Dear everyone and anyone reading this post this Thanksgiving Day,
I hope your turkeys are cooked, your tofu is firm, cranberry sauce gooey, stuffing not too soggy, hearts are warm, and hands are open.
Thank you for being you.
You rose to the challenge during Fair Trade Month, and we need your help again. The numbers speak for themself (ok, well not really – numbers don’t talk – even though they say a lot). Also, we are trying to get a bag of Mirembe into Obama’s hands. If you have any suggestions, contacts, or leads, please let me know! Change is here. Let’s get Mirembe into the White House too!!
Remember, now is the right time to be thinking about holiday gifts!
Sitting with me is Sinina Namudosi from the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. You may have met her in March while we toured the country.
Here is a message from our friend:
I would like to say hi to you and I thank you for inviting me to the US to help promote our coffee because the more you take our coffee the more you are helping our community in Uganda. So I thank you very much for drinking Mirembe Kawomera Coffee.
Sinina took part in the United Students for Fair Trade Convergence in WA last weekend and will be returning to Uganda on Friday.
Sinina is a board member of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative and represents the women and youth.
Sinina and Abraham Twingiliyamana, General Manager of the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative in Rwanda, another East African fair trade partner of Thanksgiving’s.
A great heart-filled thanks to everyone who participated in our Fair Trade Month Challenge:
Adat Shalom, Community United Methodist Church, Friends of Ruwenzori, National Yiddish Book Center, Olympia Food Coop, Parkside UCC, St. Benedictâ€™s Monastery, Temple Beth Hatfiloh, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, St. Markâ€™s United Methodist Church, Temple Beth El, Bnai Keshet, Congregation Beth Shalom, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Communities of Shalom, Temple Aliyah Sisterhood, Society of Ethnomusicology Conference, Holy Family Bookstore, Temple Brith Achim, University of Wisconsin, Erasmus at the University of San Fransico, J. Bloch Associates, Congregation Hakafa, Taos Jewish Center, Congregation Beth Am, First Unitarian of Baltimore, Tower Cafe, Temple Beth El – San Pedro, Milwaukee Area Jewish Committee/Congregation Beth Israel – Glendale, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Temple Adat Shalom, The Greater Green, Sunrise House Orphanage, Duck and Decanter, Tiffereth Israel, El Dorado Peace and Justice, Bethany United Methodist Church, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, St. James Episcopal Church San Francisco, Tanya Everett, and those purchased from our online store (375 units).
I am happy to announce that in a month when the economy crashed, an election consumed most peoples’ time, and uncertainty put coffee orders at bay…
3,320 units of Mirembe Kawomera “Delicious Peace” Coffee were sold, which brought this year’s total to 24,255.
Thank you for your dedication and loyal support…and now that the election is over…who’s up for a November challenge???
I’m obsessed with numbers. I love them when they go up, and I snap into a rut when they fall below standard. Obama has widened his lead over McCain to 8 points. The Dow is down 369.88. The temperature in Fort Bragg, CA is 65 degrees. There are 75 more days until my favorite band comes to town. The average cost of a plane ticket from San Francisco to Uganda is $2,300. World Peace: Priceless.
I love numbers because they are concise while conveying a message. â€œObama leads by 8â€ is a summary of what the next 8 year could be. “The Dow is down” equates to a global emotion of anxiety and fear, and hopefully summons change.
I was checking out the numbers for how many units of Mirembe weâ€™ve sold so far this year (21,342), and thought, â€œWow, 21,342 is pretty close to 25,000 and 25,000 is a pretty big positive even integer. I want to sell 25,000 units of Mirembe by the end of this month.â€ You see, I come up with these crazy ideas and sometimes I can pull them off by myself, and sometimes I need help. I am going to need your help to pull this one off.
In honor of Fair Trade Month, let’s sell the pants off Mirembe and kick some serious numerical butt (OK, images of depanting and kicking tush seem kind of violent, even if I am just talking about numbers. So sorry, let me try again). In honor of Fair Trade Month, let’s gather our allies and introduce strangers to the Mirembe project to disseminate JJâ€™s message of peace, boost the numbers, and prove to the world that Fair Trade is a sustainable practice. In honor of Fair Trade Month, let’s quench our thirst for tolerance, justice, and fantastic coffee. In honor of Fair Trade Month, I challenge you…
…To buy/sell 3,658 units of Mirembe to make this yearâ€™s sales be 25,000. Itâ€™s not impossible. It is a big leap. Buying Mirembe probably wonâ€™t affect the election, although it will help stimulate the economy. Hopefully it wonâ€™t affect the local temperate, or thwart the plans of my favorite band (Girlyman) coming to town. Your purchase will help send me to Uganda this winter to assess the needs of the farmers. World Peace: Priceless.
Who’s up for the challenge?
3,658 units this month = $5,889.38 to the farmers in Fair Trade Prices, plus $3,658 in rebates for a total of $9,547.38 to the farmers of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative in October.
Every afternoon I will update this blog with a sales report. The numbers reflect orders that have cleared our accounting department.
