Fair Trade is rooted in three beliefs: 1) We are all connected. Consumers have the power to express solidarity with producers; 2) Existing world trade practices affect underdevelopment and the unjust distribution of wealth among nations; 3) Paying producers in less developed countries a fair price for their products is a more efficient way of encouraging sustainable development than aid. (University of Washington Press) [For a thorough explanation of the issue of Fair Trade, we encourage you to explore more fully the Global Solidarity link at the OCSJM website, where we developed an educational Resource Packet on the topic.]
This month our focus is on St Augustine Parish in Seymour, where at the end of September Fair Trade Coffee, Tea and Chocolate from our partner, Equal Exchange, were introduced at the Sunday morning coffee hours. The Pastor, Father Honore Kombo, (who by the way is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo), graciously embraced the idea of serving Fair Trade Products at parish functions now and in the future. Of course we introduced coffee from the Congo first, so that Fr. Kombo would feel at home; and, in the weeks leading up to the event, Alese Kummer, the parish business manager, used weekly bulletin "hints" to peak everyone's interest. Other parishioners have also expressed interest in hosting a CRS Fair Trade Craft Sale in the future.
As we prepared for the first event, one person asked me a question that I have not yet been able to answer: "Do the other Archdiocesan Offices serve Fair Trade Coffee at their events?" An interesting question, isn't it? So, if you are a leader of a Parish, or a Diocesan Office, and you wish to explore this issue, please don't hesitate to contact us for information Fair Trade coffee, and how to get started. It is really not a difficult task to begin.
As coordinator of the Global Solidarity initiative through the OCSJM Office, I strongly believe that Fair Trade is one of the best, if not the best means to embrace the concept of Global Solidarity in our lives. In the words of St. John Paul II, in his Social Concerns Encyclical, "Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is, to the good of all, and to the good of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all."
Mary O'Brien is the Global Solidarity Coordinator for OCSJM and also a local CRS Fair Trade Ambassador. You can contact her here, or through the Office.