If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just Coffee: Caffeine with a Conscience

I have made two trips to Agua Prieta, Mexico on Mennonite Central Committee learning tours done in cooperation with the Peace and Justice Support Network and on both visits have taken a tour of Just Coffee. Agua Prieta is a community of about 10,000 people located across the border from Douglas, Arizona. Just Coffee is a fair trade organization that grew out of the work of Frontera de Christo, a Presbyterian border ministry in Douglas.

Just Coffee works with a coffee cooperative, made up of 50 families, based in Salvador Urbina in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The idea behind Just Coffee was to address a root cause of immigration to El Norte. Economics is the driving force behind immigrants from Mexico, Central, and South America coming to the United States. Not only does Just Coffee seek to optimize the profit for the workers, but also the workers own the business, as well as participate in its operation and direction. That is why it is referred to as a “fair trade plus” company.

The 100% Arabica coffee beans are grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. They are harvested in Chiapas and shipped to Agua Prieta, where the beans are prepared and roasted and the coffee packaged and shipped to buyers.

The mission statement of Just Coffee is: The Just Coffee’s Company Mission is to deliver the highest quality, organic, environmentally consciousness fresh roasted coffee to our customers at a price that fair and just. Our Company Goal is to create a bond between the members of our community, Salvador Urbina and our customers through superior customer service, delivery and a commitment to integrity and excellence in all aspects of our business.

The leadership of the Peace and Justice Support Network, Mennonite Church USA would like to encourage individuals and congregations, who are supporters of PJSN, to also support Just Coffee by purchasing their fine Arabica coffee. It is not only a very concrete and positive way of reducing the economic need for immigration from South of the border, but also provides a just and fair wage for coffee bean workers in Chiapas.

You may learn more about Just Coffee and order their products on-line at: http://www.justcoffee.org/.

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