Our Global Responsibility
Posted by: Galen Miller
Imagine the perfect cup of coffee.
You hear the water heating as you grind the beans.
You take the pour-over kettle and soak the freshly ground beans.
You are amazed at the beauty of the bloom of freshly roasted coffee.
You smell it brewing with appreciation.
You see the steam rising in tendrils of hope.
You feel the warmth of the cup sending messages of anticipation from your fingers.
You raise the cup to your nose and the aroma with notes of fruitiness, spice and nuts seems to come through clearly to you.
You take the first sip and it goes right to your soul and begins to fill you with warmth and hope.
You. You are the hero.
This coffee is so amazing, but wait, where did it come from?
Maybe the grocery store or a coffee shop in your village.
Maybe it was an online purchase and it conveniently arrived at your doorstep.
But where did these shops purchase the coffee from?
Everything comes from somewhere.
A simple statement but quite powerful when I stop to think about what it takes for me to enjoy products and foods that I can’t build or grow where I live. Even more important is the need for us to think about the people that are at the source of our products and food. It is important for us to be good neighbours to those around us. Volunteer in our communities, help where we can and leave the communities we live in a better place because of us being here.
With this challenge in mind, I would like to suggest that, in the age of information, our global village needs to be a part of our conversation as we talk about being a responsible global neighbour.
Being globally responsible means appreciating that there is a world beyond us; a world we are a part of and one that we can – and should – play an active role in improving.
Individual responsibility is more than mere empathy. It calls us to action. To actively make choices that will impact our neighbours in a positive way whenever we have the opportunity.
With our neighbours in mind, I ask again,
Where does your coffee come from?
A few years ago our family had the opportunity to visit our nephew in El Salvador and we were able to see what it takes to grow and prepare the coffee beans to be shipped to us in North America. We visited a farm up on the side of a mountain.
This farmer had built a covered porch up the hill from his buildings. The breeze was cool and the view was amazing. But, as we stood there and looked across the valley we knew that the many farmers and labourers, our neighbours, were working for an average of $8 per day.
Here are some of my family and our host enjoying the view.
Buildings and banana trees on the farm we visited.
Below: Banana and Avocado trees provide shade for the coffee plants.
We also visited a coffee processing operation. It was fascinating to see the process from the coffee cherry on the plant to the beans being packaged in a 70 kg bag ready to be shipped to North America.
Your neighbour’s hands inspect the beans to make sure you can get the best coffee in your cup.
Your neighbours stacked these bags of coffee to ship to your community.
So, as you finish your cup of coffee, think with me…
What is my global responsibility?
How can I make a dent in the universe?
Why should I care about my neighbours?
Don’t I just want the best coffee?
Well here’s the thing… we want you to enjoy the best cup of coffee and we believe that the best coffee comes from small farms, places where the farmer knows his plants and knows when to pick the coffee at the best ripeness and he knows the importance of getting the coffee processed quickly.
When you choose our coffee you can know that we make direct trade purchasing a priority and that you are getting the best coffee in your cup.
When you purchase direct trade, high-quality coffee, you are helping your neighbour.
You are being globally responsible.
You are the hero of this story.