Each season, Coffee Rumors highlight one product and producer in our Fair Trade food subscription. We’ve previously featured everything from rice and quinoa, shea butter, and a variety of fruits and nuts. This season, we are excited to feature Thanksgiving Coffee roasters and their Peace Blend coffee. It’s a story of hope and restoration over a communal love of coffee, and it’s one we couldn’t wait to share!
In the face of coffee farmers being cheated at every turn, Fair Trade coffee offers a chance for farmers and families to improve their livelihood. Coffee Rumors’s producer, Thanksgiving Coffee, is a family-run artisan coffee roaster in Northern California that buys fair trade, sustainably-produced coffee from small farms and cooperatives around the world. Fair Trade coffee approach is supported in the major cities of the USA, while some roasters have been adopting this trade model just recently. In the near future we will be posting the story of Full Cup Flavor coffee roaster of Pittsburg, PA.
While all the stories from Thanksgiving Coffee–whose farms span from Latin and South America to Africa and Indonesia–bring tales of restoration and hope to coffee farmers around the world; it’s their Peace Blend Coffee that really brings home the power of Fair Trade:
Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee explains that, before he even tasted the coffee, he knew he wanted the story. He got a call from a volunteer within the Jewish Bantus of Uganda, describing the newly formed cooperative “There are Muslims and Christians in this coffee cooperative,” she continued. “They are all working together. It’s one community. The co-op president is Jewish, the vice-president is Christian, and the treasurer is Muslim.”
It all began in 2003 when JJ Keki, a Ugandan coffee farmer walked door to door asking his Jewish, Christian, and Muslim neighbors to leave behind a history of conflict, and unite to face their struggle against poverty caused by low coffee prices. Their community of 3rd and 4th generation coffee farmers were struggling to make a living off the low prices offered by the local market. They formed a cooperative to build lasting prosperity in their village and to spread a message of peace throughout the world. They name the cooperative Mirembe Kawomera, which means “Delicious Peace” in the Luganda language. More than 10 years since these humble beginnings, the Peace Kawomera Cooperative has over 1,000 members and farmers receive prices four times higher than what they were previously paid. This enables them to send their children to school, start savings accounts, and reinvest in their farms. Together, the farmers have succeeded in doing something that none thought was possible: bring peace, restoration and cooperation to their communities through their love of coffee.
While coffee is not usually included in our seasonal box, we are delighted to provide a small sampler of Peace Blend Coffee courtesy of Thanksgiving Coffee Company. When you drink our Peace Blend, you can – as Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee, puts it– “toast ‘peace’ each morning over a cup of Mirembe Kawomera coffee!“