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Coffee Project FAQ
What is the UUSC Coffee Project?
The UUSC Coffee Project is a collaboration between UUSC and Equal Exchange, a worker-owned fair trade company based in West Bridgewater, Mass. Through the project, UUs buy fair trade coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate bars, and other tasty treats in their congregations and at community events. It is a way for UUSC supporters to learn about fair trade and express their values through informed consumer choices.
Since the project was launched in 2001, hundreds of UU congregations have made the initiative a success. In 2008 alone, UUs purchased 45.3 tons of fairly traded products. UUs have the highest participation rate of any denomination in Equal Exchange's Interfaith Program.
How does supporting fair trade help small-scale farmers and producers?
When small farmers are paid a fair price for their products, they can afford to pay for the basic needs of their families, invest in the well-being of their communities, and ensure the long-term growth of their businesses.
But current patterns of globalization are placing millions of workers and small-scale farmers at an economic disadvantage. Marginalized by policies and structures that do not take their needs into account, they see little return on their hard work. Oftentimes they also face significant obstacles to claiming their human rights.
Fair trade more equitably distributes wealth and provides farmers and workers with a living wage. This is why supporting fair trade is central to UUSC's commitment to strengthening workers' rights as human rights in today's global economy.
Why should UUs buy fairly traded products through the UUSC Coffee Project, instead of their local grocery store?
By buying fairly traded products through the UUSC Coffee Project, UUs support human rights and UUSC's Small Farmer Fund. They also learn more about the connections between fair trade and UU principles like the interdependent web of all existence.
What is UUSC's Small Farmer Fund?
For every pound of coffee, tea, chocolate, pecans, and other goods sold through the UUSC Coffee Project, 20 cents goes to UUSC's Small Farmer Fund, adding up to as much as $18,000 per year.
Through the fund, UUSC works with small farmer cooperatives that grow, produce, and sell goods for fair trade. Together, as partners, UUSC and its Small Farmer Fund partners implement innovative human rights projects that empower workers — especially women and indigenous persons — in the United States and around the world. Visit www.uusc.org/smallfarmerfund to learn more about UUSC's Small Farmer Fund partners.
What products are available through the UUSC Coffee Project?
The UUSC Coffee Project offers a wide range of delicious fairly traded foods by Equal Exchange — from regular, decaf, flavored, and organic coffees to over ten varieties of organic tea to almonds and cranberries, to chocolate bars.
Please view the Fair Trade Products PDF Order Form for a full list of products.
How do I set prices for products?
Prices vary from congregation to congregation. This is because each congregation's Coffee Project buys products directly from Equal Exchange, instead of on consignment, which gives it more leeway in setting prices. Most projects choose to sell their products at the wholesale prices set by Equal Exchange, which are listed on the UUSC Coffee Project Order Form. However, some congregations choose to increase their prices slightly to raise additional funds for UUSC or their congregation. No matter what price is set for products, all sales through the UUSC Coffee Project support UUSC's Small Farmer Fund.
Can I use the Coffee Project to raise funds for my congregation?
Yes. Fundraising with fairly traded products is a great way to raise funds for your congregation, social justice committee, youth group, or other group. Get started by downloading an Interfaith Fundraising Packet or Youth Group Fundraising Ideas at www.equalexchange.coop/interfaith-fundraising.
How do I place an order?
It is easy to order products from Equal Exchange. Just download a mail-in order form at www.uusc.org/coffeeproject, and send it directly to Equal Exchange by fax, e-mail, or mail.
You can also order online through Equal Exchange's Interfaith Store at interfaith.equalexchange.com. Ordering online also makes you eligible for half-price shipping in the contiguous 48 states. Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
How can I sign-up to receive regular updates about initiatives related to fair trade?
Subscribe to UUSC's e-mail list to receive UUSC's e-newsletter, Values in Action, and be sure to check the "Economic Justice" box to receive topical e-mails and action alerts about fair trade. Also sign up to receive Equal Exchange's newsletter, A Taste of Justice at www.equalexchange.com/a-taste-of-justice.
What else can I do to promote Fair Trade?
Participating in the UUSC Coffee Project can be about more than selling fairly trade products in your congregation. Consider selling your products at holiday bazaars or other community events. You can bring the issue of fair trade to children and youth in your congregation with a special RE lesson plan, or you could hold an educational seminar during coffee hour to educate adults about fair trade. Check out these Fair Trade Action Steps for Congregations for more ideas.
- For questions about how to start a Coffee Project or about your order, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Equal Exchange at 774-776-7366.
- For questions about the UUSC Coffee Project, the Small Farmer Fund, or UUSC's Small Farmer Fund partners, contact email@example.com or call UUSC at 617-868-6600, ex. 317, or toll free at 1-800-766-5236 ex. 317.