Just Us!: supporting farms in good times and bad
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Just Us! Coffee Roasters is a certified fair trade and organic coffee roaster in Nova Scotia that began with social and environmental justice, not coffee, as its focus. The company imports green coffee beans, tea, sugar and chocolate into Canada and promotes an alternative to exploitative global trade practices. In fact, that mission inspired the company name: “Just Us!” is a play on “Justice.”
Just Us! sources coffee and sugar from small scale producer co-ops around the world. The organization works with these local co-operatives to ensure their produce meets organic and fair trade certification standards and they collectively determine a fair market value that covers the basic cost of production and helps the farmers’ communities to thrive. This relationship-based system allows the producers to have more control over the pricing of their products.
There have been, of course, challenges along the way. In 2013, coffee leaf rust in Nicaragua devastated a producer-partner’s crop, resulting in low yields and increased costs of production. “We raised funds in an effort to curb the impact of this fungal disease, and the farmers were able to replant many of the trees that died in the epidemic,” says Joey Pittoello, General Manager. “It’s so important to support these farms, in good times and bad. Just Us! will be bringing a small group of workers, customers, and university students to Nicaragua in January to help with the first full crop to be harvested since these trees were replanted. We can’t wait to try this new crop—the result of a long partnership with quality, transparency and respect at its heart.”
Just Us! Coffee Roasters has been proudly choosing 100% green electricity with Bullfrog Power for its roastery and coffeehouses since 2009.