South Lake Tahoe, CA…October is International Fair Trade Month, and Meyer’s newest coffee shop, Freel Perk is playing along. Freel Perk carries only organic coffees; but what many don’t know is that most of the coffee sold there is “fair trade” coffee from Alpen Sierra Roasting Company. That is, according to www.alpensierra.com, coffee that is purchased “direct from small growers, i.e. Direct-Trade, guaranteeing as much as possible, the conscientious and responsible functioning of the supply chain in maintaining a healthy and prosperous balance of social, environmental and economic capital.”
Owner & Barista, Barbara Gerland appreciates the fair trade philosophy in which workers earn a fair and regular salary, are given educational opportunities for themselves and their families, and work in safe environments. The workers either work at home, in their villages or in cooperatives, and women are given a say in decision making. The fair trade organizations often times supply them with the money needed for teachers, wells and electricity, and health care; in general, aiding their communities in supporting sustainability. In contrast, free trade workers often work for pennies a day, work as many as 12-15 hours per day 7 days a week, and many have to travel long distances to work therefore rendering it impossible for them to return home. They have no access to education, health care, or even clean air.
“When you choose to buy fair trade products, you are making a difference in the lives of many who may not normally enjoy the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle,” says Barbara. The crew at Freel Perk happily embraces this philosophy. We look forward to years of continued service to the community.