Fair Trade Coffee in Peru: An Economist's Notebook

Travelogue of a social scientist studying Fair Trade on a Fulbright in Peru. Personal anecdotes and interviews with coffee growers, importers, and exporters, as well as Andean cultural leaders, Limeña intellectuals, business people, professors, writers, and anyone else I meet on the journey. Fair Trade as both an alternative to the dominant model of globalization and as a way of life that is practiced by an increasing number of people who testify to its great benefits.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Amherst Fair Trade News and an Op-Ed

Before I include this Op-Ed I wrote for the Amherst Bulletin last fall, I should mention a few important news items:

- Amherst, MA is now the third Fair Trade Town in the United States, after Media, PA and Milwaukee, WI. The vote took place at last fall's Town Meeting. This achievement could not have taken place without the tireless efforts of Yuri Friman, coordinator of the Amherst Fair Trade Partnership Committee. 

- The Amherst Fair Trade Partnership Committee has established a sister organization relationship with Oro Verde, where I did my research. Yuri and his family recently spent a week in Lamas, exploring the coffee fields and meeting the farmers and co-op staff. They had a wonderful time. We are looking forward to future visits between the Pioneer Valley and Oro Verde! 

- UMass Students for Fair Trade has been re-established, thanks to the efforts of Rebecca Hamilton. We've got a few different events in the works, among them a Fair Trade Coffee House this spring. 

- The second year of Living Routes' "Fair Trade and Bio-Cultural Regeneration in the High Amazon," the brainchild of Prof. Frederique Apffel-Marglin, took place this past January. It marked the inauguration of Oro Verde's new Ecological Center for training and education. Though the program had a few difficulties, most notably student health and center logistics, it was an overall success. I think everyone learned a great deal.  

- The Amherst Fair Trade Partnership will be bringing Oro Verde farmer, Alto Shambuyacu community member and president of Oro Verde's Audit Committee (Consejo de Vigilancia), Manuel Tuanama Fasabi, to the Pioneer Valley area this May. We are very excited for his visit!

Here's a link to an Op-Ed I wrote in the Amherst Bulletin last fall promoting the Fair Trade Towns move. While I haven't had the time to promote the article to a wider media audience, I thought at the very least that you, dear readers, would appreciate it. 


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