Many of us couldn’t imagine starting the day without a cup of coffee. Fairtrade Canada states that the annual coffee consumption worldwide is estimated to be around 400 billion cups, or 12,000 cups per second. And with the steady rise of cafe culture – particularly in Vancouver’s East Village – you’ve got to wonder how many of those numbers belong to us.
But how often do you think about where your coffee is really coming from, or if it was produced ethically? For some 25 million coffee farmers, their work is a labor-intensive crop that often yields little financial return. Fair Trade is helping change that, offering a guaranteed minimum price, social and economic premiums, and much more. When Café Etico was born fifteen years ago, it was considered one of the first fair trade, organic coffees available in Vancouver. Now over a decade and a half later, Café Etico continue to support farmers by paying more than 20% the fair trade minimum, with 100% of their profits supporting human rights in Latin America through CoDevelopment Canada, a B.C.-based non-governmental organization that works for social change and global education in the Americas. Co have helped small-scale farmers in Nicaragua learn how to create organic, bio-diverse farms, where coffee grows amidst a variety of local food crops. Their shade-grown, bird friendly coffee crops look more like lush, green rain forests than your typical coffee farm, which means consumers get to enjoy a better-tasting coffee that’s healthier for the planet, farmers, and themselves. Kirsten Daub works as CoDev’s Education Program Director, and since 2006 she has run Café Etico’s daily operations. She spoke with us recently about her love of connecting farmers to coffee drinkers, and how she loves the authentic community spirit of the Hastings-Sunrise and Grandview Woodland neighborhoods. “It is just such a great neighborhood, with lots of local stores,” Kirsten says. “The area has a very unique feeling, like no other in Vancouver. It has a lot of character.” Kirsten is responsible for everything around the office, from coffee buying, marketing, and roasting management. She tells us that the people and businesses that make up Vancouver’s East Village make it a great place to come to work every day. “I like that I know my bank teller, and love that I can go to Baaad Annas , and all the diverse restaurants like Tamam” Café Etico products are available for purchase at local retailers such as Donald’s Market and East End Co-Op. For more information, visit etico.ca or codev.org