Students sell coffee to go to Ghana

By Bonnie Leung

For students having a hard time staying awake in class, there is a new solution.

University of Calgary students, in conjunction with the Development Studies Club, are selling Fair Trade coffee from February to April 2000 as a fundraiser to Ghana.

According to Development Studies Club President Peggy Holroyd, money raised will go towards paying for a field school, where students go to Ghana to study villages.

"A couple of students and I are selling triple-certified coffee," she said. "The field school is from May to June 2000. We thought we would fundraise for the trip and raise awareness about an important topic–fair trade."

Fair Trade coffee creates a direct link with the producer, says Development Studies External Club Commissioner Jeff Weaver.

"It means it eliminates the middle man," he said. "It allows small farmers to make a better living. It sets up a co-op of farmers and guarantees the farmers 20-25 per cent of the final price of the coffee."

The coffee will be sold for $13 per one-pound bag or $25 for two. According to Holroyd, farmers will be paid a guaranteed price of at least $1 per pound through the Fair Trade instead of 38 cents per pound.

"It opens up doors in every respect," said Weaver. "More money means more food on the table. They’re guaranteed a good price for the coffee all the time."

Two types of coffee will be sold.

"The coffee we have been selling recently is from Columbia and Peru," said Holroyd. "The Colombian coffee is roasted in Victoria, B.C. The Peruvian coffee comes from a company called Elan-Organics, [which] buys the coffee from the small farmers for a fair price."

Unlike store-bought coffee, this coffee has no additives and is environmentally friendly.

"Both coffees are [completely] organic as many of the farmers can’t afford pesticides," said Holroyd. "The coffees are also shade-grown, meaning the farmers don’t cut down the rain forest to grow the coffee. Many big plantations in Latin America are cutting down the rainforest to grow genetically engineered crops with pesticides."

Students will sell coffee Mar. 6-8 in MacEwan Hall.

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