HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Helping with coffee crisis (21 msgs / 486 lines)
1) From: John Abbott
     I got to thinking about all those coffee groups on the bottom of Tom &
Maria's home page.  I decided to check out a couple andhttp://wwwcoffeekids.org/help/  has given me a way to help, and now I am.  20% of my
coffee budget now goes to coffeekids 
     I'm wondering how everyone would feel about an across the board 5%
increase in the price of their coffee beans so we could become a sustaining
group?   Just a thought.  I'll now duck and cover.
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2) From: Mike McGinness
From: "John Abbott" 
Some of us are also already Coffee Kids supporters. Personally, I'd have no
problem with your 5% increase by Tom. Financial peanuts. I'm a spoiled
American enjoying the highest standard of living in the World and admit it.
Sure, I work hard but so do countless others around the World for the reward
of poverty level living. However, I like getting the Coffee Kids newsletter
and wouldn't unless directly donating. (I requested electronic form to save
them printing & postage). Which isn't to say I still couldn't donate
directly too. Also, IRS wise it's more beneficial to us individuals to
donate our conscience directly too...
Though the idea of my primary greens supplier being a sustaining Coffee Kids
supporter is right on... and I'd be will to pay the very small price. Tom
could maybe forward the Coffee Kids electronic newsletter to the list...
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3) From: The Scarlet Wombat
I would happily pay 25% more for my coffee if it would go to the good cause 
of making sure these farmers do not starve and go out of business.
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4) From: Charlie Herlihy
 That'd be great by me, but should probably be a personal choice
for each of us, eh? I like the way Coffeekids seems to have the
most effective common sense programs to help start entrepenerial
small businesses that are desperately needed for small scale
growers to continue farming and stay on the land without
depending 100% on coffee sales. Micro loan techniques that were
worked out in India and have proven very effective and
sustainable. These programs also help the many women and
children left behind by so many men leaving to try their luck in
"el norte" and the many men commiting suicide these days because
they're too broken and frightened to take that horrifying
journey. Thanks for reminding me (as Noel did a week or so ago)
about a way we CAN help.  Usted es un santo, Juan
--- John Abbott  wrote:
Do You Yahoo!?
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5) From: Bart Frazee
On Sat, 31 Aug 2002 14:57:58 -0400, you wrote:
So would I. IF I felt SURE " it would go to the good cause 
of making sure these farmers do not starve and go out of business."
Color me skeptical, but I have not done the kind of research required
to convince me that these  are not professional do gooders. 
From what limited reading I have done, I don't believe "fair trade" is
much more than a marketing racket that is accepted as PC.
I will read about the "coffee kids"
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6) From: Jim Schulman
On 31 Aug 2002 at 13:17, John Abbott wrote:
Maybe a checkbox for a 5% sustainability donation (along with a page 
explaining it). 
Making it a straight price increase is hard for a single seller when 
there's competitors. The specialty coffee world is a very friendly place, 
even among business competitors; but buyers, especially those relatively 
new to this hobby, still do a lot of price comparing.
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7) From: Michael Vanecek
The money we spend on our coffee does tend to go more to the farmer just 
by the way Tom aquires it and his conscious effort to support the grower 
as much as possible - a rise in prices to further this effort would not 
bother me at all.
Personally, I'm not as dedicated to the IRS benefits - I don't give to 
recieve, and don't like having my donations in IRS records - it's none 
of their business IMHO. To each their own - the benefits are there for 
those to use. I pay my taxes - perhaps more than others do in these 
cases, and give as I see fit for the sake of giving. It all balances out 
  for me - regardless of IRS benefits I don't use, I still enjoy a 
lucrative life here in the states compared to the farmers who give us 
such pleasure as the wonderful coffee the tend.
If Tom could work out special arrangements with these organizations, 
perhaps it could ease our access to them through a central place doing 
something we do anyway - buy coffee from Tom. Perhaps Opt-in "donation" 
on top of regular price? Of course, that all is up to Tom - I support 
him whichever way he goes...
