Sunday, June 27, 2004

Foodgoat Philanthropy

Inspired by Pim and Wena, we here at Foodgoat have decided to use our power for good and not for evil. Well, at least on Saturday, July 24. On that day, along with dozens of other bloggers around the world, Foodgoat & I will participate in Project Blog. We will blog every half hour for 24 hours straight, starting bright and early at 8 am, to raise money for charity.

It wasn't easy choosing just one out of so many worthwhile causes, but I am excited to announce that our efforts will be supporting the organization TransFair USA.

What's TransFair USA?
TransFair USA is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade practices in the United States. Through regular visits to Fair Trade farmer cooperatives, TransFair verifies that the farmers who produced Fair Trade Certified™ products were paid a fair price.

What's Fair Trade?
Fair trade means that farmers, workers, and artisans: 1) receive a fair price (rather than the low market price), 2) are small-scale producers in democratic co-ops (like family farms), 3) don't use abusive child labor or forced labor, and 4) use ecologically sustainable methods.

Why does Foodgoat care?
Because fair trade is is good for the small family farms in developing countries, good for communities, good for the environment, and ultimately, good for food, which is what Foodgoat is all about.

While free trade can (and has) pushed farmers (particularly of coffee) and workers into malnutrition, drug cultivation, child labor, and deforestation, Fair Trade ensures that the farmers are receive a decent price for their work, allowing them to send their kids to school, get health care, keep their farms, and generally have better lives.

Fair Trade criteria also require sustainable farming techniques, offering an extra premium for organic production, making their products healthier and better-tasting, as well as a Good Deed. Read more about fair trade here.

So, what are you going to do again?
Foodgoat and I are going to blog every half hour for 24 hours on July 24. Our theme will be Fair Trade: we'll be sampling various fair trade products, including tea, chocolate, bananas, and whatever else we can find. And since I haven't pulled an all-nighter since my undergrad days, the second half of the day will likely feature lots and lots of fair trade coffees as we blearily try to keep on bloggin'.

And, what do you want me to do?
I want you to read our posts, I want you to learn more about the value of fair trade practices, but I especially want you to sponsor our marathon, which you can do by signing up at Project Blog. Once the marathon's over, you can make your donation to TransFair USA here.

This is an important cause, so I plead for your generosity. Any little bit would help!

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