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by Tripp Pomeroy

As readers of last month’s Fair Grounds may remember, Bill and I had been planning on filing a joint trip report on our recent visits to CAC Pangoa in Peru and Fondo Paez in Colombia in this edition of the newsletter. A lot has changed though since our last newsletter went out and as a result we’re going to save Bill’s Colombia trip report for April and focus instead on our visit (Tripp and Bill’s) to Peru. You may be scratching your head right now, wiping the driblet of coffee from your chin and saying OK, what’s the big deal?

Well, on Thursday, March 1st, at around 9:30 PM or so, an F3 tornado touched down on the southwest side of Americus and hop-scotched its way across town, devastating a large swath of our city along the way, until it finally left town via Route 49 - the northeast spoke out of town. While Café Campesino and our staff made it through unscathed, not everyone was as fortunate. Authorities say the tornado traveled 38 miles from start to finish and was one mile wide when it passed through town. Sadly, two folks lost their lives, dozens were injured, and literally hundreds of homes were destroyed. Sumter Regional Hospital, along with our Winn Dixie supermarket and numerous other businesses were also destroyed. Families have been displaced, jobs have been lost and the landscape of this beautiful "city on a hill" scarred and forever altered.

Despite this tremendous blow to our small town of 17,000, we have witnessed a truly extraordinary, awe-inspiring outpouring of support from folks both within and outside of our community. Local police, fire, and rescue were joined by their peers from all over Georgia and some as far away as Florida and Alabama to help those who had been injured, restore order, and pave the way for rebuilding. Our local, county and state governments sprang into action to coordinate relief efforts and inform the public. Georgia Power hit the streets, restoring electricity at nothing short of a heroic pace. Contractors from both near and far pitched in to help with the cleanup and restore basic infrastructure. One contractor came in from Alabama to help with the clean up of the hospital grounds — completing what had been scheduled to take three weeks in just one weekend.

Meanwhile, neighbors came together to help each other and strangers alike as non-profit groups and other disaster relief organizations streamed into town to lend a hand. Volunteers assembled to "tarp" damaged roofs, cut up fallen trees, and provide food and shelter… and although fifteen days have passed since the tornado touched down in Americus, folks continue to arrive, asking how they can help. How fortunate we are.

On behalf of all of us here at Café Campesino, we heartily thank everyone who has come to our town’s aid.

As Fair Traders, we often tend to seek a better understanding of who we are and what we are experiencing by reflecting on our friendships with our producer partners, our limited understanding of their day-to-day lives, and the relevance of our lives to theirs (and visa versa). Bill and I agree that our recent visit with our friends at CAC Pangoa in Peru puts Americus’ recent traumatic experience into context best. Why? Because unlike us, our friends at CAC Peru and their neighbors have to deal with frequent natural and man-made disasters on their own, with little or no help from their government or local private sector. Because our friends at CAC Pangoa overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to produce and deliver wickedly great Fair Trade, organic coffee despite inadequate if not altogether lacking infrastructure. Because on top of laboring to provide for themselves, the members of CAC Pangoa contribute day-in and day-out to improving the quality of life for their members and surrounding community. Because the members of CAC Pangoa have learned to do something that we seem unable or unwilling to do unless challenged by adversity: live with an appreciation for each other and harness the true power of community.

Caring about the well-being of others and acting on that concern are what create community. A strong sense of community, in turn, drives our ability not only to overcome adversity but to impact positively the well-being of others. Our friends at CAC Pangoa are brilliant examples of what is possible when individuals come together to work as a community every day, not only when challenges emerge.

The challenge that Americus faces in the wake of the recent natural disaster is the same that plagues our global community: How do we sustain a sense of community without requiring the impetus of a crisis? I’m confident that the answer lies with our producer partners at CAC Pangoa and elsewhere throughout the coffee lands.

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That’s right, this newsletter is a celebration of our friends (and role models) at CAC Pangoa. Order Pangoa’s smooth, delicious Peru Full City, our House Blend Decaf Full City and/or House Blend Decaf Dark (smooth, and delicious, minus the caffeine!) and get 10% off of the regular listed retail price. Be sure to enter promotional code pangoa when prompted at check out or let us know if you call in your order.

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St Patty’s Day is here... how 'bout a little green bean celebratin'? Home roasters, did you know that our green beans are available in 2 and 4 pound bags? In a month or so, green beans will be available for purchase online; in the meantime though, if you want to order the same great Fair Trade, organic beans we roast here at Café Campesino, give us a call and we’ll take your order for you!

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by Bill Harris

We often use the expression "follow the bean" here in the office when discussing the trail of paperwork associated with importing coffee, or the flow of funds, or production procedures. Our latest adventures in Peru provided remarkable context and new meaning to this phrase...

