Monthly Archives: November 2011

223. Clarification on NYT reference to CRS

2011-11-28 Comments

Last week, The New York Times ran a story on the rupture between Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International and its implications for the Fair Trade movement.  In my post on the story, I noted that the reporter made a confusing reference to our role in the coffee certification process: “For consumers who pay attention […]

222. CAFE success story: Water works

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This post was contributed by my colleague Robyn Fieser, the Regional Information Officer for CRS in Latin America and the Caribbean. – – – – – Running a 500-acre, organic coffee farm deep in western El Salvador’s mountains has posed plenty of challenges over the years for the 89 members of Las Colinas coffee cooperative.  […]

221. The New York Times frames the FT4All debate

2011-11-23 Comments

When FTUSA decided a few months ago to fundamentally rewrite the rules of Fair Trade for the U.S. market, the news hit the Fair Trade fold with all the force of an earthquake.  The aftershocks have been making themselves felt for weeks: position statements by smallholder farmer networks, governance shake-ups at competing certifiers, ranging debates […]

220. Telling stories from origin

2011-11-22 Comments

Competition is intensifying at origin, and not just for roasters trying to source extraordinary coffees.  It is true in the international development field, too.  Donors are demanding more accountability and more compelling evidence that their investments are generating social impact. In the area where I have focused most of my professional energies over the past […]

219. CAFE success story: Seeing is believing in El Salvador

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The El Pinal cooperative was established in 1980.  During the first 30 years of its existence, the organization paid for its coffee to be processed at a commercial mill.  This meant higher operating costs and less control over the quality of their coffee.  When the CAFE Livelihoods project started in early 2009, we met with […]

218. CAFE success story: Quality of coffee, quality of life

2011-11-15 No Comments

The 5 de junio cooperative in Nicaragua was arguably the most conspicuous success story during the three years of the CAFE Livelihoods project.  The cooperative took innovative approaches to improve both the quality of its coffee and the quality of life of the communities where its members live, scoring impressive gains on both counts.

217. The FT4All debates: A summary

2011-11-10 Comments

On Halloween, I published a post summarizing everything written here on the Fair Trade for All debate and promised to leave this issue alone for a while.  With new information continuing to emerge in this evolving process, it has proven harder than I thought to keep my word.  Yesterday I published three more new posts […]

216. The CRS Coffeelands Blog turns 2

2011-11-09 No Comments

Today the CRS Coffeelands Blog celebrates the second anniversary of its inaugural post back on 9 November 2009.  The blog has managed to turn our experience in CAFE Livelihoods and other projects at origin into more than 200 original posts over the past two years — posts that have  generated thoughtful discussion among leading figures […]

215. Finding balance in the FT4All debates

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Just over a month ago, Fair Trade USA CEO Paul Rice sat down for a few hours with CRS staff to make the case for Fair Trade for All, the controversial initiative that is re-writing the rules for Fair Trade Certified coffee in the United States.  I published the notes of that discussion here, and […]

214. From a single origin, different paths to market

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Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government in Nicaragua may get mixed reviews these days from voters on its commitment to democracy.  But during the 1970s, the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua was a romantic crusade against dictatorship that united diverse elements of Nicarguan society and served as a beacon to many young people around the world.  During the […]