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calendar   Thursday - January 22, 2009

Responsible Drinking

Thanks to João Faria da Silva




Peiper sends me things in the mail. Often it’s an envelope full of clippings from the English newspapers, writing about the knife crime, the nulabor government’s latest silliness, etc. Sometimes it’s the real estate section, showing all the gigantic old manor houses up for sale. And so forth; all interesting bits. Sometimes he gets wise and sends me vacation guides to fwance, where they have figured out that they can make money touring groups through all the local wineries, letting them buy bottles by the case right at the source, and even giving the tour in actual English!

A few weeks ago he sent me some coffee. English coffee. I know, that sounds like an oxymoron; England is famous for wonderful tea and God-awful coffee. But what he sent was so ... quintessentially English. “Lazy Sunday”, a blend from Taylor’s of Harrowgate [a-oh my!], a coffee blend made just for reading the Sunday paper and doing to crossword puzzle. And I thought we had specialization here in America! It was very nice, and very light. I noticed the bag was marked “a fair trade product” but didn’t look into that. I wrote back that while it was enjoyable, I usually drink a far stronger blend, more of a “Frantic Monday” than a Lazy Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, the Taylor’s of Harrowgate blend was very tasty. And I adore the brand name. I went around the house for days, playing at being English, saying “Ahye ahm dring-king Tay lawrs ohv Hahro gate” until my wife threw a pillow at me. [yes, I am easily amused.]

So this time, along with another fabulous greeting card, he sends me a little sack of Douwe Egberts. I’d never heard of him. Or it. Douwe Egberts. A brand name that sounds like they should be selling pipe tobacco. This is a much stronger blend, nearly as rich and potent as my usual grind. I like it. But the coffee isn’t sold because it’s good strong coffee. No. This coffee is sold because of the way it’s procured. Really! The blend line is called “Good Origins”, and the selling point of this “Utz Kapeh certified responsible coffee” is that it is “Traceable from farm to cup”. And it is! I hit the company web site, read the spiel, clicked on the links, and found that my beans were grown on the Fazenda Johá farm and picked by João Faria da Silva. Amazing. This is Liberal Guilt gone mad.

Fazenda Johá is part of the coffee project Terra Forte. This is the biggest coffee project in the world set up around the passion for quality coffee. The worldwide biggest single producer under the management of João Faria da Silva and the and Grande Leste Agropecuaria have joined their efforts to achieve professional management, production and commercialization of specialty coffees. The philosophy of the project is to invest in agricultural techniques, social and environmental projects, provide efficient logistic. Terra Forte is known for its quality coffee and high productivity as well as their social and environmental responsibility.

A little more exploration made me feel ever so much better, knowing that the poor exploited native worker’s lives are actually improved by their long days bending over the coffee bushes picking beans.

Impact on our organization

There was a change in the way we think and act. The farms have become well organized and managed. The workers have received extensive training and can conduct their work much more safely. The environment is respected and protected adequately.

Yeah. Extensive training. And adequate protection. “Jose, pick the red beans, not the green ones! But first you spray the bush with some poison to kill off the spiders and lizards. Then you pick the beans.”

And it’s not just Douwe Egbert doing this. I gather there is a whole worldwide - or at least Europe-wide - movement to better the lives and working conditions of the poor downtrodden natives who grow and pick the coffee. And it’s all “sustainable growth” with “natural fertilizers” that “minimize global impact” because ... the coffee bushes take several years to mature and can produce for a number of seasons, so you don’t just rip the plants out of the ground and shake off the beans. And you have to put all that donkey shit somewhere, so you may as well hide it under the bushes.

Yup, it’s a whole movement. “UTZ certified”:

UTZ Certified Responsible coffee growing

UTZ CERTIFIED is a global non governmental organisation which operates a mainstream certification programme for sustainable coffee based on pillars of economic, social and environmental well being.

Together with UTZ CERTIFIED, we are helping farmers look after their workers, their families and the environment in which they live and work. UTZ CERTIFIED certification assures that:

* Workers and their families have access to healthcare, clean water and decent housing
* Children have access to schooling
* Fertilisers and agrochemicals are used minimally and controlled
* Workers are trained and their labour rights are protected
* The use of water and energy is minimised
* Environmental pollution is reduced

UTZ CERTIFIED certification is renewed annually so you can be sure that it is up to date and continues to adhere to the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct – a set of criteria for responsible coffee growing practices and efficient farm management.

The UTZ CERTIFIED certification does not dictate or guarantee coffee prices, rather it enables farmers to achieve a better price for their coffee themselves and gain more competitiveness in their market.

You can explore this entire amazing, wonderful, guilt reducing world through the Douwe Egberts portal. I never knew. I never cared, or even knew I should care. Or knew that I should feel bad because I didn’t know that I didn’t know or care.

I’m off to the grocery store to pick up some hamburger. Now that I am enlightened, I’m going to ask the butcher what the cow’s name was, and if she was happy.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/22/2009 at 05:29 PM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessDaily LifeDemocrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsFine-DiningInternationalNature •  
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