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Fair Trade coffee made an option for students

Paul Spadafora | Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Coffee grown under Fair Trade agreements will be offered this semester in addition to the regular selection of coffee at North and South Dining Halls.According to a Student Government press release announcing the decision, the organization approved a letter to University President Father Edward Malloy “supporting the dining hall’s addition of Fair Trade Coffee.”The Fair Trade agreement was established to provide relief to coffee growers from stringent economic pressures. The Fair Trade agreement certifies that coffee farmers will be paid a fair price for each pound of coffee they sell and will also provide credit to farmers and technical assistance in implementing new farming techniques and tools. Dave Baron, student government’s chief executive assistant, said the Fair Trade movement helps to develop many of the opportunities that farmers in our country enjoy. For these reasons, Fair Trade coffee may cost consumers more than a regular cup, but Marc Poklinkowski, general manager for South Dining Hall said the financial benefits to the farmers are clear. Under the Fair Trade agreement, farmers are assured a minimum of $1.26 per pound of coffee that they sell.Most coffee farmers, Poklinkowski said, “will grow their product for, say, 76 cents and the market price will be 80 cents. Fair Trade pays [farmers] a decent living to grow their coffee.”Huddle manager Jim LaBella said the LaFortune convenience store has been using both regular and Fair Trade coffee for the last three years.”The Fair Trade coffee blend that we’ve had for the past few years has been our French blend, and it’s an extremely high quality coffee,” he said.In its press release, Student Government urged all students to promote Fair Trade coffee. “The continued expansion of Fair Trade coffee is now in the hands of the students,” the release stated. “It is up to the students to decide through their coffee choice, whether or not the dining halls and cafés across campus make Fair Trade coffee their sole supplier.”In addition to the dining halls, Fair Trade coffee is now offered in Waddick’s in O’Shaughnessy Hall, the Café Commons in the Mendoza College of Business and Starbucks in LaFortune. Fair Trade will soon be the sole supplier of coffee at the Huddle Mart. pspadafo@nd.edu