Our consumeristic demand for more and better coffee has resulted in austere global dependencies among farmers and families in Tanzania and coffee-producing countries around the world, of whom we are responsible. As this demand has increased over the years, once diverse farms have had little choice but to become strict coffee producing monocultures, but the wages of farmers never increased to match. What little profit a family might earn is hardly enough to maintain their farm, much less enough to buy food that, at one time, was grown and harvested there as well.
We are all aware that vast disparities of wealth and living standards exist between first and third-world countries, but perhaps we have forgotten that our basic needs remain the same? I know we say this often when sharing about After Trade, and by now it must sound like a broken record — but this is what we truly believe:
Our survival and livelihood is no more important than the survival and livelihoods of the farmers and families who cultivate the land that yields coffee.
This realization alone changed everything for us. This is communitas. And through this framework of communitas, our hope in the work of After Trade is to ally ourselves with those have been excluded and marginalized in the coffee industry. We want to see these farmers as the human beings that they are, our brothers and sisters, we want them to realize their own dignity as persons, and we want others to be part of this and do the same. We are moving to Tanzania to join in this struggle for justice; this is a task we have decided to give our lives to. In many ways, it doesn’t take becoming educated or earning a degree to arrive at this point. Rather, a simple reminder that we are all human, that many of us have needs, and that we can creatively work together to meet those needs.
Our intentions are not to make this post, or any of our writings in this regard, a “sales pitch” to somehow compel our friends and readers to be part of the work of After Trade by financially supporting us—so we hope you won’t read our words through this lens alone—we write primarily to raise awareness about the injustices within the coffee industry and to help bring understanding to what After Trade is. Truthfully, we’d much rather already be in Tanzania doing this work, without fundraising. But the reality is, we can’t do this alone and we can’t help but also think that by our need of others to be part of this, the work itself is becoming better and spreading farther than we could take it ourselves. So with that disclaimer, if any of you are interested in helping, we would sincerely appreciate it. We only need 20 people to give $50/month to be fully funded.