbucks Coffee. I have been a partner at Starbucks since 2006. In my time at Starbucks, I have been very proud of the company and the principles on which we stand. When I joined the Fair Trade movement at PSU Brandywine, I began to take a serious look at how Starbucks purchases and deals with the producers of their coffee beans. I found that Starbucks has created, with cooperation from Conservation International, what they call Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. Starbucks believes that this scorecard-based system helps farmers grow coffee in a way that is better for both people and the environment. It is focused on product quality, economic accountability, social responsibility, and environmental leadership.

Responsibly Grown Coffee, from Starbucks

When I began to ask the company why we only had one fair trade certified coffee in the U.S. market (Italian Roast) the response was that the C.A.F.E. Practices model actually was superior to the fair trade standards. Starbucks is quick to point out on the same web page that it is the number one purchaser of fair trade certified coffee in the world. In fact, Starbucks writes that they increased their purchases of fair trade certified coffee from 19 million pounds in 2008 to 39 million pounds in 2009. Responsibly Sourced Coffee I found some websites that support this belief, such as I also found criticism at Bean Activist.

A percentage of these purchases come from the UK. Market where Fair Trade Certified Coffee is used for every espresso based drink. My next question is… Why not have fair trade coffee beans be used for all espresso based drinks in the US market? Can you imagine the increase in purchases of fair trade coffee beans? The answer is that there is not enough demand for fair trade in the US market. As consumers we must demand fair trade coffee options. Another reason why I love Starbucks coffee is that they are open to ideas. You can voice your opinion on this matter at My Starbucks Idea. I went to the site myself and searched Fair Trade Certified Coffee and here you can see the results,

Starbucks CAFE Practices, from Coffee & Conservation

I am very proud to be a partner at Starbucks Coffee. Our commitment to the community and to the ethical purchasing of the coffee beans that are used to create the Starbucks Brand. What I will say is that old saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Starbucks Coffee has the chance to lead the coffee industry into a new era of social responsibility. By truly backing the fair trade movement and uniting behind the same cause, Starbucks could provide the leadership to bring about true change. So all you lovers of the coffee bean make your voice heard!

Contributed by Jack Ramaika, founding Fair Trade TrailBlazer