For Immediate Release: Contact: Your Name, Organization, & Number, or
Monday, December 3, 2001 Jason Mark, Global Exchange, 415-255-7296 x 230
In a Time of Crisis for Coffee Farmers,
People Across the US Promote Fair Trade
December 8 Will Be Celebrated as International Fair Trade Coffee Day
In poor countries around the world, farming families who depend on coffee to earn a living are facing
debt and even starvation due to a crippling collapse in the international price of coffee—currently at an
all-time low of 50 cents per pound. As part of the holiday season of giving, people around the US will
be doing everything they can this weekend to assist those farmers by promoting “Fair Trade Certified”
coffee in their communities. Fair Trade Certified coffee guarantees farmers $1.26 a pound, giving
farmers the income they need to pay for their families’ health and education.
On December 8, Fair Trade advocates in over 50 cities across the US will set up tables in front of cafes
and grocery stores to educate people about Fair Trade. In some communities, people will be hosting
Fair Trade craft fairs where they will sell Fair Trade certified handcrafts and artisan products from
around the world. Here in YOUR TOWN, People Will Be Doing XXX at XX time at XX Place.
“International trade can be a force for good, a way of promoting cooperation and understanding,” says
XX of YOUR GROUP. “Unfortunately, the current ‘free trade’ status quo doesn’t do that. Instead, it
promotes a form of dog-eat-dog competition that tears people apart instead of bringing them together.
By highlighting products like Fair Trade Certified coffee, we can show our friends and neighbors that
socially responsible and environmentally sustainable commerce is possible.”
For decades the sale of Fair Trade arts and crafts has been a popular way of supporting communities in
the developing world. But it has only been in the past two years that Fair Trade has hit the mainstream
with the introduction of Fair Trade Certified coffee. An estimated three out of four Americans drink
coffee daily, and the US is the largest consumer in the world.
Because of falling coffee prices, many small coffee farmers receive payments for their coffee that are
less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. In the last year, matters
have gotten even worse. The price slump is causing starvation, forced immigration, and instability in
countries that depend heavily on coffee revenues. In Nicaragua, thousands of unemployed coffee
workers have flooded into regional cities to beg for food and hundreds have starved to death. In
Colombia, the unemployment of coffee growers has undermined the effort to limit coca production.
The UN World Food Program estimates that 150,000 refugees have been created as a result of the price
“Now more than ever it’s important that we support Fair Trade,” says XX of your group. “Buying Fair
Trade is a simple, easy thing ordinary people can do everyday to support farming families.” Fair Trade
Coffee Day has been sponsored internationally by a broad coalition of solidarity, social justice, and
environmental organizations, fair trade coffee roasters, and national consumer networks. ###