FAIR TRADE EDUCATION IN PITTSBURGH
From Co-Op to Cup: Fair Trade Education in Pittsburgh
Community partners in Pittsburgh provide Building New Hope with opportunities to educate consumers about the importance of fair trade products and making informed consumer decisions. Three key activities help connect local coffee-drinkers with Nicaragua and the El Porvenir co-op. These elements help initiate global conversation about commodity ethics, sustainable development, and social enterprise:
Sharing the story of rural Nicaragua and the El Porvenir Co-Op is a highly impactful way to engage consumers in thinking more critically about their purchasing choices. To do this we have developed printed materials, a website, and a video that connects audiences to the El Porvenir farmers and their growing and harvesting processes. This video approximates a farmers market type of experience, in which a consumer might meet the source of their food.
City famers markets, conferences related to sustainable agriculture, events promoting fair-trade values and ethics, and community building events have been fruitful sites for Building New Hope to share materials, engage people in conversation, and of course, share a cup of coffee. Building New Hope participates in an average of 15 such events each year, including the annual Farm to Table conference held in Pittsburgh and the Phipps May Market.
Building New Hope engages with more than 15 schools and universities each year to educate students about fair-trade products and facilitate coffee fundraisers. After students learn about El Porvenir and the principles of fair-trade, they purchase the coffee and re-sell it for their own fundraising projects. Participants in these programs learn about the coffee and the community that produces it, share their knowledge as they sell the product, and raise money for their own school causes – a triple win! Building New Hope facilitates coffee fundraisers in about 19 schools every year.