Trade at Tufts
University has taken strides in addressing the coffee crisis by offering
Fair Trade coffee at a number of venues on campus. Both the Tower Café
and the student-run Oxfam Café serve Fair Trade coffee exclusively,
as does the newly revamped Hotung Café. In addition, Tufts Dining
offers at least one Fair Trade option daily at each dining hall, Brown
& Brew, the Campus Center Commons and Hodgdon Good To Go.
initiative to offer Fair Trade bananas at Tufts Dining operations is
Trade is a response to unfair trading practices that have jeopardized
the livelihood of small-scale farmers and their employees, as well as
the environment in which their products are produced. Along with handmade
crafts, Fair Trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and bananas are currently available
in the United States.
Fair Trade involves
the following principles:
- Producers receive
a fair price—a living wage. For commodities, farmers receive
a stable, minimum price.
- Forced labor
and exploitative child labor are not allowed.
- Buyers and producers
trade under direct long-term relationships.
- Producers have
access to financial and technical assistance.
- Sustainable production
techniques are encouraged.
- Working conditions
are healthy and safe.
- Equal employment
opportunities are provided for all.
- All aspects of
trade and production are open to public accountability.
do I know whether a product is Fair Trade?
for products with Fair Trade Certified and Fair Trade Federation labels.
Only these products are certified by the Fair Trade Labeling Organization
(FLO), indicating that they adhere to the Fair Trade principles.
does shade grown mean?
There is no standard enforceable label for shade grown coffee. Traditionally,
shade grown means that farmers plant under the rain forest canopy, as
opposed to planting in the full sun. Shade grown coffee is far less
detrimental to the environment than sun grown, because instead of entirely
cutting back the rainforest, farmers thin the natural canopy. There
is actually a shade spectrum or a shade gradient, wherein coffee grower
define their management practices as falling somewhere between rustic
(entirely shady) or full-sun (unshaded monoculture). The full sun coffee
opperations require larger amounts of pesticides and incur greater erosion
and soil acidification than shade grown operations. Shade grown coffee
tends to be less bitter and have lower yields than sun grown coffee.
Shade grown plants can live 25-30 years, often twice as long as plants
grown in the full sun. Unlike full sun monocultures, shade grown polyculture
practices encourage multiple varieties of beneficial fruits, nuts and
herbs. By definition, polycultures increase species diversity, helping
the farmers economically during depressed years and helping the environment
by stabilizing the ecosystem.
all Fair Trade products organic and shade-grown?
Not necessarily, nor are all organic and shade-grown products necessarily
fairly traded. Eighty
to eighty-five percent of Fair Trade coffee farmers do not use pesticides,
but some Fair Trade products are “conventionally” grown,
and these tend to be less expensive than the organic/shade-grown varieties.
However, all Fair Trade products are produced with sustainable farming
techniques, and the revenues from their sale are often used to educate
farmers about sustainable and organic farming practices.
I get domestic Fair Trade products?
Fair Trade currently works exclusively with imported products. However,
you can support local “fair trade” by buying sustainably
grown produce directly from small-scale farmers at farmer’s markets
or through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). You can also ensure
a living wage for farm employees by looking for union labels on produce.
Trade benefits over 550,000 coffee farmers in 22 countries and 42,000
cocoa farmers in 8 countries.
CEO’s annual salary: $2.5 million
Small-scale coffee farmer’s annual revenue: $300
annual revenue: $16 billion
African cocoa farmer’s annual revenue: $30-$108
Over 284,000 children on West African cocoa farms work on hazardous
In 2004, non-Fair Trade banana farmers were paid 2 cents per pound
of bananas, whereas Fair Trade banana farmers were paid 18 cents per
In 2001, coffee prices hit a 30-year low with farmers receiving only
$0.47 per pound of beans. Fair Trade guarantees farmers a minimum
price of $1.26 per pound.
Over 8 billion pounds of bananas are sold in the U.S. every year,
making them the most popular fruit in the country. That equals about
84 bananas for every American.
Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world. Only oil
is traded more.