“Coffee is just a vehicle to make positive economic change”- Matt Early, co-founder of Just Coffee.
In May of 2013, I visited Madison, Wisconsin to learn about cooperatives and Fair Trade in that city. It was my pleasure to meet with Matt Early, co-founder of Just Coffees. Matt is a close friend of Chris Treter, founder of Higher Grounds Coffee of Traverse City Michigan. (See entry #14 of January 11, 2011.) Both men are committed to Fair Trade as a vehicle for economic and social change, and each supports and speaks highly of the other. What is special about Just Coffees and Higher Grounds? There are many attributes, but as an introduction I will focus on the words of Matt Early: "It’s all about Transparency, Cooperatives, and Small Farmers.”
Entry #24 Elvia's Textile Creations
This is Elvia Minas of San Miguel Escobar. I met her on a research trip to Guatemala during the summer of 2012 when I traveled there to learn about the Direct Trade Coffee Cooperative known as As Green as it Gets. I was delighted by the beautiful patterns as well as the quality of Elvia’s creations and purchased several for myself and family members. After seeing mine, some of my friends even purchased items from Elvia, and I continue to put others in contact with her.
Entry #21: As Green as it Gets - and My Introduction to Direct Trade
Background: Earlier this year, Stephen Kelly, a Boston College law student contacted me to discuss a mutual interest: helping small entrepreneurs in developing countries throughout Latin America. My background is in Fair Trade and microfinance. Before law school Stephen volunteered with As Green As It Gets (AGAIG), a non-profit organization operating from San Miguel Escobar, Guatemala that focuses on “direct trade.”
Entry #20: Small Steps Get Things Done: Microfinance
Background: When I speak with student groups or give public presentations, I often hear individuals remark that they feel overwhelmed by the multiple economic, social, and environmental problems we face in this world. They feel that their contributions would be too small to make a difference. My students prove otherwise. Anyone can do something to make this world more sustainable.
Entry #16 – June 11, 2011
Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good – Voltaire
This photo includes my Business Law and Public Policy Students, officers of Spartan Global Development Fund, MSU Students for Fair Trade, and others from the Broad College of Business. The occasion was a visit by Dr. Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange for our Annual Fair Trade Bash. He spoke in my classes about “Green Careers.”
Entry #15 – March 13, 2011
Everybody Reads – and Promotes Sustainable Practices
This is my friend Scott Harris: caretaker, guardian, manager, and owner of Everybody Reads Bookstore in Lansing, Michigan. He has devoted over five years of his life to creating and nurturing a welcoming, community-based bookstore. The store offers reading materials for underrepresented topics and provides a gathering space for community groups. Books and magazines include topics related to sustainability, human rights, and diverse ways of thinking and living.
Entry #13– January 17, 2010
Sustainability from Coffee, Cups, and Bikes to… a lot more!
A simple way to help make the world more sustainable and avoid filling landfills is to carry your own coffee mug or cup. My friends in Fair Trade at Higher Grounds Coffees (http://highergroundstrading.com) in Traverse City, Michigan pursue sustainability in many significant ways, including the usage of reusable mugs.
Entry #12– January 7, 2011
Highest Quality Chocolates - Produced in Michigan and Serving the World
I am a Fair Trade and sustainability advocate, and I love chocolate. So, it’s great to combine those passions. Mimi Wheeler is doing wonderful things with chocolates and foes them in sustainable ways at her company in Empire, Michigan: Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates. Walking into Grocer's Daughter is akin to walking into the wonderful smells and tastes of chocolate shop in the movie "Chocolat" but with the cheerfulness, inside and out, of bright colors typical of Mexico's Caribbean or Ecuador's coastal towns. The flavors vary including pear, ginger, apricot orange, sunflower seed, chilis, and more. Each handmade chocolate is gorgeous, too.
October 26, 2010 - Entry #5
"If you build it, they will come."
Last month, a friend and I spoke of how our community needed a place where friends can meet for a cup of coffee or tea and socialize among kindred spirits. The place should promote sustainability by serving Fair Trade, organic, and local foods, in addition to selling or lending books.
Paulette L. Stenzel
I am Professor Emeritus of International Business Law and Sustainability at Michigan State University (MSU). I am also a mom, learner, writer, violinist, environmentalist -in -process, traveler, and avid reader. I continue to teach part time at MSU and coordinate the Broad College Ethical Leadership program Additionally, I advise Spartan Global Development Fund - a microfinance organization.