Date____Total This month___This year____Left to match challenge
October 9__________ CLOSED FOR YOM KIPPOR _________________
October 11 Weekend
October 12 Weekend
October 13 I will be out of the office. Will update when I return
October 14 I will be out of the office. Will update when I return
October 15 ___1,223_________22,158_____________2,842______
October 16 ___1,398_________22,333_____________2,667______
October 17 ___1,448_________22,383_____________2,617______
October 18 Weekend
October 19 Weekend
October 20 ___1,567_________22,502_____________2,498______
October 21 ___1,609_________22,544_____________2,456______
October 22 ___2,005_________22,940_____________2,060______
October 23 ___2,026_________22,961_____________2,039______
October 24 ___2,321_________23,256_____________1,744______
October 25 Weekend
October 26 Weekend
October 27 ___2,452_________23,387_____________1,613______
October 28 ___2,687_________23,622_____________1,378______
October 29 ___2,706_________23,641_____________1,359______
October 30 ___2,838_________23,773_____________1,227______
October 31 ___3,320_________24,255_______________________
If 100 accounts each buy 36 units, our challenge is met! For every group that buys coffee this month, your name will be added to this list. For groups that order 36+, a link will be tagged to your name. Together, we can do this!! Thank you for supporting the Mirembe Kawomera project, Fair Trade Month, and my numerical obsession.
Wholesale accounts (min. 20 packages)
Community United Methodist Church
Friends of Ruwenzori
National Yiddish Book Center
Olympia Food Coop
St. Benedict’s Monastery
Temple Beth Hatfiloh
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
Temple Beth El
Congregation Beth Shalom
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
Communities of Shalom
Temple Aliyah Sisterhood
Society of Ethnomusicology Conference
Holy Family Bookstore
Temple Brith Achim
University of Wisconsin
Erasmus at the University of San Fransico
J. Bloch Associates
Taos Jewish Center
Congregation Beth Am
First Unitarian of Baltimore
Temple Beth El – San Pedro
Milwaukee Area Jewish Committee/Congregation Beth Israel – Glendale
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
Temple Adat Shalom
The Greater Green
Sunrise House Orphanage
Duck and Decanter
El Dorado Peace and Justice
Bethany United Methodist Church
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
St. James Episcopal Church San Francisco
Calculate Your Impact, Understand Your Power
When you buy Mirembe Kawomera â€œDelicious Peaceâ€ Coffee, you raise money for peace and justice.
Each pound of â€œDelicious Peaceâ€ Coffee is bought at the Fair Trade price of $1.61, and raises another $1 per package through profit-sharing. To calculate your monthly impact, multiply the number of packages by $1.61, then add the quantity (number) of packages bought. The total is your financial impact.
By buying 1 package every month of the year, you raise $31.32 for the farmers who grow your coffee.
By buying 2 packages each month of the year, you double your impact, raising $62.64. If you enlist the support of 10 friends, and each buys 2 packages per month, you raise $626.40 over 12 months.
If you enlist the support of 20 members of your community, and each buys 2 packages per month, you raise $1,252.80 over 12 months.
If you enlist the support of 100 members of your community, and each person buys 2 packages per month, you raise $6,264 annually.
If your community mobilizes 500 people to commit to buying 2 packages each month, you raise $31,320 annually.
Alone, your contribution through buying two packages a month and raising $62.64 enables a farmer to buy 12 mosquito nets to protect 12 children from malaria-transmitting mosquitoes (each net costs $5).
By bringing 5 friends together, and raising $313.20 you would raise money for the school fees of 2 children, and also their books, for an entire year.
By mobilizing 100 members of your community, and raising $6,264, you could raise enough money for 2 families to build solid brick homes with metal roofs to keep dry during the rainy season.
By mobilizing your entire community of 500 people, and raising $31,320 you could raise money for 5 families to rebuild their homes, send 75 children to school, and buy 1,000 mosquito nets to protect 1,000 people from malaria.
Please contact us for further information about calculating your impact and how to define a goal for your campaign.
This weekend I receive a serious and legitimate inquiry via email. On our website, we describe Mirembe coffee as â€œA sweet, nutty coffee from Uganda with notes of pecan and nutmeg, and a lingering sensation of malty antiquity.â€ The question arose, â€œWhat suggestions do you have for a nut-free facility?â€
No need to worry. The description of the coffee is more about taste and character, than an actual outline of ingredients. In the coffee world, we use certain words to describe the texture, taste, aroma, feeling, etc. of the sensation of the coffee experience. We talk about floral notes like jasmine, even though there really aren’t any flowers in the coffee. When we talk about acidity, we are really just talking about the tingly feeling that lingers on our tongues after we swallow. We mentioned notes of pecan and nutmeg because when we taste the coffee it brings us back to Thanksgiving time and on our pallets we can taste the subtleties that are associated with pecan pie.
