While on the surface functions as a bookstore and coffeehouse, we also commit ourselves as a collective to political and social activism, providing a forum for progressive speakers. In general we have attempted to widen the space for activism and dissent in Winnipeg (and beyond). Our activism ranges from promoting a variety of ideas and lifestyles, to directly sponsoring and hosting events we consider politically important.Food politics is a central component of there principles. This refers to both the type of food we provide, and the way we choose our suppliers. In the first instance, we recognize that people arrive at vegetarianism/veganism for a variety of reasons. Health, ecology, animal liberation, and even human liberation. Each of which is powerful on its own terms, but veganism is not the only criteria for selecting menu items and suppliers. Ecological principles, human rights, labour conditions, the relative power that workers exercise over their workplace, commitment to community economic development, and of course quality, all inform our choices and suppliers. Through our move towards organics we hope to have eliminated many of our biggest concerns, but there are always new issues that arise.
ABOUT FAIR TRADE COFFEE
Coffee is one of the biggest cash crops in the world today. It is traded as a
commodity, just like oil or gold, and the world of coffee trading and production is just as corrupt and brutal. Small farmers are exploited and cheated, never knowing what kind of prices they will receive for their crops. They are also forced to work with harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Imagine, breaking your back for a faceless corporation and greedy middlemen, a force that takes and takes, but never gives anything back, ruining your land and impoverishing your community. It seems unthinkable, but it happens every day, and will continue to happen until people start supporting the alternatives. And that is why Fair Trade is so important.
Fair Trade practices are intended to help build independence and community empowerment for the growers. Fair Trade coffees are bought direct from small worker cooperatives, at roughly $1.26 US, as opposed to the usual wage slavery price of about $0.05 US. Buying direct from the farmers eliminates the corrupt middlemen of the trade. It is farmed with ecologically sustainable farming practices, and it is organic, so farmers do not have to deal with dangerous and environmentally unsafe chemicals, or ruin their land for further agricultural use.
All of our coffees, and most of our teas, are organic and fair trade. We also use fair trade cocoa and sugars. We feel it is of utmost importance to support Fair Trade organizations and practices, as we look to a future where all food is produced in an ecologically sound way, without slave labour, and beyond this, we look to a future where food is not an international trade commodity.