Thursday, February 24, 2005

it's a fair cup

I used to have a real block giving titles to articles I'd written. But since becoming a blogger, that hurdle's been jumped. I do like to go for something intriguing and slightly surreal, 'Real Beauty & Noel Edmonds' being a case in point.

So far I'd resisted doing that tabloid/SchNEWS style pun thing. Today I've published an article about Fair Trade coffee and, sorry to say, I couldn't help calling it It's a Fair Cup.

I'd kind of presumed that all coffee, fair-trade or otherwise - was much of a muchness.

Surely the answer is to stop getting vast monocultures of cash crops that ruin the soil, ruin the farmers when the price drops, and then end up with us sending our embarrassing grain surpluses to the starving along with some patronising spiel about how our farming methods are superior when in fact it's the importation of those methods that causes the problem in the first place.

People have spent thousands of years developing crops and farming methods suitable to their region and, with only very rare exceptions, fed themselves perfectly well before the globalised cash economy came along.

But looking into it I found that if we are going to be buying these cash crops at all - and we all do - then Fair Trade really does make a huge difference, not just in terms of the price the farmer gets, but in promoting sustainable agriculture, massively lessening impact on wildlife, and weakening the grip of the multinationals.

The article's online here.

1 comment:

Helen said...

I read a good article in the October 2003 issue of 'The Believer' which traced the hideous rise of US agribusiness post-WW2, one product of which was the invention of the ubiquitous 6-times-sweeter-than-cane-sugar, high-fructose corn syrup as a means of disposing of all that 'fencerail to fencerail' corn. HFCS being processed by the body in such a way that excessive amounts can lead to diabetes, which can lead to obesity, and so it goes...