Cooperative Coffees 2011 AGM
In August, I attended the Annual General Meeting of our green coffee buying cooperative, Cooperative Coffees, in Whitehorse, Yukon Terr., Canada. In 1999, Heine Brothers’ Coffee was one of six founding members of Co-op Coffees. In the last 11 years, Co-op Coffees has grown to 24 members spread across the United States and Canada. Because coffee comes out of growing countries on shipping containers, 40,000 lbs at a time, most of our Co-op members, including Heine Brothers’, is too small to buy directly from farmers in growing countries. Acting alone, we would have to buy through coffee brokers in New York or San Francisco and would have no contact with the farmers that produce the coffee. Through Co-op Coffees, we are able to pool our buying power and buy directly from farmer cooperatives. This year, Co-op Coffees will, as a group, buy 90 containers of coffee (3.6 million lbs!) from 26 farmer co-ops in 13 different countries around the world – all at fair trade prices that guaranty farmers a fair price for their coffee. Heine Brothers’ Coffee is proud of our membership in Co-op Coffees. Through Co-op Coffees we have developed 10+ year relationships with coffee farmers all over the world. We have had many opportunities to travel to coffee growing regions around the world to meet with and share meals with our producer partners. During these trips, we have heard first hand that the efforts we are making to buy only fair trade coffee are making an important difference in the lives of these farmers. We could not do this without customers who believe in and support what we are doing. Remember, drinking a cup of fair trade coffee really does make a difference. Rest assured that we intend to continue to do our part to bring you excellent coffees that are purchased from coffee farmers at fair trade prices.