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September-October 2011


A Cooperative Coffees e-Newsletter for and about Fair Trade

September-October 2011

In this issue...

Poker beanies

All work and no play makes Chris (Higher Grounds) and
Bill (Cafe Campesino/CoopCoffees) dull boys.
There were plenty of hands of coffee bean poker
played during the off-hours at our AGM in the Yukon


Reach out!

Outreach and Communications
-Cooperative Coffees AGM Report!
-SCAA Course at the Labo Equitable

Roaster News
-Vermont Artisan Recovers from Irene's Wrath
-On The Ground Launches Run Across Palestine!
-Equator Coffee Roasters Expanding!

Producer News
-A Tragedy for Gumutindo
-In memory of Luis Carlos Mestizo

Travel: Where in the World is Coop Coffees?
-Exploring Ecuador
-Visiting Northern Peru
-Maya Vinic in Chiapas, Mexico 
-Just Coffee delegation to Nicaragua: Jan 17-23, 2011

The Latest in the Fair Trade movement
-FTUSA splits with FLO
-2012 Declared International Year of Cooperatives!
-Fair World Project Launches the Be Fair Campaign!
-Reverse Trick-or-Treating this Halloween
-Mark your Calendars: 2012 FTF conference!

Reach out!

As Autumn leaves begin to fall, we are reminded of some harsh realities around the world. This has been a month of shocking and sometimes tragic news. And here at the Cooperative Coffees communications office, we have received a double-dose -  with sad news coming in from producer partners and roaster members alike. Two important and beloved leaders of two of our producer partners, Gumutindo in Uganda and Fondo Paez in Colombia, have perished, leaving behind an immeasurable loss in the lives of their respective families, cooperatives and communities. Meanwhile, disaster struck a bit closer to home with the passing of Hurricane Irene. In Vermont, the flooding of the Winooski river led to a large material loss in the town of Waterbury, home of our member roaster Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea. Thankfully though, no life was lost and the reconstruction is advancing.

On a more optimistic note, the Cooperative Coffees AGM held in Whitehorse, YK was a truly extraordinary event with positive direction coming from it; and roaster owner/member Equator Coffee Roasters in Alamonte, Ontario opened a sleek new roastery and coffee house in their home town. We also bring good news from our travels, with very productive and informative reports from our delegations returning from Peru, Ecuador and Chiapas. Be sure to check them out.

In the fair trade world at large, the skies have opened and many active fair traders and movement observers alike are pouring down commentary on the news that Fair Trade USA has broken away from FLO.  The new "Fair Trade for All" spokespersons say this will streamlining certification and double the impact as larger-volume buyers and growers are increasingly brought into the system.  "Interesting times in the wonderful world of fair trade..." is a phrase we hear being thrown around a lot lately. Yes, interesting indeed!

Enjoy your read!

Let us know what changes you'd like to see in this newsletter by emailing us at

Outreach and Communications

 Cooperative Coffees AGM in the Yukon

Group Shot

For our 2011 AGM we set up shop in Whitehorse, Yukon in northern Canada (is there any better place to cool off and escape that late summer heat?) at the beautiful facilities of Bean North and at the Sundog Retreat for three days of lively exchange and engaging debate August 18 - 21.



SCAA Cupping Judge Course at Coop Coffee's Montreal Lab: October 17-21, 2011!

Cupping COurse

There are only a few spaces left in the upcoming SCAA Cupping Judge Course. Led by specialty coffee quality controller and certified trainer, Mane Alves of Coffee Lab International. The course offers training for and administers some 20+ examinations in order to become a certified SCAA Cupping Judge and/or Q-grader.

Come enjoy the fall in Montreal and watch the leaves turn on Mt Royal Park through our spectacular view at lab. What better time to enjoy Montreal in all its glory AND become an SCAA cupping judge?  Don't miss this wonderful opportunity!

Read more about the course and logistics here...

Roaster News

Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Recovers from Irene´s Wrath

cleaning up


The weekend of August 27-28 the whole eastern coast of the United States and Canada braced itself for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, with many states issuing hurricane warnings and declaring states of emergency. But it was in Vermont, where Irene hit with a vengeance, overflowing the Winooski River from its banks and flooding the town of Waterbury, home of our member roaster Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea and Coffee Lab International. The flooding left a mess of mud and destruction in its wake, and there remains a ton of work and reconstruction ahead.  Thankfully, however, no lives were lost.
Click here to read more ...

Two New Projects for On The Ground!




Similar to 2010s Run Across Ethiopia, the Run Accross Palestine will raise funds and awareness for the fair trade olive farmers of Palestine. Funds raised from RAP will have several immediate impacts including purchasing and planting thousands of olive trees, and provide scholarships for the children of Palestinian olive farmers.

They have re-launched a new effort as part of the Chiapas Water Project. It was founded in 2005 after a group of local (Northern Michigan) residents visited Chiapas Mexico and witnessed the illness and poverty perpetuated by lack of access to potable water. Parterning with volunteers on the ground, all donations will be used exclusively to build appropriate technology water systems.”

Check out On the Ground!

Equator opens a new Roastery and Coffee Shop!

Equator New Roastery cropped


Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Equator Coffee Roasters!

September 17th they inaugurated their new roasting facility and coffee shop in beautiful Almonte, Ontario. We had the pleasure  to visit them for their Grand Opening event and boy was it bustling!
Check out more pics of the grand opening on Equator's Facebook page...

Check out Equator's website...

