Fairtrade Fortnight and a visit from a special guest
Here in Simple Simons we stock a good range of Fairtrade products and we try the best we can to continuously expand our range. Fairtrade Fortnight ran from 25th February until the 10th of March this year and we were priveledged to have had a Fairtrade coffee producer all the way from Columbia in for a talk with us.
Sara Montoya is a coffee producer from a small community near Santuario in Columbia. She is an international business student but most of her life has been all about coffee and coffee production. Her family are coffee producers and have been for a long time, as it is their main source of income. Sara herself took over the administration of the farm in 2015 when her father fell ill. Sara works for the first Cooperative founded in Colombia (Cooperativa Departamental de Caficultores del Risaralda), which this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary. What a fantastic achievement! Out of 19,000 coffee growers in the region, 3,574 are currently members of this ever growing company with a coffee tradition whose principles are based on transparency, ethics and service to the community.
We were delighted to get the opportunity to have Sara speak in our health food shop on 7th February. We had a committee of Transition year students from the Abbey Vocational School and 30 students from Creevy National School in for the talk and the shop was absolutely buzzing that morning. We still can’t figure out how we squeezed over 40 people into our little shop but it was a fab experience. Some of our customers who were just in for their weekly shop as well also stopped to listen for a few minutes.
The children and teens were so well behaved and listened to Sara eagerly as she told them about her life as a coffee producer. She explained to us how much of a long process it is to actually yield coffee suitable to sell on; it takes about 3 years, so its a long time to invest without any money coming in to support the family. In the interim they sell plantain to try and generate some form of income. Can you imagine how much patience this would take, and how scary it would be to worry about the possiblilty of something going wrong?
A picture of where it all begins from Sara’s twitter page and the main lady herself.
Sara explained to us in more depth about what Fairtrade actually is. She spoke so well to the children, explaining that Fairtrade means fair for BOTH sides; meaning that they work under fair and safe conditions and in return they work hard to produce the best quality product that they can! They work responsibly; no minors allowed, no harmful chemicals etc. Because coffee absorbs a lot of scents etc you have to be careful what you surround it with so it doesnt get contaminated. Its so important to ensure the safety and welfare of children in countries like these as they are often exploited and made to work from a very young age, sacficing their education.
Sara’s visit was the day before International Womens Day and because we were celebrating all week we were delighted to have her represent Fairtrade as an Inspirational Woman. Thank you Sara for such a brilliant experience.