Paul Katzeff, CEO of the Thanksgiving Coffee Company, and Holly Moskowitz, the Director of National Sales and Outreach of the Thanksgiving Coffee Company commented on my post below, as did others affiliated with the company. I appreciate everyone's comments. I certainly think the most effective way to combat poverty is through supply and demand, as opposed to simply throwing money at the problem like government likes to do.
Anyways, the first comment is from Paul and the second one is from Holly. I thought their comments were worth putting up as separate posts.
"It is interesting to note the original comment that started this discussion. It was [American Confucius] that could not believe that something good was not something either fake or a lie to make money. It speaks to the depths our society has sunk . Good news has been co-opted so often by multinational corporations that we have begun to suspect anything that is done in the business sector is a ruse on the American People.
When I got the call from Uganda describing the multi racial make up of the coffee coop I believed it immediately. Because it was too good to be true, I explored it further and decided to purchase the coops entire crop which was then(2004) 37,500 pounds. I purchased it without tasting a sample because I believed that people with so much love to share, would be people who would give much attention and love to their coffee trees. It is that attention and love that creates good coffee . I flew to Uganda and met the farmers, signed a long term contract and began to spread the word about them and their amazing story of religious tolerance and love. This for me was the moment I had been unknowingly waiting for. The chance to use coffee to promote peace through prosperity. I thought I was God's gift to this coffee but I soon discovered that this coffee was God's gift to me and that I needed to consider just how important it was to market this coffee in a way that respected the intrinsic values it contained. It was not about the product, but about the people.
Who ever you are and where ever you are [American Confucius], it can be said that you have a deep rooted cynical bent that may be a healthy way to live in our demoralized society, but to really be effective in helping you become the righteous person you wish to become, you will be best served by leaning a bit more to the optimistic and do us all a favor and use your voice to help my little company of 30 people sell this coffee for the farmers who now produce 112,500 lbs yearly. Last year we were able to sell 25,000 lbs as Mirembe Kawomera and that generated $25,000 extra for the cooperative's members. Help us with your voice. This economic model is a fair and honest one you can trust.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company"
"Thank you for responding to the posts. First to comment on Marsha’s comment, I think her point is that the $1.61 is the “fair” cost of the coffee. If you buy conventional coffee, which is not certified Fair Trade, or if the farmers don’t have a Fair Trade buyer which means they end up selling at the local market to a middleman, the farmer could be making as little as 25 cents a pound for their coffee. So the fact that TCC pays above FT market price, it sort of is altruistic. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the world doesn’t pay a fair price, but we are trying to raise awareness. If you haven’t already done so, you should watch the movie “Black Gold.” It is about the international coffee trade and price crisis.
To answer your question, yes, the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish farmers work together on a regular basis. Each faith is represented on the Cooperative’s executive board. Through our profit-sharing partnership, the community built a school together, which children of the Cooperative, regardless of their faith, can attend. Earlier this year, the Peace Kawomera Cooperative and Thanksgiving Coffee Co received The Tufts Institute for Global Leadership’s Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. The award was given for innovative and powerful efforts on behalf of alleviating poverty, creating accountable and sustainable trade practices, encouraging community peace and promoting interfaith harmony.
This link is to the trailer of a documentary that is in progress on the coffee project. It’s 7 minutes long, and gives insight to what happens on the ground. http://www.mirembekawomera.com/movie"
Direct of National Sales and Outreach
Thanksgiving Coffee Company