I support AfterTrade.org and so should you: Coffee, Development and Relationship

aftertradeI want to bring to your attention a nonprofit development agency that I am supporting (financially and emotionally and prayerfully), and that I encourage you to support as well: After Trade.

After Trade’s mission is this:

AFTER TRADE is a new form of sourcing that moves beyond the trade of coffee and toward reconciliation between farmers, roasters, coffee, and the land, through practices of solidarity and sustainability.

More specifically, they are working on the long-term relationship with coffee farmers in a way that is more holistic than simply just and fair trade:

After Trade denotes that first priority is not on the beans involved in the trade but rather, on what remains after the trade: people. By reversing the priorities of how business is usually conducted within the coffee industry, After Trade is committed to having genuine relationships with farmers and their families. That is, to commit to a farm and its people, to invest in them, to develop a relationship of trust, and to take necessary measures to work toward improving their farm and as a result, improving the quality of beans produced. The goal of After Trade is to confront the unethical social relations that have become established through capitalism by joining farmers in solidarity as if to be a single community and to work toward the common good, but to do so in such as way that enables farmers and laborers to realize their own dignity as persons. From this perspective, the survival and livelihood of the coffee buyer, roaster, or barista, is no more important than the survival and livelihoods of those who cultivate the land that yields coffee.

I know After Trade’s dreamers and creators, Steven and Stephanie Berbec. Stephanie was a student in the first spiritual formation course I taught at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I was immediately impressed by her brilliance, vision and passion. Stephanie was clear in the focus of the work they were dreaming toward, and impressive in her depth of wisdom and ability to communicate it – She’s a fantastic writer and photographer. I’ve turned to them as trusted resources for learning about international development, food and land, economic justice and other related issues.

If you’re concerned about the viability of a new development project, it’s helpful to know that After Trade is partnering with an existing organization already working in Tanzania:

EITanzania is a humanitarian not-for-profit, non-government organization located in Moshi, Tanzania. Our work will consist of creating and assisting with sustainable development projects among locals beyond and alongside our work with After Trade.

I encourage you to read their website to learn more about them, and if you are excited about this work as I am, donate to them. I am careful with the work I financially support and/or publicly associate with, but I’m thrilled and honored to be part of After Trade’s support team.

Some other organizations I’ve aligned with and support: Kiva, One Day’s Wages, Mustard Seed Associates.


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