Monthly Archives: October 2011

212. CAFE success story: No looking back

2011-10-31 Comments

The Las Cruces cooperative was established in 1980 as part of El Salvador’s land reforms.  For more than 30 years, the hard-working men and women of Las Cruces produced high-quality Borbon and Pacas varietals from one of the most privileged coffee landscapes in El Salvador, nestled on the northern slope of the Ilametepec Volcano among […]

211. Fair Trade for All: A summary

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(NB: An updated version of this summary, including links to new content, was published on 10 November 2011.) A few weeks ago I was pulled into a meeting with Paul Rice from Fair Trade USA that sent this blog swerving off its normal path and into a collision course with controversy.  For the past month […]

210. Bill Fishbein debates Fair Trade for All

2011-10-24 No Comments

In 1962, President Kennedy gathered Nobel laureates from across the Western Hemisphere at his residence in Washington.  He welcomed them by saying that the White House had never had before seen such a gathering of intellect, with the possible exception of the evenings when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. Bill Fishbein may be no Thomas Jefferson, […]

209. Bill Fishbein against FT4All

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Bill Fishbein, co-founder of Coffee Kids and founder of the Coffee Trust, published two comments in response to my recent post on FTUSA’s Fair Trade for All vision that were too good not to run as posts unto themselves.  In the first, which appears below, he argues against FT4All in a long and passionate comment […]

208. Bill Fishbein for FT4All

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Bill Fishbein, co-founder of Coffee Kids and founder of the Coffee Trust, published two comments in response to my recent post on FTUSA’s Fair Trade for All vision that were too good not to run as posts unto themselves.  In the second, which appears below, he suggests that FT4All could generate benefits for smallholder farmers […]

207. Governance matters

2011-10-21 Comments

Fair Trade USA recently decided to break with Fairtrade International and change the rules governing Fair Trade Certification. Fairtrade International, for its part, decided to increase the representation of producers in its governing body.  These decisions shine some light on a dimension of the coffee trade that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated — coffee chain governance.  […]

206. Where there is no co-op

2011-10-13 Comments

Fair Trade USA set off a swirl of controversy with its recent decision to open the U.S. market for Fair Trade Certified coffee to estates.  Lost in the furor was the fact that Fair Trade for All won’t just open the door to estates.  It will also create new opportunities for unorganized farmers — a measure that has the […]

205. Fair Trade for All: Will a rising tide lift all boats?

2011-10-10 Comments

In a wide-ranging conversation with CRS staff last week, Fair Trade USA CEO Paul Rice defended the decision to break with FLO and open the U.S. market for Fair Trade Certified coffee to estates.  He suggested there are two theories about what will happen to smallholder farmer cooperatives once estates enter the market.  One theory is the zero-sum view that the estates’ […]

204. Paul Rice makes the case for Fair Trade for All

2011-10-06 Comments

Paul Rice, the Yale graduate who spent more than a decade as a swashbuckling cooperative organizer in wartime Nicaragua before he became the CEO of Fair Trade USA, spent three hours at CRS headquarters yesterday making the case for his most daring gamble yet — withdrawing from FLO and embarking on the ambitious new Fair […]

203. The R word

2011-10-03 Comments

Today I grab the third rail of coffee quality: the R word.  After nearly eight years of working for CRS on high-value Arabica coffee in Central America, I have relocated to Ecuador to direct the Borderlands Coffee Project, which will be helping to reactivate a Robusta coffee culture in decline in the Amazon.  We are […]