Producer News

A tragedy for Gumutindo


Cooperative Coffees laments the loss of Lovis Masiga and his family. Mr. Masiga was a founding member of the Gumutindo Cooperative in Uganda. On August 28, 2011 a destructive mudslide carried away his house along with the nine lives of all family members inside of it... In the following letter, managing director of the cooperative Willington Wamayeye, describes the pain and the loss thatcoop members are now facing... We send our deepest condolences to the Gumutindo Cooperative.

Read More…

In memory of Luis Carlos Mestizo Condo

Luis Carlos

On September 12, 2011 the life of Luis Carlos Mestizo, president of our long standing Colombian producer partner Fondo Paez, was violently taken. Luis Carlos was intercepted in broad daylight by two gunmen on a motorcycle as he made his way from the local bank in Santander de Quilchao to a machine warehouse with a bag with money to purchase new processing equipment for the association. Whether the attack was premeditated remains unknown.

Read more..


Travel: Where in the world is Coop Coffees?

Exploring Ecuador!

Dona Elvira

From August 3 to the 12th of this year, Conscious Coffees owner Mark Glenn, along with Kickapoo Coffees roaster Scott Noe visited Ecuador on a fact finding trip as part of our 2011 USAID-sponsored Farmer to Farmer training and exchange program.

The purpose of the trip was to better understand basic challenges with the farmer groups in Ecuador, identify their next steps to help them improve market position... as well as potential local allies to help them get there.

Click here to read about the trip...

Visiting Northern Peru

At the Cepi Lab

The crew at the Cepicafe cupping lab

Also as part of F2F 2011 a dynamic team comprising of Just Coffee's producer relations coordinator Julia Baumgartner, Third Coast Coffee roaster Clay Roper, and Ariel Chait, a masters student at UC Berkeley School of Information visited CEPICAFE and CENFROCAFE to support the development of their national roasting project. Meanwhile Ariel helped the groups revamp their inventory management system. Check out Julia's reports   Reflecting on Fair Trade in Peru (Just Coffee)...    and Clay's report Northern Peru 2011: #1 Cepicafe and the Trials of the Market and #2 Diversity (Third Coast Coffee).

Helping Maya Vinic set up shop!

Chris, Pablo and Chuck

And last-but-not-least, we had a dynamic team travel to Chiapas, Sept 4 - 11. to assist producer partner Maya Vinic wade through the trials and tribulations of opening a cooperatively run cafe in San Cristobal de las Casas. Matt Earley (Just Coffee), Chuck Slaughter (Heine Bros), Chris Treter (Higher Grounds) and Cooperative Coffees E.D. Janet Utecht met with Maya Vinic for a number of workshops on coffee roasting, barista training, coffee house management and SWOT analysis of this great new project!  Maya Vinic is hoping for a December inauguration, so stay tuned for more information!

Just Coffee's upcoming delegation to Nicaragua

LaFem and Just Coffee

Just Coffee organizes delegations to grower cooperatives in Latin America several times a year. These delegations give Just Coffee costumers, coffee drinkers, travelers, students, curious souls, or other interested folks a look into what goes on behind fair trade and the long process of coffee from the seedling to your cup.

From January 17 to 23 2012, Just Coffee will be travelling to Estelí, Nicaragua to meet with La FEM women's cooperative. 

If interested contact Julia Baumgartner at
For more info on Just Coffee's delegations click here...

The latest in the Fair Trade movement

Fair Trade USA divorces from FLO




There is significant news now rippling through the fair trade world, which has left its future murkier than ever. Fair Trade USA(formerly Transfair USA) announced its decision to resign from FLO (Read the Press Release here).  The rupture comes about due to differing visions, but more specifically, it comes about due to the launching of Fair Trade USA's Fair Trade for All campaign. The campaign seeks to double the amount of certified organizations by 2015 by instituting more lax requirements, which will permit larger estates and corporations to vying for certification. The outcome? Some say more" fair trade for all"... other say further dilution of the significance of the term "fair trade."

To read the Latin-American Small-scale Farmer network click here for the CLAC -RED Cafe response

Stay tuned to see how this facsinating process unfolds.....

2012 is the International Year of Cooperatives!



The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, in particular recognizing their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/64/136 encourages all member States, the United Nations and all relevant stakeholders to take advantage of the IYC to promote cooperatives and raise awareness of their contribution to social and economic development and promote the formation and growth of cooperatives.

Check out the IYC website!

Fair World Project launches the Be Fair Campaign



The Fair World Project's Be Fair Campaign aims to activate and empower consumers to encourage conventional brands and corporations to source Fair Trade ingredients and products. The Be Fair Campaign will educate conventional brands and corporations about Fair Trade standards and certification options.

Beyond sourcing token Fair Trade ingredients, Be Fair urges conventional brands: To make long-term commitments to producer groups, to steadily increase the percentage of Fair Trade ingredients in their product line and to accurately communicate the benefits of Fair Trade to their consumers.

Check out their website...

Reverse Trick-or-Treating is back this Halloween!



In its fifth consecutive year, Reverse Trick-or-Treating is back to spread awareness of exploitation in the cocoa industry and to inform grown-ups about the benefits of fair trade.

Trick-or-Treaters will be handing Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution.

To learn more and how to participate, visit the Global Exchange Reverse Trick-or-Treating website...

Save the date! the 2012 Fair Trade Federation Annual Conference!



The 2012 Fair Trade Federation conference will be held in Bellevue, Washington from May 21 to 23, 2012 

Visit their website for registration info...

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