Answering a need to defray the costs of supporting their retired and infirm sisters, as well as to extend their traditional Franciscan ministry to the poor and marginalized, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God in Pittsburgh have gone into the fair-trade coffee business.
Their Franciscan Blend coffee is locally produced by Arbuckle’s Coffee Company in Verona, Penn., and the coffee beans are purchased from Fair Trade importers.
According to Nick Rodi, a spokesperson for the sisters, “Over half of the world’s coffee is produced on small family farms with only a few acres of coffee trees. Alone, a small family farm cannot compete with larger corporate farms that control the international market price for coffee. With no alternative source of income in rural and agricultural communities, these families often live in extreme poverty.
“Fair Trade certification helps small coffee farmers organize into cooperatives that link them directly to coffee importers and allow them to sell their coffee. Through Fair Trade, importers are encouraged to extend financial credit to cooperatives and develop long-term trading relationships. Fair trade farmers are also guaranteed a premium over the prevailing price paid for coffee on the international market, allowing them to earn an income that will support their families.”
“Franciscan Blend Coffee is a wonderful blend of win-win,” said U.S.A. Provincial Minister Sister J. Lora Dambroski, O.S.F. “For us, as Franciscan Sisters, it is an opportunity to realize our life direction of extending the hospitality of God. For poor coffee farmers and their families, Fair Trade means a better income for their hard work, allowing them to hold on to their homes, keep their children in school, and invest in the quality of their harvest.”
The 12-oz. bags of ground regular coffee are available from www.osfprov.org/FranciscanBlend.htm or by calling 412-885-7223.
Reprinted with permission from PrepareTheWord.com. ©TrueQuest Communications.