We landed in Lima last month intent on "following the bean" into the Andes and out to the farms that surround San Martin de Pangoa, where CAC Pangoa, our trading partners in central Peru is headquartered. The first leg of the journey took us over the highest paved road in the world, rising right out of Lima to 4,818 meters (over 15,000 feet!) before winding our way down to arrive 10 hours later in San Martin. During this drive on one of Peru's major arteries, we wound our way around several recent mudslides that still partially blocked the highway. We lunched beside a raging river while our friends from Pangoa pointed out the ferries that stand ready to take vehicles across the river whenever the bridge washes out. And we passed through a mud-ravaged village that was battered only days before by a slide that had killed 23 people, swept away possibly 60 other people, and destroyed numerous homes. All of this… before we had even turned off the main highway for the final hour on the bumpy unpaved road to Pangoa.

Read on...

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On Saturday, February 24th, Café Campesino hosted the first CRS Fair Trade training program in the nation. Thanks goes out to our friends Dorothy and Simone from the CRS regional office in Atlanta, our good friend and Fair Trade compadre Michael Sheridan from the Baltimore home office of the CRS Fair Trade program, and the wonderful program participants who came from all over the Southeast! Everyone here at Café Campesino truly enjoyed and benefited from participating in the CRS workshop and we look forward to making training sessions here in Americus a regular occurrence.

This Thursday, Bill took off for a three week trip to Guatemala, where he will introduce his wonderful folks to our producer partners along with everything else that makes the western highlands of Guatemala so special.

Heads up for everyone within range of Macon, Georgia…Café Campesino is thrilled to be participating in the inauguration of the Macon Farmers Market on Saturday, April 7th. Starting at 8:00 AM, Café Campesino will be at the market on Poplar Street in downtown Macon serving up coffee, sellin' it by the pound and talking Fair Trade. Visit the Local Harvest website for more information.

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"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."

