Simon Fell > Its just code > Black Gold - The Movie

Friday, April 21, 2006

Make sure your coffee is Fair Trade. Read on for why...
By chance while we were in Portland, the Longbough film festival was screening the Portland premier of Black Gold, the screening being promoted by Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I wasn't really sure what to expect but given my thirst for coffee knowledge it seemed like a gift from the scheduling gods. Wow, what we got was a movie that moved me to my very core, even now just thinking about it brings tears to my eye again. Its a documentary about Ethiopian coffee farmers and how the western mega-corp coffee industry has driven them to poverty and famine while raking in billions in profits. My attempts to explain the details can't possibly do it justice (at times like this I wish I was better at writing). Go checkout the movie website, be sure to read the blog entry for Fair Trade, Sundance, and Starbucks’ “Charm Offensive” in Park City, make sure you get down to the part about the post screening Q&A where a guy writes a $10k check to cover the cost of a school that they were trying to build in one of the towns in the film, an amazing thing to do, I can totally understand how he was moved to do it. A lot of people stuck around for the Q&A in Portland as well, with questions being answered by both Nick Francis and one of the Stumptown guys (sorry, can't remember his name), most of the questions centered on the in and outs of what we as consumers can do. First and foremost if you do nothing else, make sure you're buying fair trade coffee. Then make sure everyone you know is buying fair trade. (The quality roasters like Stumptown and Barefoot are into relationship coffee, which is even better for the farmers but is harder to explain). So, buy Fair Trade, or buy from a top notch artisan roaster like Stumptown or Barefoot. If you're lucky enough to be in Portland, head on over to the Stumptown Annex and talk to the folks there about it, they can explain all this in detail (as I'm sure the Barefoot folks can). If you want to do something extra, then think about donating to the coffeekids organization.

If you get chance, you have to see this movie, no excuses.