Last weekend, the Students for Sustainable Communities
sponsored the Black Gold coffee fair in the Encore of the Dreyfus University
The fair took its name from the documentary “Black
Gold,” which promotes responsible coffee trade and exposes the problems with
the sale and production of coffee. Three screenings of the documentary occurred
between Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
“The documentary was the idea base for the entire
fair,” said Becky Wadleigh, the Treasurer and Fundraiser Coordinator for the
Students for Sustainable Communities.
The fair featured coffee from various businesses like
Emy J’s, Main Grain Bakery and Zest, as well as many student organizations that
focus on environmental sustainability.
Ashley Vande Voort, the president of the Students for
Sustainable Communities, planned the fair for various reasons.
“I wanted to teach people about how coffee is grown and
where to buy it sustainably with the fair trade, as well as why you should not
be buying regular coffee because it is bad for the people who are on the other
end of it and aren’t making a fair price for the coffee they are producing,”
Vande Voort said.
Wadleigh said Stevens Point offers great options for
“There’s fair trade, local, sustainable organic options
right here, practically at your front door,” Wadleigh said.
Guy Janssen, owner of Emy J’s, finds it important to
“We’ve always tried to promote fair trade organic and
buying local. That’s huge to us,” Janssen said.
Fair trade was the central topic of the fair, including
the presentation given by the founders of Community Coffee John Sheffy and
Community Coffee is a small group that volunteers to
help remote villages in Africa and Mexico harvest and sell their coffee crops
for a fair price.
Sheffy said that these farmers depend on coffee as
their main cash crop in order to pay for the education of their children.
However, the sale of coffee offers little revenue for farmers.
The chain of workers associated with the production of
coffee causes farmers to gain the lowest amount of profit possible.
“The farmer makes the least amount of money. They were
making ten cents a pound for their coffee,” Sheffy said.
Community Coffee volunteers buy coffee at a fair price
that allows the farmer to cover all of their mandatory expenses.
Along with their presentation, Petrillo and Sheffy
showed a complimentary slideshow of their travel pictures. The pictures
showcased the host families they stayed with and the harvest process.
“Coffee comes from a cherry-like fruit that is
handpicked, processed to separate the pulp and the seeds, washed, left to dry
and then roasted,” Sheffy said.
Besides Community Coffee, Petrillo and Sheffy
coordinate a short-term, study abroad program through the University of
Petrillo, an associate professor in Forestry, leads the
group. Sheffy acts as an Agroforestry Consultant.
The group is going to Kenya from May 27 to June 19 for
a trip dedicated to the sustainable resources and community.