BALTIMORE — Do you need an excuse to drink that second, third ... or even fourth cup of coffee? We've got you covered, but not with just any old coffee - we have coffee with a cause. For a limited time, you can purchase "Mama Tierra" coffee, created through a partnership between Catholic Relief Services and Equal Exchange. Proceeds from coffee sales will benefit CRS' work with coffee farming communities throughout Mexico and Central America.
"For a long time we have wanted to create a CRS coffee with Equal Exchange that came from the people we serve, so we're thrilled to finally have it happen," Simone Blanchard, manager of CRS Ethical Trade, said. "The best part is that it will help us continue our work with the farmers who grow the coffee we drink every day."
Beans in Mama Tierra coffee are grown by farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico. The farmers are members of a democratically-run cooperative called CEPCO, organized to process and market their coffee, and to provide their members with education, credit and resources to improve cultivation and benefit their communities. Equal Exchange commits to long-term relationships with farmer cooperatives like CEPCO, and to pay a fair, stable price for their products. CRS has partnered with Equal Exchange for more than 10 years.
"We share a lot of the same values, which includes upholding the dignity of all people," Blanchard said. "It's a really good fit for us."
Peter Buck, interfaith program representative for Equal Exchange, said, "We are very excited to take our partnership with Catholic Relief Services to the next level, collaborating not only among the faithful here in the United States but also among the people for whom we work - family farmers in Mexico and Central America, and around the world."
For every bag of Mama Tierra coffee purchased at the retail price, $2 will be donated to CRS. For every case of five bags purchased at wholesale, the donation will be $5. The money will support efforts to expand coffee production practices that improve soil quality, reduce harm to the land and increase yields.
"It's part of our responsibility as Catholics to take care of what God has given us, and that includes care of the land, or 'la tierra,'" Blanchard said. "One way to do that is by supporting the people who work on the land. In this case, it simply means buying a product that so many of us enjoy."
You can purchase the CRS Mama Tierra coffee at https://shop.equalexchange.coop/pages/mama-tierra.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS' relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peace building.
For more information, visit www.crs.org.