By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
I Am The Enemy
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
If you had coffee, juice, sugar or fruit, chances are they were produced in a different part of the world, where people barely make ends meet.
“Before you’ve finished your breakfast this morning, you’ll have relied on half the world.” Those words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ring true for Americans, people who live in the wealthiest country in the world and generally take their possessions for granted.
Recently, workers and professors in the Brown Library and the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building began only brewing Fair Trade coffee, which they buy from the Fair Trade coffee company Cafe Campesino. The coffee costs slightly more than what one normally buys at the grocery store because it is organic and ensures the farmers in Central and Latin America are paid a minimum of $1 per pound. The amount might not appear significant, but it helps raise the quality of life of the farmers by allowing them to plan for their futures and pay for the education of their children.
Most indigenous farmers cannot compete on the world market against Goliath-like producers such as Wal-mart and are not given fair contracts or wages from their employers. A growing awareness of this injustice spurred the creation of Fair Trade, an international movement that ensures producers in poor countries receive fair wages and can live beyond their current hand-to-mouth existence.
According to www.maketradefair.com, this movement seeks to ensure that producers receive a fair price for their goods (one that covers the cost of production and guarantees a living income); long-term contracts that provide real security; and for many, support to gain the knowledge and skills that they need to develop their businesses and increase sales.
A new Library Commons is under construction in the ground floor of the Brown Library. A coffee shop will be built in the Commons, an addition long-asked for by students.
Fair Trade coffee should be served in the new Commons. As Christians, we should support the practice of helping the poor in our world and realize that even the smallest action, such as which coffee we decide to buy, has a drastic effect on our environment, social and economic systems.
Buying Fair Trade products, such as coffee, is a step toward creating a more socially conscience lifestyle, something the university should be concerned with instilling in its students during their time here.