How's this for a movie recommendation: After the film ended, I went online and purchased $60 dollars worth of coffee. The subtitle for "Birdsong and Coffee" is "A Wake Up Call."
"Birdsong and Coffee" felt so practical. It felt so optimistically and face-to-face human. I purchased about 6 pounds of coffee for a competitive price. The money goes through fewer hands. The money slips around the big profit, big corporate grab. The money goes to families trying to earn more than a few dollars a day without fleeing to illegal immigrant jobs.
These small farmers understand the value of sustainable farming because they've been stewarding the land for generations. Now, they are parlaying that with a modern idea: the marketability of sustainable practice.
It's fair trade, not because they're starving, exploited people. Well, it is that, but it's fair trade because the cooperative farmers offer an alternative to transnational corporations stripping the land for monoculture crops and quick yields. These farmers avoid chemicals. They grow the coffee in the shade, which helps birdsong remain part of their landscape.
What completed the wake up call for me was seeing the involvement of students. The film shows them spreading the word, the influence, and the sales infrastructure to college campuses. More than that, it shows students engaging directly and personally with Fair Trade families -- families who treat these privileged outsiders as family.
A buzz phrase from the film is that "Globalization is a person to person idea," There is more than a proactive and positive choice when it says "Fair Trade" on the label. There's a good cup of coffee.