Earth Week at Peace Coffee has always been full of hopeful declarations, conspiring events, and uniting moments with our friends on the front lines of Mother Nature’s bidding. Over the years, we have had the privilege to partner with great earth advocates during this time like #30DaysOfBiking, local cafe partners (Common Roots and Birchwood Cafe) celebrating earth-conscious patrons, and Climate Generation’s annual events for young and old. This year our Earth Week was extra sweet as we welcomed one of our long-time trading partners Miguel Mateo from Manos Campesinas in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for a chilly Minnesotan visit.
Miguel was kind enough to share his expertise and perspective on many issues ranging from fair trade to climate change at two events this past week. On April 27th, Miguel sat on a panel of experts in the Fair Trade movement including River Cook from Equal Exchange and Ben Nauman from National Cooperative Grocers. The event was held at Mississippi Market’s East 7th Street location on Dayton’s Bluff in St. Paul. Focus was put on the importance of small-scale farmer partnerships from producing countries. It was easy for Miguel to speak directly about benefits of fair trade from his on the ground experience working with several cooperative groups of small-scale farmers in Southwestern Guatemala. We were privileged to learn from fair trader friends Equal Exchange and Alter Eco about how essential fair trading relationships are to sourcing other products like bananas and cacao.
So that farmers can survive
On April 28th, Miguel joined us in a conversation about our favorite things and how climate change is affecting production for farmers in all parts of the globe. Co-hosted by Climate Generation, the event gathered local earth-minded producers like Ames Honey, Bang Brewing, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Untiedts Vegetable Farm, and K’ul Chocolate. The need for change messages was clear, said best by Miguel, “In order to make investment for real change against fighting climate issues, companies and consumers must learn that production costs and sale prices will go up, but reflect an investment by farmers/producers to better practices so that these things (farmers and products) can survive.”
It goes both ways
Miguel said he was inspired to see the work that Peace Coffee is doing to share farmers’ stories from the mountains in Guatemala to the shelves of local co-ops and mindful cafes. He visited many places where his coffee is sold this past week including The Wedge and Seward Co-op, Hi-Lo Diner, and Birchwood Cafe. We were truly honored to hear Miguel’s insight and passion for coffee, farming, and the co-op members back home. He reminded us of how important it is that they work to satisfy our customers with the quality of their coffee and the strength of our partnership. “It goes both ways,” he kept saying, “we must work to grow together and measure how impactful our parts in the supply chain can be for the farmers, the coffee, and your customers.” We’ve been working with one of Manos Campesinas cooperative partners, APECAFORM, for nearly 17 years, and Miguel’s visit invigorated our desire to grow alongside of them in the years to come.