Peace Spokes - Peace Coffee

  1| Partners for Just Trade

  2| Llamas Make Good Friends

  3| Simple, Good and Tasty

  4| Lifeworks+PC=Teamwork

  5| IATP Update

  6| Crafty Corner

  7| Roaster's Corner

  8| Quote of the Month

As the holiday season approaches, the Peace Coffee Crew is thinking more and more about the value of partnerships. Not only about our associations with producers in the coffee lands, but also about our partnerships with like-minded organizations like Partners for Just Trade, the local food blog/event group Simple, Good and Tasty (we're doing special coffees and tastings for them) and Lifeworks, a group that helps folks with special needs, whose members help label our bags. Also in this issue, you'll find an IATP Update from Andrew Ranallo, a piece about our new friend, Susana the Llama, a new Crafty Corner and a new Roaster's Corner. It's an issue full to bursting, so grab a mug of your favorite Peace Coffee brew, kick back and read on...

by Carrie Hawthorne, Director, Partners for Just Trade

Partners for Just Trade (PJT) is a non-profit organization based in St. Louis that connects producers from Peru, Cameroon, and Nicaragua with consumers in the States. PJT was fortunate enough to visit Peace Coffee this past spring with two of our Peruvian artisans, Ayde Riveros and Evangelina Pizarro during our Fair Trade tour, Resonating Change: Connecting Communities through Fair Trade.

While the visit was definitely too quick (a brief 24 hours), we enjoyed seeing Peace Coffee's operations, eating ice cream at the Birchwood Café and participating in a great talk at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. It was valuable for Ayde and Eva to observe a different side to Fair Trade, too. After only experiencing the handcraft perspective of Fair Trade in Peru, the visit helped to awaken their understanding that they are a part of an international, multi-industry movement (that is growing each year – woohoo!).


(Back to Headlines)
Newsletter Special - 15% off your entire order.

We are excited to introduce our good friend Susana the Llama. We first met her when the Resonating Change Tour came through Minneapolis this past May. During her week-long stay, she quickly won the hearts of everyone at Peace Coffee. Her adorable smile, big eyes, funky hair, incredible plushness & soft pink-colored cotton body make her an irresistible stuffed animal. Her perfection is due to the knitting & design skills of a women’s fair trade artisan group in Peru called El Mercurio. Each year this group makes many adult and baby stuffed cotton llamas for export to various Fair Trade organizations & businesses. 

It was very hard to part with Susana after the MN portion of her US tour. Knowing how sad we were, the tour organizers arranged for photos of Susana to be sent to us on her cross-country adventure. From the look of the snapshots, she had a great time sipping beer, sailing on a yacht, biking around Lake Michigan and much more. After the tour ended in mid-May, we were thrilled to receive an unmarked box on our doorstep with Susana the llama inside!It didn’t take long for Susana to get comfortable in the Twin Cities. But like most of us when we move far from our hometown, we start to miss our family, friends & familiarity of place.

Luckily for Susana we had a trip planned to visit Peru in August. She traveled all the way to the Pangoa Cooperative. Here she received just as warm, if not warmer, a welcome than we did. The children at Pangoa LOVED Susana. She quickly become everybody’s favorite snuggle buddy & playmate. Llamas are not common in coffee-growing regions of Peru, so the kids at Pangoa treated her as a one-of-a-kind guest in their community.

Seeing their faces light up with such joy around Susana (what kid doesn’t love a stuffed animal to love, hug and play with!) we decided the next time we visit we’d take as many stuffed llamas as possible. This is where you come in: For every stuffed llama you buy, Peace Coffee will match your purchase, llama to llama.

We’ll deliver them on our next visit to Pangoa in January 2010. Everyone who helps us reach our goal of 100 or more llamas for Pangoa will receive a photo from one of the kids who gets a llama.

(Back to Headlines)

by Lee Zukor

I started the website Simple, Good, and Tasty in March of this year to help my family eat more local, sustainable, organic, and Fair Trade food. I wasn't interested in spending my whole life figuring out what to eat, my wife and I just knew we wanted to feed ourselves and our kids better. After just a few weeks, it became painfully clear that making good food choices was going to be a lot of work. I didn't know what food to buy, what books to read, what restaurants to eat at, or what CSA to join. I wasn't an insider in the local food movement, and I was pretty frustrated.

So even though my goal was to avoid spending my whole life figuring out what to eat, that's exactly what I did. I created a directory of businesses that serve local and organic food in the Twin Cities. I added farmers markets, co-ops, grocery stores, farms, CSA programs, wine and beer producers, and other services, like caterers and backyard farmers. I created a calendar of local food events to make it easy to figure out what was going on in town. And I kept updating the site content, providing new, actionable information about local food every single day.

