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Man helps coffee farmers blossom
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper), November 20, 2008
Posted: November 28th, 2008

Paul Rice stands at the edge of a dirt road, overlooking the volcanic peaks and adobe homes of this small Nicaraguan town near the border with Honduras. On a visit to the coffee-growing hills above San Lucas, Rice cultivated what would later become the American fair trade movement. Founded in 1998 in a converted warehouse in downtown Oakland, TransFair USA began as a bare-bones operation with an unusual premise - put more money in the pockets of farmers in the developing world by persuading consumers thousands of miles away to pay a premium in the name of social justice. Modeled after organic produce and dolphin-safe tuna, Rice started the organization with the stark black and white label that told shoppers their coffee came from farmers who received a "fair price." Ten years later, Rice and his family spend every July in Nicaragua, visiting family and friends and working on fair trade issues. In San Lucas, Rice huddled with Santiago Rivera, a 67-year-old cooperative coffee farmer he calls "the real Juan Valdez." Until the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, Rivera worked on a private coffee plantation making less than 50 cents a day. When the new government acquired the farm, Rivera and some 20 other farmers were given the land to work collectively. TransFair says it has generated some $110 million in extra income for small coffee farmers like Rivera. "The great thing about fair trade is that when the market price would fall, we'd have the guarantee of a decent price," Rivera said. "When it'd go up, we'd get more. The great thing is the stability."

Note: For those who are not aware of the paradigm-busting fair trade movement, consider educating yourself on this wonderful new way of doing business by clicking here.

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