I was talking to Lucas today at 21st Street about the Panama Esmeralda they were going to get from Intelligentsia and I was able to say the thing that I’ve been thinking and saying for the last couple of months:

The more consumers drink directly traded coffee, the more the market for directly traded coffee will grow; the direct trade model will then have the power to bring more farms or cooperatives under its umbrella, which is better for everybody. So more of that.

Lucas, however, brought up an interesting point regarding the fairness of award-winning coffee farms, farms with money and tools: they are almost bound to have better quality coffee because they have the tools to continue to make better quality coffee. This is not necessarily bad, as long as more farmers are given tools to sustain an excellent product from year to year.


The ant

September 19, 2007

I was walking to the bus stop at 21st and Liberty this afternoon to catch the 54C to the Northside, and just as I walked up to Liberty, the bus blew right past. I swore, loudly, because that’s the kind of guy I am. So I sat down, cleared my thoughts, and realized I wasn’t the most important person in the world. So about ten minutes later, here comes another 54C, stopping to take me back home. I get on, pull out my Wendell Berry poems and think about my place in the world again, how I am small and transient in the world. It feels good.

And then, on East Ohio, an ant climbs onto my hand from the book. Whether it came from the book or from the bus, I’m not sure, but in either case, I let it walk around on my hands for the remaining ten minutes of the bus ride home. I thought about the Buddhist vow to save all sentient creatures, and as I got off the bus in West Park, I gave him into the care of the world, which will take much better care of him than I ever could.

In every way, my day was improved.

More as time warrants.

September 12, 2007

And it is not 1:37 in the morning.

Let’s all stop talking about ideas and feelings and attitudes and start talking about practical solutions. Let’s all do some things. Let’s all be more engaging with more people.

Let’s be coffee evangelists.

Waiting, musing, nonsense

September 6, 2007

For the weather to break. Years ago I told myself to stop waiting to do things I really wanted to do, but I’m not sure it really took. Hopefully this will be the last week of 80+ degree weather. One, I miss wearing jeans and jackets and hats and long-sleeved shirts. Two, I’m anxious to see if I can find my right mind again, anxious to see if I can think straight after having my noodle baked for four months in the summer heat. Maybe I’ll be able to see a little more clearly come fall. But probably not. I mean, I’m not sure I’ve ever really “thought straight” before. Makes me think of a Wendell Berry poem (“Breaking”).

Did I believe I had a clear mind?
It was like the water of a river
flowing shallow over the ice. And now
that the rising water has broken
the ice, I see that what I thought
was the light is part of the dark.

Just another reason to consistently second-guess yourself. People have been telling me to do any number of things (farming, moving, opening my own business) and none of them seem like just the right thing to do. All the more reason to eagerly await the arrival of autumn, hoping that I’ll be able to sit comfortably with a friend or myself, sort out some thoughts, maybe, with a beer and some popcorn at the Park House, or maybe on the roof. Quiet and cool. To give my mind some space.

Does it boggle your mind how many people are involved in anything? And each person has a vast mind, preoccupied with each of their own issues, some of which overlap and intersect, some of which may be purely internal. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a business model where these issues and minds and souls are able to interact, or at least be acknowledged? Ray Oldenburg promotes it with his work and calls this model a Great Good Place, or a third space.

That and more. All that and more is what we need. A more transparent economic model, maybe to get more people aware of all the issues involved in the thing that they’re doing, seeing the barista as an individual person and not just as coffee’s delivery person, seeing coffee as more than a drink or a drug.

Seeing everything for everything.