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October 16, 2009

Meet the Farmers Who Grow Your Fair Trade Coffee

Arcadio Arcadio Daniel Galindo (pictured) has never set foot on the Church Street Marketplace but he's quite familiar with the fair trade coffee blends for sale there: He grows them on his coffee plantation in the hills of Guatemala.

Galindo and farmers from his organic coffee cooperative, the Asociacion Chajulense Val Vaq Quyol, will be guests of honor tomorrow — Saturday, October 17 — at Vermont's first "Forum on Fair Trade Business," a panel discussion and business expo meant to build on Burlington's new designation as a "Fair Trade Town."

Click here for a story about B-Town's commitment to fair trade and what that means. Click here for the Burlington Fair Trade Town Web site.

Speakers and exhibitors will fill Contois Auditorium at Burlington City Hall from 4:30 - 7 p.m. with display tables, info tables and food catered by City Market.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has worked for the last three harvest cycles with Chajulense, which means "only one voice," a nod to the co-op's  goal of improving life for its members, while maintaining their traditions and cultural values. The co-op's beans, farmed in the northern hills of Guatemala, go into Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' Newman's Own Blend, Fair Trade Organic House Blend, and Fair Trade Organic Breakfast Blend. Visiting with Galindo will be assistant general manager Fredy Beltran Soto and farmer Caba Ramirez.

UVM professor Michael Moser, who also heads the Vermont Honduras Project, will moderate a panel discussion that will feature:
  • Ernesto Mendez, a UVM professor and coffee ecology expert who helped Salvadorian coffee growers become a fair trade cooperative
  • Paul Ralston, owner of VT Coffee Company
  • Nick Reid of Equal Exchange, the first 100 percent fair trade company in the U.S.
  • Melinda Haselton, owner of Dolma Designs, which imports fair trade crafts from India
  • Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, owner of Healthy Living
  • Rick Peyser, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' director of social advocacy and coffee community outreach and a worldwide expert in Fair Trade coffee issues.
The event is free and open to the public.

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