One of the most fun things we do at Simple, Good, and Tasty is host monthly events in the Twin Cities. We've done all sorts of things, from a pig roast and potluck on Boom Island to a "know your farmer" dinner at Lucia's. The events give people a great chance to eat unique, specially-made locally-raised meals, and to meet loads of great people. They're open to anyone and everyone, they usually sell out quickly, and they're super fun.

Another great thing about Simple, Good, and Tasty is that I get to meet all sorts of fun people, like the ones at Peace Coffee. I'm thrilled to be partnering with them on some exciting coffee-related events in the coming months. I also have a goal of traveling with Peace Coffee to meet the amazing organic and Fair Trade coffee farmers that harvest my morning cup of coffee. I'll let you know when I get my ticket to Colombia.

Please take a look at Simple, Good, and Tasty and join our mailing list for weekly updates.

Thanks for supporting local, organic, and Fair Trade food. I hope to see you soon.

(Back to Headlines)

The opportunity to make a difference is what drew many of us to our jobs at Peace Coffee. Working for more than just a paycheck feels good. The people at Lifeworks, a local nonprofit organization that finds meaningful work and social opportunities for adults with disabilities, think so too. So when they contacted us about employing their personnel, our ears perked up. We were interested. But, we were also fully staffed. Fast forward a few months. Demand for our 12-oz bags of coffee was growing, and our staff was spending an increasing amount of time labeling individual bags for distribution. We decided it was time to call Lifeworks.

In March 2009, a team of Lifeworks staffers began labeling our bags. Five or six associates work two to four days a month, labeling approximately 1,500 bags of coffee each day. They do a fantastic job and have become an important part of our team. Like the rest of our staff, they often get a bag of coffee to take home.  Even though no one on the Lifeworks team drinks coffee, it's always gone to good use with friends and family.


(Back to Headlines)

by Andrew Ranallo, Communications Assistant at IATP

As a child, I was always leery of school lunch. I remember having to choose—frequently—between "Mr. Rib" or "Pizza Patty," like a divorced couple fighting for custody of my lunch tray. Most of my concerns in elementary school centered on the flavor, or the mystery—"what is a 'Mr. Rib?'" It never even occurred to me to wonder where it came from. IATP's Local Foods program, in partnership with the Minnesota School Food Service Association, has been working to expand farm to school programs across the state. By connecting small and mid-size farmers with local schools, farm to school programs can improve student nutrition, educate children about where their food comes from and how it is grown, and support local economies and farmers.

Well, our Minnesota farm to school initiative has caught the eye of USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan who came to tour the St. Paul School Commissary this month. She discussed the need for establishing and expanding farm to school programs across the nation—declaring St. Paul and Minnesota leaders in this effort.

Hairnets donned and lunch trays filled, the day was a great success. You can see pictures on IATP's Facebook page and videos on YouTube. This fall and early next year, Congress will renew the Child Nutrition Act—an important opportunity to expand resources for farm to school programs: here's to hoping Mr. Rib doesn't get a vote.

For more information on Kathleen Merrigan's visit, take a look at our blog.

Andrew Ranallo now packs his own lunches and enjoys knowing where they come from. 

(Back to Headlines)

Warm up on blustery days with the spicy, robust flavor of our Snowshoe Brew, our newsletter special this week. Order it, or any of our coffees, teas or peace gear and get 15% off your entire order (before shipping charges are added). To get your discount, enter SNOWSHOE in the Promo Box at checkout. Offer ends December 11th.

(Back to Headlines)

Sue Murphy, our crafter extraordinaire, has turned burlap into high fashion! This burlap skirt is satin lined with a back zipper. It has perfect construction and beautiful placement of the bag stencils and patterns. Sue's made two of these for friends but is not ready to release them on the market. Maybe this will inspire Project Runway to do a fashion show out of burlap next season! We'd be happy to provide them with all the "burlap fabric" they need.

(Back to Headlines)

by Keith Tomlinson, Peace Coffee Head Roaster

Ready or not here it comes! The morning of daylight savings time, I found myself absentmindedly sitting in front of The Wedge Co-op, an hour earlier than they were scheduled to open, enjoying the brilliant sunlight. But that afternoon I was quickly disillusioned when, around 3:30 pm, the sun was hanging in the sky around thirty degrees away from the horizon, mere minutes away from setting.

I love the winter. I love the quiet and the calm that the snow brings. I love the clothes I get to wear. I love that I never have to worry about overheating like I do in the summer. I love the smell of squash cooking in my oven and dinner of soup paired with butter melting on freshly baked bread. And I love the warm beverages, which of course means coffee.

Read on...

(Back to Headlines)

"Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful."

~ Alice Walker

(Back to Headlines)

Peace Spokes is a monthly publication from the crew at Peace Coffee.
ph 612-870-3440
ph 888-324-7872
fax 612-252-1821