~ Sandra Day O'Connor

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  • February 2007 SPutting Our Best Fair Trade Foot Forward, Producer Profile: FECAFEB Bolivia
  • December 2006 Santa Anita Update, Looking Back on Another Great Fair Trade Year, Fair Trade Partner: Guayakí's Mate Bevolution
  • November 2006 Black Gold: A Fair Trade Film, Producer Profile: Ethiopia's Oromia Co-op
  • October 2006 The Power of 100: A Fair Trade Harvest, Corazón Abriendo: A Multimedia Event
  • September 2006 For the Love of Big Yella, Many Paths to the Top by Café Campesino's Bill Harris
  • August 2006 The Golden Rule of Fair Trade by Tripp Pomeroy, Café Campesino's General Manager
  • July 2006 The Fair Tradin' Cross Road Blues by Bill Harris, Café Campesino President
  • June 2006 2006 World Fair Trade Day - Americus Style, Building Community Right Here at Home by Bren Dubay, Director, Koinonia Farm
  • May 2006 What Fair Trade Is All About, By Tripp Pomeroy, Ten Ways to Celebrate World Fair Trade Day
  • April 2006 Bill's Spring Break Travels Part I by Bill Harris, Call to Action: World Fair Trade Day
  • March 2006 Café Campesino Teams Up with Guayakí, On The Road With CRS in Nicaragua by Michael Sheridan, Call to Action: Global Exchange Reality Tours
  • February 2006 True Love is Café Campesino, Café Campesino Honored at GA Sustainable Business Day, Call to Action: Bioneers
  • December 2005 Celebrating a Great Fair Trade Year, Fair Trade Partner: Café Conciencia, Fair Trade Partner: No Sweat Apparel
  • November 2005 Gearing Up For the Holiday Season, Café Campesino Community Caravan, Show Your Café Campesino Pride and Win!, Return of the Monarch Butterfly
  • October 2005 Hurricane Stan Ravages Our Guatemalan Friends, Report From the Fair Trade Futures Conference, Customer Spotlight: Sobornost for the World Foundation's World Village Fair Trade Market, Fair Trade Partner: Maya Tech Learning Centers
  • September 2005 Cooperative Coffees and Producers Meet in Guatamala by Tripp Pomeroy, Café Campesino's General ManagerSupport OXFAM - Support Fair Trade, Customer Spotlight: Rainbow Natural Grocery, Fair Trade Partner: A Different Approach
  • August 2005 Producer Profile: Fondo Paez, Customer Spotlight: Apoteca, Fair Trade Partner: Pachamama, A World of Artisans
  • July 2005 Harrar Joins Our Coffee Lineup, Producer Profile: Ethiopia's OCFCU, Fair Trade on the Home Front
  • June 2005 Sumatra Update: June 2005 provided by Thomas Fricke, ForesTrade, National Fair Trade Conference, Fair Trade Partner: Three Frontiers Trading Co.
  • May 2005 Producer Profile: ACMPASA Santa Anita, Top 10 Ways to Support Fair Trade, Customer Spotlight: Crimson Moon Café, Fair Trade Partner: Fair Trade Resource Network
  • April 2005 An Eye-Opening Trip to Guatemala by Bill Harris, Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Coffee Program, Manna Grocery and Deli, La Esmeralda Stove Project
  • March 2005 Insights From Our Guatemala Producer Partners by Tripp Pomeroy, Take Us To Your Coffeehouse!, Customer Spotlight: The Sentient Bean, Fair Trade Partner: Mexico Solidarity Network
  • February 2005 Meeting Our Guatemala Partners Face to Face, Producer Profile: APECAFORM, Customer Spotlight: Mayflower Coffee Company, Fair Trade Partner: CoffeeTradeJustice.com
  • January 2005 Tragedy's Wake: Update From Sumatra, Producer Profile: PPKGO Cooperative
  • December 2004 Mexico: Notes From the Field, Customer Spotlight: Ten Thousand Villages, Fair Trade Partner: Cloudforest Initiatives
  • November 2004 Conscious Consumption: A Personal Perspective, Customer Spotlight: Oyamel - Cocina Mexicana, Fair Trade Partner: Three Frontiers Trading Co.
  • October 2004 A Mission...Not a Market: The 2004 Vote: Making it Work
  • September 2004 Producer News: CECOCAFEN in the Off Season, Customer Spotlight: The Healthy Gourmet
  • August 2004 Producer Profile: Cooperativa Café Timor, Fair Trade Friends: Marketplace of India
  • July 2004 A Fair Trade Reality Check, Fair Trade Friends: Tribal Fiber, Coffee Lab International
  • June 2004 The Promise of Fair Trade, Fair Trade Friend: Global Crafts
  • May 2004 Fair Trade at the Carter Center, SCAA meeting.
  • April 2004 Coffee and Community in Nicaragua, Fair Trade in Americus Makes the News!
  • March 2004 Fair Trade chocolate, Rosetta's Kitchen
  • February 2004 Bill's Return to Guatemala, Guayakí Rainforest
  • January 2004 Espresso - What's the Buzz?
  • December 2003 Fair Trade: Global Exchange's Fair Trade Challenge; Fellow Fair Traders: SERRV International
  • November 2003 Fair Trade: More Than Just a Fair Price; Fellow Fair Traders: Lucuma Designs
  • October 2003 Exploring the Coffee Regions
  • September 2003 Cooperative Coffees Annual Meeting
  • August 2003 Fair Trade Friends: Oxfam America; The Art (and Science) of Roasting Coffee
  • July 2003 Exploring Our Origins: Sumatra
  • June 2003 Exploring Our Origins: Guatemala; Gayo Mountain Adventure; Dr. Coffee - Cupping
  • May 2003 Fair Trade Friends: United Students for Fair Trade; World Fair Trade Day
  • April 2003 Exploring Our Origins: Ethiopia; Celebrating Earth Day with Fair Trade
  • March 2003 Bill's Central American Adventures, Part 2; SWP Decaffeination
  • February 2002 Bill's Central American Adventures, Part 1
  • January 2003 My Life as a Bean
  • December 2002 Exploring Our Origins: East Timor; Sustainable Development
  • November 2002 New Website; Gift Baskets
  • October 2002 Interview with roaster Lee Harris
  • September 2002 ForesTrade Wins UN Sustainability Award; Exploring Our Origins: Sumatra's Gayo Cooperative
  • August 2002 Producer News: Shade Grown; Fair Trade Friends: Atlanta Audubon
  • July 2002 Exploring Our Origins: Colombia
  • June 2002 Back Roads Journal: Cooperative Coffees and Café Campesino; Exploring Our Origins: Peru; Fair Trade Friends: Music of the Andes
  • May 2002 Staff Notes: Cinco de Mayo; Producer News: Visit to Mut Viz; Back Roads Journal: SCAA Meeting
  • April 2002 Back Roads Journal: Travels in Fair Trade; Customer Composting Tip

Fair Grounds is produced by:

Café Campesino
725 Spring Street
Americus, GA 31709

Contact Information:

Orders and General Information
Phone - 888.532.4728, 229.924.2468 
Fax - 229.389.4814

Lee Harris
Tripp Pomeroy
Bill Harris

Maty de Barrios
Geoffrey Hennies
Stacey Johnson
Lily Royster

Fair Grounds is designed and delivered by:

Starstruck Design
335 West Gill Road
Gill, MA 01354

Contact Information:
Don Kruger 
Lynn Nichols
Phone - 413.863.7752
Fax - 413.863.7752

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