This January I traveled to Nicaragua with the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Equal Exchange for a fair trade delegation. It was an amazing opportunity where I learned about how fair trade is affecting the lives of Nicaraguans, how we can support these efforts, and how a major fair trade product, coffee, is produced. Now I try to keep my blog strictly crafty so I am also going to share about the several co-ops we visited which support local Nicaraguan women and families.
My first meeting with the coffee plant. I learned all about the coffee plant and the picking of it. Organic and Fair Trade coffee is so much better than other options because it doesn't use pesticides or picking machines which harm the plants by using chemicals and stripping the plants of young berries and stems. Not only are they better for the environment, but they are also better socially as they provide fair living wages to the farmers who work hard to deliver a quality product and support their families.
President of the Tierra Nueva Co-op (the co-op of coffee farmers in Boaco, Nicaragua who hosted our delegation) showing us the cacao plant...where chocolate comes from! Mmmm!
My host family with the three delegation members they housed. They were absolutely amazing, gracious and welcoming. I saw first hand how fair trade coffee farming has improved their lives and felt how important it was for me to bring news of the benefits of fair trade back to the United States.
We visited several artisan co-ops but my favorite by far was the Ducuale Women's Pottery Co-operative. They make beautiful wood fired and hand painted pottery.
Me chatting with one of the artists (en Espanol!) about our common love of ceramics. To see more fair trade artisan products visit Esperanza en Accion, a Nicaraguan co-op which works to improve the lives of artisans in Nicaragua.
Going on this trip was such a blessing and I am grateful I had this opportunity. I encourage all of you crafty folks to think about the human side of the production of goods we buy. All the products we buy, whether food, clothes, art or even craft supplies are made by someone and we should be striving for a just economic system.
Check back soon for a new project! Until then go buy some fair trade coffee or learn more about fair trade at EqualExchange.com!