Friday, June 12, 2009

Crop to Cup

The CSA we signed up for this year Paisley Farms have co-partnered with croptocup a beyond fair trade coffee company that deals directly with family farmers and pays significant;y above the average per pound to help support these coffee farmers and their families. By joining our CSA we now are given a special rate of $6.99 a pound which is awesome cheap for coffee of such pedigree.

If you check out their site and go to the home page you too can order coffee from them directly.
The page I have linked to is the information "about us" page. On which they talk about their mandate:

How does Crop to Cup compare with "Fairtrade"?

A. While we support the Fairtrade movement, and seek to source certified beans when we must go outside of our relationships, we require neither Fairtrade nor organic certifications. Rather, we believe that respectful and credible relationships with the farmers are the best way to make an enduring difference through coffee. Our goal is not to compare ourselves with FT, but if you are looking for a point of reference, it would look like this:

Fair Trade

  • FT set minimum payment to farmers: ?
    • There is no published data on this
  • FT set minimum payment to cooperatives:
    • $1.25 / lb of green coffee*
    • This is a flat-rate applied across regions; this is paid to a farmer's cooperative.
    • Includes farmer pay and other costs such as those for marketing, transport, processing, etc.
  • FT support for community projects: $.10 / lb of green coffee*
    • Ten cents per pound is set aside to support community project

Crop To Cup

  • C2C market-driven minimum payment to farmers: $1.11/ lb of green coffee
    • We ensure that farmers receive 20% above market-rates; this allows farmers to experience the upsides of selling specialty coffee.
  • C2C payment to cooperatives/export partners: $1.48 / lb of green coffee
    • Includes farmer pay of $1.11 and cost of purchasing, transport, processing, administration and export (i.e. costs separate from farmer pay).
  • C2C support for community projects: avg. of $.37/lb of green coffee (5% of C2C’s coffee sales) + 10% of profits.
    • Support for community projects is connected to selling price of farmers’ roasted coffee in specialty coffee consuming markets.

The chief difference between FT and C2C is that FT works at the cooperative level, meaning that the costs of purchasing, transport, processing, administration, certification and export are taken out of the $1.25 paid to the cooperative before this amount reaches the farmer.

C2C’s payment practices, on the other hand, are based on market prices and actual payment to individual farmers. We ensure that individual farmers receive a 20% premium over market prices. For the most recent crop, this equates to $.88 / lb of parchment or $1.11 / lb of green coffee.

We outsource the other in-country services (processing, transport, export, etc) on behalf of the farmer, then reinvest 5% of our roasted coffee sales and 10% of overall profits to give them a stake in the business.

While we do have a nonprofit organization associated with us (, this is no charity. Our coffee is specialty washed Arabica, and our relationships are packaged into value-adding marketing materials and customer loyalty functionalities so that you can get much more out of your coffee.

*According to Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International “Pricing and Premium: VALID FROM 1 JUNE 2008”

To my way of thinking it is like supporting a farmer at the market who you know and trust and who doesn't have the money to become certified organic nor the desire since the Bush administration has so degraded the standard and since Obama seems less then interested in changing it any time soon. In part because big Agri business - Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta to name are so wealthy and influential anything they don't want or like they can de facto obstruct or stop or so bastardize that unless you are prepared for a battle it may be best to leaves things as they are. A sad state of affairs if you ask me, but there it is, the bottom line rules.

Anyway, I digress, check out these crop to cup people and see what you think, meanwhile I'm going to sign up and get some beans and do a taste test. I'll get back to you.

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