True fair trade is about mutually beneficial relationships rooted in trust and respect spanning geographic and cultural boundaries.
As a global movement, fair trade brings attention to people around the world who work under exploitative conditions and highlights the true costs of goods in global supply chains. Organizations and activists, businesses and brands, farmers, workers and artisans have diligently worked for more than 40 years to bring greater balance to the terms of trade.
In recent months, we have watched as the term ‘fair trade’ has been grossly misused by politicians to energize their supporters while vilifying others. We have seen the term used to exclude people and encourage an isolationist agenda. These ideas stand in direct opposition to the concepts of justice and inclusivity that underlie our movement.
For far too long, conventional trade has maintained a narrow focus on the lowest common denominator. Efficiency at all costs, lower prices, and little consideration for the full social, economic and environmental impacts have been hallmarks of conventional international trade. Massive consolidation of power in supply chains has resulted in fewer options for consumers, farmers and workers, and unprecedented wealth controlled by few. Oxfam’s recent report on global inequality revealed that just eight men control more wealth than the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people combined.
IF WE HOPE FOR A SOCIETY – IN THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD – THAT IS MORE EQUAL AND JUST, WE MUST PRESS TRADE INTO THE SERVICE OF PEOPLE.
Global trade and the trade deals that accompany it are not inherently bad. They provide an opportunity to deliver the benefits of trade more broadly, but only if they are used for that purpose. Fair trade, with its focus on inclusion and empowerment, shows that trade can – and must – be more equitable.
If we hope for a society – in the U.S. and around the world – that is more equal and just, we must press trade into the service of people.
True fair trade creates shared value throughout supply chains.
True fair trade promotes openness and transparency.
True fair trade respects human rights.
True fair trade supports diversity.
We support trade that is truly equitable for all, including artisans, farmers and workers, traders and brands, consumers and civil society. Fair trade will never be about exclusion, but about expanding the benefits of trade for those who need it most.
As the U.S. considers renegotiating or entering into new international trade agreements, we encourage the inclusion of true fair trade principles. We urge all who care about human rights, shared value, transparency and diversity to call, write or meet with their elected officials and make your voice heard.
See the original article from Fairtrade International here, and check out the list of names that have signed on to this agreement!
In February of 2016, Thanksgiving Coffee made a commitment to honor a species that is necessary for the continued existence of the planet. Humans, plants and animals alike rely on bees for survival, and we decided it was time to start paying attention.
Friends of the Earth
At the end of 2015, much of the Western world was discussing Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees were dying across America and some European countries. Beekeepers and environmental experts were teaming up to raise awareness, and here in Fort Bragg, Paul Katzeff got an email from Friends of the Earth. It asked:
“Donate $25. Help us save the bees!”
He immediately wrote back, and explained a partnership concept to raise $100,000 using coffee. A year later, that partnership has grown into a movement. We created a product: Bee Bold Coffee. For every bag sold, we donate between 15 and 25% of the proceeds to Friends of the Earth, in support of their efforts to create legislation to protect our pollinators.
In addition, Bee Bold Coffee sold in Mendocino County supermarkets provides the funding for Bee Bold Mendocino, an organization Thanksgiving Coffee formed to help focus efforts on our local bee populations. (see below)
Since we began this journey in 2016, we have sold over 1,600 pounds of Bee Bold Coffee through our online store, and over a thousand pounds through our local supermarkets in Mendocino County. We’ve raised over $11,000 for Friends of the Earth, and $1,500 for our local Bee Bold Mendocino committee.
Saving the Bees in Mendocino
Because we wanted to make a difference within our local community, we contacted garden clubs, plant nurseries, beekeepers, and the school food and garden programs to ask how we could support them in their efforts to help bees and other pollinators. We partnered with the Noyo Food Forest so contributions could be tax deductible.
For every bag of Bee Bold Coffee sold at local businesses (see below), we donate a dollar to Bee Bold Mendocino. This local advisory committee is responsible for bee education and action in Mendocino County, and Thanksgiving Coffee has one representative on that committee.
Here are a few of the outlets in Mendocino County that have carried Bee Bold Coffee. Be sure to give them a call and see if they have your favorite roast in stock.
Fort Bragg: Harvest Market, Purity, Interior, Down Home Foods
Mendocino: Harvest at Mendosas, Corners of the Mouth
Laytonville: Long Valley Market
Willits: Mariposa Market
Gualala: Anchor Bay Store, Gualala Supermarket, Surf Supermarket
Ukiah: Ukiah Natural Foods
Moving Forward Locally
In July of 2016, Fort Bragg became the first city in California to be declared a Bee City, with San Francisco following close behind. We are currently working with local nurseries to eradicate the use of neonicotinoids in our community. The City of Fort Bragg has also re-purposed the lawns surrounding the Guest House Museum in our downtown area as a city park. This park will be re-planted with a bee-friendly garden.