John Abbott wrote:
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8) From: Jim Schulman
On 1 Sep 2002 at 3:55, Dan Bollinger wrote:
Dan, specialty coffee, being a quality driven, has its own built in "virtuous 
cycle" that would counteract the vicious cycle of the endlessly cost cutting mass 
roasters. As more people demand good coffee, more and more roasters will seek to 
buy directly from growers to get just the coffee they want. In the long run, this 
creates a much more lucrative market for growers who take pains to produce 
sustainable high quality crops, just as it did in the wine market.
In the meantime, while anything any single person does is just a pittance, it's 
still worth doing as an emergency measure.
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9) From: Michael Vanecek
All we can do is what little we do. Don't sell yourself short - do what 
you can for your little part of the world even if it does seem like a 
pittance. A lot of pittance ads up quickly. Tom isn't gonna end world 
hunger, but then we're not the only ones interested in helping people. 
Every little bit compounds and every little bit is infinitely valuable - 
it represents our continued compassion. So, don't take the world on your 
shoulders or feel frustrated that more isn't being done. Do all *you* 
can and encourage your friends to do so as well - and be happy for what 
you have done.
And I'm certain the IRS knows more than what goes on your 1040. The 
receiving institutions also have to make reports too. I don't care about 
some newsletter or t-shirt or tax-break. If I did, I wouldn't give at 
all... But please understand - that's just my personal take on it in my 
personal life - in no way am I criticizing anyone or saying that's the 
better way to go, so please don't think I'm judging. I'm just funny that 
way...(mike says as he pulls out his aluminum foil hat) :)
Dan Bollinger wrote:
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10) From: Jim Schulman
On 1 Sep 2002 at 5:27, Dan Bollinger wrote:
Sorry, I didn't mean to go off. It's just that the "what can one person do" line elicits a 
kneejerk response with me.
The radio buttons for different donations is great idea, better than a 5% checkbox.
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11) From: groch
Re: John Abbotts Suggestion of a 5% donation.
John, thanks for the Coffeekids idea. I just made a 
donation that catches me up 20% for the last 2 years 
(that's not a lot of money...I read this list every 
week but only go through a pound a month or so.)
I would very much like to see some sort of check off at 
least for an additional 5-10% donation as a regular 
feature at Marias.  As 9-11 comes around again it is 
appropriate for us to re-evaluate our connection to the 
world around us. Most of us on the list are so 
fortunate to be able to enjoy lifes minor luxurys, and 
it is too easy to ignor the plight of the the world at 
large. Those of us who love the coffee hobby I am sure 
are willing and able to help make the world a bit 
George Roch
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12) From: Mike McGinness
From: "Michael Vanecek" 
 way...(mike says as he pulls out his aluminum foil hat) :)
Naw, I was just thinking out loud over various aspects. The IRS credits
'given' for charitable contributions isn't really that important to me
either. Doesn't make that much difference in what is taken from my hard
earned money (even though many in our Government seem to think it's their
money...) I make up my return as I fill it out anyway! (ONLY KIDDING!!!)
Home Ju-Ju Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
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13) From: Mike McGinness
From: "Dan Bollinger" 
I agree, it is a market solution that will work
Not necessarily will work out for the better just with market forces.
Hopefully enough people will make a difference, but - looks what's been
happening to small owner run micro-roastery barristas...
On the flip side, that's what forced me into home roasting...
Home Ju-Ju Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
Grindin' & Brewin' with Solis Maestro & Miss Silvia
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14) From: Jack Berry
I've been watching Coffee Kids for months and I'm impressed in several ways.
	- Mission statement
	- Using local community groups as a spring board to accomplish their
mission. I think this is much more  	cost effective than starting from
scratch. Plus the ownership stays with the community. It's easier to 	work
in the area until the goal is reached and then move on to greater needs
elsewhere. With the local 	community running the show, the efforts don't
shut down when Coffee Kids changes focus.
	- Their list of supporters is growing and is very diverse. Take a look and
you'll see Starbucks, a 	thousand small shops, individuals (like us) and the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
	- Best of all, Coffee Kids was started by a coffee professional who was
moved to make a difference 	after visiting the farms where his livelihood
Needless to say, I'm a supporter and I'm also working with my employer and
local groups to funnel money their way.

15) From: Jack Berry
I think there is a lot of support for a line on SM's order page to include a
donation to Coffee Kids. I would suggest selectable boxes to automatically
add $1, $3, $5, and a blank to be filled in by the customer who wants to
give more.
