31 March 2008

My Afternoon Cup

Santa Eduviges, Costa Rica: Seasonal coffee workers unload
their baskets of coffee cherries into a transport truck.
Photograph © Erika Schultz*/The Seattle Times/AP.

I am sitting at Boulder Coffee here in Rochester and, for once, have not single-handedly raised the average age of the assembled customers. It is a nice place to hide while finishing up a conference paper. And then I came across this picture in The Guardian, a reminder that coffee comes from people other than your nice, cute, friendly barrista. In your local Starbucks there often are lots of fairly sanitized propaganda pictures hanging about, showing various people employed at various stages of the production chain. In those pictures no one ever breaks a sweat or strains under heavy burdens, whether physical or monetary. If you need another reminder of where coffee comes from, one that illuminates the burdens, see Black Gold.

Back to Boulder - they sell fair-trade beans and host the South Wedge Farmer's market. I supposes that sounds like carbon offsets. Maybe so, but it's a lot better than most purveyors.
* Erika Schultz won a 2005 scholarship from the Alexia Foundation. You can find more of her work here at the Foundation's web page.

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