There have been times when there is a coffee emergency in the Stockman household and I have raced to the nearest grocery store, only to look at what is available on the shelves and leave without the coffee. Don’t think I am a coffee snob. In times of desperate need I will drink instant - really!
No, it is the injustice that I cannot swallow. If there is no Fair Trade mark not he coffee then it will not be coming home. Now, I hope you noticed that it is the injustice that I am concentrating on here. Most times it is not that I buy the Fair Trade because I know that it is making a better world. Most time sit is because I cannot deal with the fact that I might be complicit to the injustices of buying the non Fair Trade product.
For those who have known me for years you will know where I am taking you next. There is a Vineyard about an hour outside Cape Town. When it was taken over in the 90s by a Swiss owner he made Sonop a Fair Trade Vineyard.
This gave the workers the security of their own homes, which they developed and too pride in. They had their own land to plant their own vines to sell back to the farm that they work on with more diligence than before. Their children were being educated and they too were developing their skills. Lola, once uninterested and drinking too much was now behind reception, the first friendly face you meet at Sonop. When she talks about her son’s education her smile is wide as the ocean!
Of course that made me keen to buy Fair Trade! BUT there is more at Sonop. The village, that is now owned by the workers, is beside a fence that divides the farm from the neighbouring one.
On the other side of that fence is the unfairly traded village. Dilapidated houses, rough terrain, children looking disheveled. The contrast is startling. That changed my reasoning...or other strengthened it. Having seen the injustice side of the fence I can never buy wine from places like South Africa and Chile that has not a Fair Trade mark in case I am investing in an unjust village like the one beside Sonop.
So, back to the Stockies’ coffee crisis. I feel better without any coffee rather than have a cup that I know is exploitative of people. It is Fair Trade Fortnight and though that has no impact on a household that is passionate about Fair Trade, it gives me an annual opportunity to encourage you to think while you shop; are you putting injustice into your shopping bag or are you making the world a better place. It’s one way that the kingdom can come on earth as it is in heaven; no exploitation of workers there!