Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee
In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel, and cultural anthropology, author Dean Cycon brings readers face-to-face with the real people who make our morning coffee ritual possible.
Second only to oil in terms of its value, the coffee trade is complex with several levels of middlemen removing the 28 million growers in fifty distant countries far from you and your morning cup. And, according to Cycon, 99 percent of the people involved in the coffee economy have never been to a coffee village. They let advertising and images from the major coffee companies create their worldview.
Cycon changes that in this compelling book, taking the reader on a tour of ten countries in nine chapters through his passionate eye and unique perspective. Cycon, who is himself an amalgam-equal parts entrepreneur, activist, and mischievous explorer-has traveled extensively throughout the world's tropical coffeelands, and shows readers places and people that few if any outsiders have ever seen. Along the way, readers come to realize the promise and hope offered by sustainable business principles and the products derived from cooperation, fair pricing, and profit sharing.
Cycon introduces us to the Mamos of Colombia-holy men who believe they are literally holding the world together-despite the severe effects of climate change caused by us, their "younger brothers." He takes us on a trip through an ancient forest in Ethiopia where many believe that coffee was first discovered 1,500 years ago by the goatherd Kaldi and his animals. And readers learn of Mexico's infamous Death Train, which transported countless immigrants from Central America northward to the U.S. border, but took a horrifying toll in lost lives and limbs.Rich with stories of people, landscapes, and customs, Javatrekker offers a deep appreciation and understanding of the global trade and culture of coffee.
In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world.
What is Fair Trade Coffee?Coffee prices paid to the farmer are based on the international commodity price for coffee (the "C" price) and the quality premium each farmer negotiates. Fair Trade provides an internationally determined minimum floor price when the C plus premium sinks below $1.26 per pound for conventional and $1.41 for organics (that's us!). As important as price, Fair Trade works with small farmers to create democratic cooperatives that insure fair dealing, accountability and transparency in trade transactions. In an industry where the farmer is traditionally ripped off by a host of middlemen, this is tremendously important.
Cooperatives are examined by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), or the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), European NGOs, for democratic process and transparency. Those that pass are listed on the FLO Registry or become IFAT members. Cooperatives provide important resources and organization to small farmers in the form of technical assistance for crop and harvest improvement, efficiencies in processing and shipping, strength in negotiation and an array of needed social services, such as health care and credit. Fair Trade also requires pre-financing of up to sixty percent of the value of the contract, if the farmers ask for it. Several groups, such as Ecologic and Green Development Fund have created funds for pre-finance lending.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
An eye-opener. This book was informative, but a slow read. Some chapters were fascinating and grabbed me from the start, some were overly political and lost me completely. I've been picking this up and putting it down again for several months so it's quite a relief to reach the end. On the other hand, I have full respect for the work of Dean Cycon, founder of Dean's Beans. He has travelled to the source of his supplies and treats his farmers with compassion and dignity. The chapters each refer to one visit, one area of the world, dating between 1997 and 2007. I had no idea there were so many coffee producing areas. Dean's main message to the farmers is to work together to cut out the money grabbing middle-man and, via co-operatives, to produce Free Trade coffee of uniform quality. To this end he supports them by providing fairly inexpensive equipment that facilitates the process of hulling the beans and returns a percentage of the profits directly to the farmers for improvements within the area. This may be schooling, social improvements, wells etc. Some parts are quite distressing, such as the Death Train, which refers to a freight train that runs from the border of Guatemala and Mexico, right up to the US border. It is swarming with desperate people who are unable to feed their families due to the poor prices they earn for their coffee. These people travel in all weathers, squeezed betwen carriages or sitting on cargo. Meanwhile others use violence and extortion to steal what little these poor people may be carrying. And there's no guarentee of work when they arrive. Many fall from the train and are injured on the line, losing limbs or even their lives. Fortunately other chapters are upbeat, such as Dean's visit to Papua New Guinea. These people are self sufficient in food production and coffee is just a part of their produce. They greeted Dean with song and dance, many of them plastered with mud of various colours. I certainly learned a lot and am now better informed about the source of the coffee I drink. 3 stars for the book itself but 5 stars for the great work that Dean Cycon is doing around the world.
Review: Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade CoffeeUser Review - Goodreads
I didn't finish. His style just never grabbed me, but I appreciate what he is doing.
Fair Trade: The Challenges of Transforming Globalization
Laura T. Raynolds,Douglas Murray,John Wilkinson
No preview available - 2007