Innovators in Fair Trade Coffee Movement to Speak at Mount Holyoke College March 29

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 14:45

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2006

Contact: Lauret Savoy
413-538-3091

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- Innovators in the fair trade coffee movement, Hiderico Bocangel, manager of the Oro Verde coffee cooperative in Lamas, Peru, and Dean Cycon, owner of Dean's Beans of Orange, Mass., will speak on "Coffee, Economics, and the Environment: The Impact of Fair Trade on Peruvian Coffee Communities," Wednesday, March 29, at 4:30 pm in Hooker Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College.

Coffee is the economic lifeblood of many communities in the tropics. As a global movement linking the consumers of the North with producers of the South, fair trade seeks to form partnerships to ensure that low-income farmers earn a reliable, living wage for their work. The movement obligates fair traders to promote producer cooperatives that are invested in their communities, to help producers obtain affordable financing and technical support, and to engage in environmentally friendly production practices. Fair traders are also supposed to encourage forms of cultivation based on the producers' cultural traditions as a means of maintaining cultural identity.

The lecture brings together two of the most innovative fair traders. Hiderico Bocangel manages the Oro Verde coffee cooperative in Peru's high Amazon region. The coffee has won national and international awards, but more importantly, his group has initiated social, economic, health, and production reforms that have both improved the quality of life of cooperative members and the sustainability of lands they cultivate. Sound business practices combined with sensitivity to the needs of people and the environment--social and natural--have made Oro Verde exemplary.

An activist with 18 years in the coffee business, Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans, a 100 percent fair trade coffee company, is well known in the Valley. He travels to and buys from the coffee lands worldwide, mixes and roasts the coffee in Orange, Mass., and distributes it across New England and beyond. In addition to the fair trade price, the company pays an extra 6 cents per pound profit share for community projects. In Cycon's words, "I would personally like to see a day when Dean's Beans is a cooperative owned by coffee farmers."

The talk will cover the spectrum of the fair trade coffee business: North-South, producer, buyer, roaster, distributor, and consumer.

The event is sponsored by the Center for the Environment.