I'm giving monthly to Coffee Kids by would bump up my contribution to
support the effort. It's a GREAT idea!

16) From: Ed Needham
Actually, some sort of action at the national level to hold the large, mass
market coffee companies accountable would probably have a larger effect.  The
concept of 'Fair Trade', if applied to Folgers, Maxwell House, etc. might
actually have a huge impact on the farmers.  Maybe this could be achieved
with a voice through SCAA or other coffee governing bodies that have the
clout to exert enough force to bring about change.  If the huge
mega-companies had to pay a fair amount for the tons and tons of commodity
grade coffees, instead of pennies on the pound, it might improve the
situation enough to allow the farmers to raise their quality of life, and the
quality of their crops (better equipment, fertilizer, pest control,
labor...), and truly make the world a better place.
Ed Needhamhttp://www.homeroaster.comed

17) From: Dan Bollinger
Funny!  I was going to suggest to Tom -- after he got settled in --
something similar.  What I thought was three radio buttons you could
optionally check with varying abounts to CoffeeKids or whatever charity Tom
thinks is best to support.
[] add 5 per pound to CoffeeKids
[] add 25 per pound to CoffeeKids
[] add $1 per pound to CoffeeKids
The downside is that you wouldn't get any receipt from Coffee Kids.  But, if
you kept your S-M receipts for these tiny donations I doubt if the IRS would
object to this deduction should you  get auditted.
Ideally, and best in the long haul, is if the market turns around, the
Specialty Coffee market increases.  Besides buying more coffee, we can also
encourage coffee shops to serve Specialty Coffee.  Dan
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18) From: Dan Bollinger
This problem is bigger than Sweet Marias share of the pie.  3.6 million
pounds of Specialty Coffee was imported into the US.  I'm all for doing what
I can and that includes a donation with each purchase, but let's face it
folks, the combined donations of this list and Sweet Marias customers is
going to be a pittance.  There must be some other way than gifts to
boost-start the flagging coffee market, especially in the Specialty Coffee
PS: The only thing the IRS is going to see is your total donation amount for
a year on your 1040 form.  Not exactly a lot of private information!
Tom &
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19) From: Dan Bollinger
Oh, I'm not saying don't do something ourselves, Jim.  If you recall, I
mentioned that I plan to talk with Tom about adding a donation button(s) to
his shopping cart. I'm just cautioning that our little group shouldn't
expect to help turn things around unless we begin thinking bigger and look
at the larger picture.  I agree, it is a market solution that will work
best.  yours, Dan
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20) From: Glenn R. Holmes
I really agree with you Ed. That is fairly well where really effective 
improvement could take place. I am concerned about the Fair Trade etc. 
movement starting out as being a good idea but ending up by supporting 
another and new group of middle men that scoop up the $$$ that should go 
toward the farmers. Like a lot of charities, a lot may get buried in 
administration costs and a small percentage actually reach the intended 
Unfortunately most people don't care enough (because they don't kow 
enough), as long as they can get their can of (insert brand-name here) 
really cheap. If the coffee beans run out, no problem. The artificial 
flavoring companies can rig up enough pharmaceuticals to simulate the 
coffee taste. Hmmm - bit of sarcasm there; sorry; I am so fed up with 
the "Bottom Line is everything" and "one size fits all being the way to 
attain it" corporate mind set.
Ed Needham wrote:
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21) From: NOEL HONG
Fair Trade marked coffee doesn't = quality beans only a "fair" price paid to 
I am assuming the coffee workers.  CoffeeKids helps the coffee workers and 
their communities deal with what the worker/families identify as problems 
and within their own culture/society reduce or eliminate the problem(s).  
Establishment of self sustaining, community controlled programs has and will 
improve the lives of these people.  A potential benefit to us the 
homeroaster is the maintenance of the small family/community farms yielding 
potentially a high quality product. A check off box would be nice.  A simple 
solution is sending a payment directly to CoffeeKids. My personal pledge & 
challenge to all homeroasters is an annual membership + $1/# of green beans 
purchased from SM's. That's only ~$0.05/cup/shot extra. For some individual 
worker, their community it can become a significant benefit.
Noel V. Hong
email: nhong32590
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