There are no nuts in the coffee. There are undertones, which are less intense than notes, and notes are different than hints. Basically, it’s just coffee talk. The only thing in the Ugandan Mirembe Coffee, is coffee. It is not flavored with anything but love and hard work. Coffee tasting and descriptions are much like wine. If you read a wine label it might say hints of melon, or notes of cedar, when really all that’s in the bottle are fermented grapes.
Thanks for bearing with us. Although the coffee is nut-free, I make no claim that we aren’t a little nuts (it keeps things fun on this end).
Several months ago I received a call from Charles London, a freelance writer who discovered the Peace Kawomera Cooperative after doing some research on the Abayudaya (Jews of Uganda).
“Hello, my name is Charles and I’m interested in writing a story about the Peace Kawomera Cooperative for O Magazine.”
“O, as in Overstock? O, as in Oh? Or O as in Oprah?” I asked. I was in a bit of shock.
Chuckling on the other end, he replied, “Yes, O as in Oprah.”
Thus it started.
I first met Charles at Tufts University. He went to Tufts to celebrate with us as we received the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. He also came to meet our February/March touring delegation, which included 4 farmers from the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. After spending some time together in Boston, Charles joined the farmers, Ben, and me on a bus as we traveled from Boston to NY. On the ride, he interviewed each of the farmers, Ben and me. We had a lot of fun as he got to know us, and we got to know him.
As we continued with the tour, Charles continued on to Uganda. He visited the members of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative, their farms and schools, and learned about the coffee project from the ground. He is a brilliant writer with a good heart.
The end result: a new friendship, and an article in August’s edition of O Magazine. Here is the link: http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/200808_omag_coffee/1
Sales have been much slower than we hoped for, but many people have called in response to the article with an interest to get involved. Only time will tell, but with the arrival of the new crop just before the article hit, and our new website launched, good things are on our side.
If you read this, please forward it on. Let’s start a new campaign of telling everyone we know about this article and the courageous farmers of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. Encourage your friends to buy a bag or two, and even look into starting a buying club in your community if you haven’t already done so. Together is the only way we can sustain the peace building efforts of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative.
All the best, and have a great weekend!
As I’ve written elsewhere on this blog, our work, and fair trade in general is about relationships. When it boils down to it, relationships are what hold this model together and what make it so powerful. Relationships shape this complicated and layered global economic exchange and mold it in the image of community, transform the blind, exploitative, and unsustainable relationships of times past and heal them.
So it’s a great joy to see those relationships deepening, like I have over the past week. Far away, in the east of Uganda, a delegation from the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston (Illinois) is visiting the Peace Kawomera Cooperative.
Our friend Rabbi Brant Rosen has been keeping an account on his blog, Shalom Rav.
Here’s an excerpt:
Iâ€™ve written extensively about Mirembe on this blog – largely because I have just been so inspired by the example they set for us. I truly believe that the folks at this modest coop in Uganda are, in their way, showing the rest of the world how to live.
(Brant’s posted a few more times on JRC’s visit to the cooperative, and also on their experience in Rwanda where they are involved with a number of truly inspiring projects…so please take a minute to read backwards and forwards from the link above!)
Also, another member of the JRC delegation, Hannah Gelder, is keeping a blog where she wrote about her experience with Peace Kawomera. Check it out here.
Thanks to our friends at JRC who have made this project such an important part of their community. You’d be hard pressed to find a cup of coffee at their synagogue that’s not fair trade from the farmers of the Peace Kawomera, or make it through a community event without running into someone (probably with the last name Waxman!) hawking packages for people to take home.
And if this sounds exciting, amazing, and fun…why don’t you get your community involved?
Yours in Peace,
To all our dear supporters & coffee lovers:
So happy to share the good news that after much wait and anticipation, the new crop Ugandan coffee has traversed the Atlantic Ocean, cleared customs, and arrived at our roastery in northern California! AND IT’S DELICIOUS!
The mood when the first of the year’s coffee arrives is kind of like the frenzy around the year’s first Beaujolais. People converge in the tasting room, our head roaster Charles tries to settle everyone down so he can pay attention to the 100 gram sample he’s roasting to perfection, and we all bump into each other waiting for the first cup to brew. It’s inevitably been a long wait, with at least one or two snags in the road, some anxiety, and a good amount of anticipation.
This year’s coffee is the best we’ve had from the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. It’s character (some combination of nutty richness and a strong vanilla and spice note) is enhanced. The light roast is sweet, and almost chocolaty. The dark roast is strong, with a little bit of a smoky punch, and a sweet finish. Hats off to the farmers, who continue to refine their production and quality control mechanism. Quality is the goal of our work, and we’ve put a lot of time in on the ground in Uganda tinkering with fermentation times, drying techniques, sorting, and cupping. See my post from 2006 for more on that story.
We’ve got a little bit more newsâ€”the introduction of a re-designed package. We thought we’d wait for the new coffee to introduce it’s new clothes, so here it is:
Director of National Sales and Organizing Holly Moskowitz with a sack of the new coffee, and a package from our first production run.
Yours in Peace (and with some great coffee!)