We are also planning an observation hive at the Thanksgiving Coffee headquarters for installation in 2017. This beehive will be within the Company’s heirloom apple orchard, just north of our facility in Noyo Harbor. We also recently hosted a screening for everyone on staff of the documentary Queen of the Sun, a film we all needed to see together to better understand why we’re putting so much effort into saving the bees.
It all started with a simple email: a call to action to save this tiny creature. Our goal here is to now inspire YOU. Bees live in a community – they cannot exist on their own, and without their hive, they simply die. Our efforts to save the bees are very much the same; we are relying on our community to spread the word and to keep the awareness spreading. We couldn’t have done any of this without Friends of the Earth, Noyo Food Forest, local gardeners, nurseries, and the beekeepers who have studied and kept bees for so many years.
What Can You Do to Save the Bees
Whether you’re here in California or anywhere across the world, the plight of the bees is important for all of us. How can you be involved in saving the bees? There are so many ways to join in:
Only purchase plants from nurseries that have agreed to stop using neonicotinoids
Attend a showing of Queen of the Sun (more information coming soon!)
Ask your local supermarket to carry Bee Bold Coffee
One of the best ways you can be involved? Be aware. Do your research and be a conscious consumer. Shop from local farms, attend the farmers markets in your area, buy seeds from reputable sources, and share information you can with family and friends.
We are excited about what’s happening with the Bee Bold Movement, and we want to get more people involved. If you have an idea about how to spread even more awareness for the bees, please reach out! We are always looking for more people to join our committee and rally the troops to save the bees.
Learn a little more about each of these cause coffees to benefit the bees below:
Our Bee Bold Light Roast has a soft acidity, featuring the sweetness of blueberry and plums. On our Medium Roast, blueberry notes add to hints of cashew and chocolate, while our Dark Roast is a bold, sweet blend with hints of nuts, chocolate, and caramel. The Very Dark (or French) Roast is distinctly smoky with hints of jammy fruit, roasted nuts, and baker’s chocolate. Each roast is unique and captivating in its own way, and it’s worth it to try every one!
Every morning as you grind and brew your coffee, remember that you’re drinking a coffee that the bees would be proud of. Help us support local and national programs to save the bees!
For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing; this month we’re focusing on the Magnolia Warbler – the bird featured on our medium roast Songbird coffee.
Songbird Coffee medium roast from Nicaragua
If you live east of the Mississippi river, you might be familiar with the Magnolia Warbler. This brightly-colored little songbird can be seen in the spring and fall as it passes through on its annual migration. Despite the name, these bird is rarely seen in magnolia trees. In 1810, ornithologist Alexander Wilson collected a specimen from a magnolia in Mississippi. At the time, he gave it the species the more accurate name of “Black-and-yellow Warbler”, but he used “magnolia” for the Latin name, and it stuck.
Like many warbler species, it can be hard to imagine how such a tiny bird, weighing little more than a quarter, can make a 3,000 mile journey, but they do it every year; from their summer breeding range in the Canadian Boral forests all the way down to Central America.
When the “Maggies” head south for the winter, they can often be found on shade grown coffee farms along with other migratory birds such as Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Western Tanager.
Although the population of Magnolia Warblers is thought to be stable, the birds are often victims of collisions with towers and other man-made structures, especially during migration. Habitat loss on their nesting and wintering grounds is also a threat. Supporting Bird Friendly coffee is an important way to keep Magnolia Warblers and other “coffee birds” common.
Medium Roast Nicaraguan Coffee
Nutty • Smooth • Milk Chocolate
Sweet without sugar, mellow without cream. This Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee is fruity, nutty and chocolaty with hints of dried mango. Sweet without sugar, mellow without cream, it is a great breakfast coffee. This coffee is roasted to a light milk chocolate color where its bright and complex flavors explode into life.
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!”
~ Thomas Edison
Solar energy is the way of the future and an important step toward sustainability, which is why we are proud that one of our Cause Coffee partners is the Solar Living Institute of Hopland California. Not only are they helping thousands of Mendocino County homes harness the awesome energy of the sun, they are also improving the economy by educating the next generation of utility professionals.
Founded in 1998, the Solar Living Institute has been providing professional solar training and a wide array of sustainability courses in Northern California for over 15 years. Their courses are taught by experienced practitioners who bring years of real world knowledge to the classroom with a focus on helping students prepare for job opportunities, start businesses, and live more sustainably.
