Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Coffee Company responds...

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.

Paul Katzeff
CEO,
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"

Holly Moskowitz
Direct of National Sales and Outreach
Thanksgiving Coffee Company

5 comments:

Haid Dasalami said...

This is all pretty fascinating, American.

i don't want to call New Age Barbie a liar or anything, but I'd sure like to see Muslims working side by side with Christians and Jews. Hell, I'd just like to see Muslims working at all.

The "Thanksgiving Coffee Company." LOL. That's rich. Whatever will they think of next.

BTW, I appreciate the offer from grappledoctor, but he must not have noticed I don't run a blogroll. ;)

I will, however, bookmark your site and drop by from time to time to comment. I'm not certain how all this Blog Catalog stuff works yet (or even if I'm staying) but maybe I should join your neighborhood, whatever the hell that is.

Any advice would be appreciated. Far as I can tell from perusing your site, I'm among friends --neo-cons, Zionists, Jews, and what have you--here.

Best regards,

HAID

American Confucius said...

Hello Haid, thanks for stopping by and commenting. We hope you stop by often. As far as becoming members of different blog rolls and such, man, my partner in crime, grappledoctor (aka unapologeticsemite) knows more about that stuff than I do. He's been doing most of that type of work, in addition to putting up funny pictures of Obama. I'll ask him to comment more on your sought after advice.

Yea, but, regarding the post, I'm always very skeptical when people suggest Jews and radical Muslims could somehow "coexist." Unfortunately, stats appear to indicate that MOST Muslims are radical in their beliefs. Its just the very vocal ones that make themselves known and act upon it by strapping bombs to themselves. But I am heartened by the few true moderates who speak out against the radicals and cry foul about how their religion has been hijacked. But I must concede, if there's any way to bring Muslims together with Christians and Jews, it's going to be through capitalism. The only force that can pierce religious fanaticism is self-interest.

Having said that, I think Thanksgiving Coffee, if what they say is true, that they're bringing together the religions through their business, MAY be onto something.

Brainthorn said...

I think you are mistaken about capitalism bringing people of different religions together. Capitalism has no elixir to subjugate the bitter hatred that often exists between people, in fact, it becomes the petrol that fuels the fires of hate between people.

As a Jew you would know this one would think. Jews were quite well-to-do in Germany once and all of capitalism's might did not prevent their decimation. In fact, hatred overrode all sanity and it did not matter that Jews as business people, bankers and so on provided critically needed services to society.

But, blog on.

Hawk

American Confucius said...

brainthorn: thanks for your comment. Your point's well taken. I was sort of alluding to how capitalism and the "McDonald's effect," if you will, has been the greatest engine of democratization throughout the world. But on the other hand I guess history has shown (and we see it today) that religious fanaticism involves a metaphysical element that cannot be doused with capitalism and incentive for material wealth.

As to your example about Germany and the Jews (BTW I'm Korean; my friend unapologeticsemite is the Jew here), it seems to me the majority of the German populace, as well as much of the European populace, really didn't have that deep hatred toward the Jews, as Hitler did. Of course, I'm sure there was some anti-semitism (as there is today even in our country, mostly I think out fueled by a form of jealousy) but I think it was primarily the rise of Hitler and his effective demagoguery that really fueled the campaign to decimate European jewry. And his demagoguery I think was based, at least initially, on the Treaty of Versaille, which he, along with many Germans, thought was overly harsh. Once Hitler galvanized the German populace, he was able to sort of "add on" his anti-jew campaign, which, unfortunately, the German populace accepted (which was brilliant political posturing by Hitler, and is a strategy still being used today by political consultants). And of course once Hitler actually started the decimation process, it was all appeasement from thereon and no one really challenged him. But Hitler was absolutely necessary to carry out the campaign.

Contrarily, what we are against today is a much larger graver more pervasive threat from islamofascism that, although has a "head" (osama bin laden), the body would do just as well without it. So although I think your analogy to the context surrounding the Holocaust is inapt, I do agree with your suggestion that the forces of capitalism may be toothless against the hatred we see in today's greatest threat against humanity.

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