Internet Bringing Fair Trade To Coffee

lwr-coffee.gifCoffee is a big business. Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Maxwell House, and dozens of other names come to mind as successful coffee companies. While, these companies are doing financially great the farmers that grow and harvest the coffee are getting the short end of the stick. Because of all the middle men, the farmers may not make enough money to cover their expenses much less their living costs. It's a rough life as a coffee farmer.

Thanks to groups like Lutheran World Relief and their use of the Internet we have a way we can help these farmers and drink our coffee, too.

Traditionally when you wanted to buy coffee your options were to go to your grocery store and buy Maxwell House or one of it's competitors. In recent years the option of Star Bucks has popped up with more gourmet coffees. These options were limited and there wasn't an easy way for your average joe six pack coffee drinker to get coffee without going through those middle men. If they stopped drinking coffee it did no help to the coffee farmers.

To help the coffee farmers LWR has set up a Fair Trade Coffee Project that uses technology to bridge that middleman gap and help the coffee farmers. Through this project you can buy coffee online or by phone.

According to the fair trade project:

Fair trade shares the bounty of the coffee trade with those who grow the crop, helping them build a better future for themselves and their communities.

By working together and pooling their resources to form a cooperative, farmers can sell their coffee directly to international buyers without relying on middlemen. Through fair trade, farmers receive a fair price that covers their cost of production and guarantees them a living wage for their labors.

Fair trade far surpasses the temporary assistance provided to farmers through charity. Instead, the ongoing business of fair trade consistently contributes to the living conditions of farmers, their families and their communities. Cooperatives use profits from fair trade coffee sales in establishing community improvement programs such as training in organic farming, leadership development, schools and health clinics.

If you're a coffee drinker it might be time to switch your shopping habits.

What's technologically amazing to me about this project is that the Internet is a key to helping coffee farmers have a better life. It's technology at use in an unconventional way that helps people.

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