Over the years, the Solar Living Center has welcomed thousands of visitors to the 12-acre demonstration site where they can find hands on displays of solar power generation, biodynamic farming, permaculture and pollinator gardens, a bee observatory, building with natural resources, and even creek restoration.
Coffee for a Cause: Solar Living
Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to partner with an organization that has taught countless people the skills they need for a renewable energy future- skills that make a huge difference in mitigating the impact we have on the environment. Join us! Order your Solar Select Coffee today and 25% of the sale will help support the energetic efforts of the Solar Living Institute.
January 16 is Dian Fossey’s birthday, and we’re taking a moment to recognize a truly spectacular woman. Take a moment to learn more about Dian Fossey’s life through the interactive experience on the Gorilla Fund website.
Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke™ Research Center in Rwanda’s Virungas Mountains in 1967, to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, her work has continued through the Karisoke Research Center and grown into conservation efforts for other wildlife and programs for people who live near the gorillas.
Among the most legendary scientists of our time, Dian Fossey went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behavior. She faced and overcame many obstacles and ultimately gave her life to gorilla protection.
Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for over a decade, supporting their programs in Rwanda to save the mountain gorillas. Learn more about our partnership, and purchase Gorilla Fund Coffee from Rwanda on the Thanksgiving Coffee store.
How are migratory birds and shade grown coffee trees linked?
The coffee industry has an enormous impact on migratory birds: when they fly south in the cold months, these birds rely on the trees that shade coffee farms throughout the tropics. When coffee plantations clear cut land to grow coffee in direct sunlight, not only does the loss of forested lands contribute to climate change, but our precious migratory birds lose their winter homes.
If we want to continue enjoying these birds, we have to preserve their winter habitat – and choosing to purchase only shade grown coffee is an integral part of that habitat preservation. Our SongBird Coffee is Organic and Fairtrade, and certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
“In this picture of shade grown coffee we see the lower level, dark green coffee trees. On the second level there are banana trees and on the overstay third level, native trees. From the mottled bark I can see that the tree is Inga, a tree with nitrogen setting qualities in the root system. It shades the coffee trees from above while providing leaf litter to refresh the thin topsoil layer, while at the same time adding Nitrogen to the soil with its roots.
This was taken on a trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. Altitude is 5,000 feet ” – Paul Katzeff
January 5 is National Bird Day and to celebrate we are going to kick off a new monthly blog post – For the Birds – highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. We will start off by getting to know the birds representing our Songbird Coffee lineup:
Songbird Coffee light roast from Guatemala
The Cedar Waxwing is the perfect representative for our light roast Guatemalan coffee because the ripe cherry sweetness of the coffee reflects the fruity diet of these strikingly beautiful backyard favorites. As social birds, you can usually see them in large flocks around fruit trees such as juniper, cedar, and mulberry, passing berries from one bird to another before swallowing them whole. In fact, the Cedar Waxwing is the only bird in North American whose diet is comprised primarily of fruits and berries.
Unfortunately for the birds, their fruit based diet means that eating overripe or fermented berries can leave them visibly tipsy. For those Waxwings who have had ‘a few too many’, some rescue groups have made ‘holding tanks’ to keep them safe while they sober up before flying home.
All of Thanksgiving’s organically certified coffees are shade grown, and a select few carry the Bird Friendly gold seal of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification ensures that tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds can find a healthy haven to eat and rest as they travel the hundreds of miles from your backyard to the coffee farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.
You don’t need binoculars to find a coffee that protects forests, helps wildlife and supports the efforts of the American Birding Association; just look for the Songbird Coffee with the Cedar Waxwing on the front.
There’s a myriad of traditions surrounding December 25 – exchanging gifts, singing carols, attending midnight mass and so many more. One of these traditions, and one especially close to our hearts, is the Christmas Bird Count.
For fifty years, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has worked tirelessly to save the gorillas of Rwanda. Thanksgiving Coffee and the Gorilla Fund first partnered over a decade ago because we were inspired by their work, and we wanted to be a part of such a stirring movement. There are many ways to help support the Gorilla Fund, and we want to provide a list of great brands that are supporting this cause.
With the holiday season in mind, take a look at these brilliant products that are not only useful and lovely – but meaningful.
This brand has a huge variety of cute clothing, but there was one product in particular that we were drawn to… the coffee mug, of course! An adorable design and a great cause make this one of our favorite gifts this holiday season. And it’s even better when paired with our Gorilla Fund Coffee.
Who hasn’t spent a few happy moments distracted by animal videos on the Internet? Feline antics, dog fails, and even a chicken riding a Roomba: viral videos are shared far and wide. While they usually do little more than make us smile and delay us from writing that important email, sometimes they show us a glimpse into a world far beyond our own.