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Falcon's Nest embraces Fair Trade coffee

Darius Mirshahi | Interrobang | News | February 11th, 2008

Fair Trade is starting to catch on at Fanshawe College. The Falcon's Nest recently started serving ‘Brazcanco' certified organic and fair trade coffee in Forwell Hall, in addition to the ethical java that has been served in the Oasis over the past two years.

The Brazcanco blend is on the lighter side of the roast scale and is described as “soft and fragrant with distinct chocolate or sweet cocoa notes complimented by a fruity undertone.”

The coffee beans come from rich soils free of chemical pollution, and are grown in full shade on the traditional Typica trees on the side of the Santa Maria Mountain in Colombia by the native Tayrona and Kogee peoples who use traditional techniques.

The Fair Trade label also comes with the peace of mind knowing that the farmer who grew the coffee beans was paid a living wage, and that the natural environment was not damaged in the process of growing the beans.

Even though Fair Trade Organic Coffee costs significantly more, the Falcon's Nest has no plans of passing on that cost to the students. Instead, the Fair Trade brew sells for only $1.50 a cup, which is the same price as the ‘unfair' trade coffees at both Oasis and the Falcon's Nest.

Oasis charges students $2.25 a cup for fair trade coffee, which is quite reasonable compared to many corporate coffee chains.

Young Hee Hong, the woman who has operated the Falcon's Nest for the last four years, believes that it is important for people to be able to make the decision to support fair trade, and that she is willing to take a loss on coffee profits to do her part. Hong credits her daughter, Sharon, who is a fair trade activist and political science student at Western, for convincing her to start selling Fair Trade.

But when asked why she is doing it, Young said, “because I care and I want human beings to be happier. I think we shouldn't forget about how other people around the world are suffering because of big corporations, we all have to start caring more about each other and make things better in this world.”

According to Hong, the initial response from students has been quite positive, and she thinks it will catch on once more students know about it. She has already had to explain the concept of ‘Fair Trade' to some students, and has met many students who are thrilled that she is now serving Fair Trade Coffee.

She is also selling Cocoa Camino Fair Trade chocolate for a limited time to help fundraise for her daughter who is planning on traveling to Honduras to become more involved in Fair Trade.

So next time you're itching for some java, try a cup of fair trade at the Falcon's Nest or the Oasis, it takes the bitterness out of coffee.
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