Christian, Jewish and Muslim coffee co-operative blends faitrade with peacemaking

By agency reporter
19 Mar 2008

The Tufts Institute for Global Leadership has awarded a coffee company in California a prestigious award for supporting a co-op of Muslim, Christian and Jewish farmers in Africa.

The Dr John Mayer Global Citizenship award has been given to the Thanksgiving Coffee Co. of Fort Bragg. Former winners of the award include Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Thanksgiving shares the award this year with partners Peace Kawomera Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative in Mbale, Uganda and Kulanu, a grassroots, US volunteer not-for-profit Jewish organization working with communities around the world.

In a written statement, Institute Director Sherman Teichman praised the winners for their "wonderful innovative and powerful efforts on behalf of alleviating poverty, creating accountable and sustainable trade practices, encouraging peace and promoting interfaith harmony."

"By buying and marketing the Fair Trade and Certified Organic coffee produced by the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian owned Peace Kawomera Cooperative, we are creating the economic foundation on which peace and prosperity can be built by 705 small-scale farmers, and the 10,000 members of their families," said Ben Corey-Moran, project co-director for Thanksgiving.

Corey-Moran and Holly Moskowitz, who are jointly responsible for marketing Mirembe Kawomera (Delicious Peace) brand coffee, sold 25,000 pounds directly to leaders of mosques, churches and synagogues in 2007 and then donated $1 per package ($25,000) to the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. Following the Dr. Jean Mayer award presentation in Boston, they launched their 2008 sales campaign that will take them and four African coffee farmers to interfaith meetings and mosques, synagogues and churches in 16 cities over four weeks.

The Dr Jean Mayer Global Citizenship award is the realization of 37 years of the company mission to produce "Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup," according to Thanksgiving Co-Founders Paul and Joan Katzeff. "The story of Peace Kawomera is about the realization of a dream by JJ Keki, who brought his neighbours -- separated by their religious beliefs -- together in peace to achieve the goal of community prosperity," said Paul Katzeff, "We are very proud of the part we have played in JJ's success."

You can learn more about the Peace Kawomera partnership and other social and economic justice and environmental sustainability projects supported by Thanksgiving at http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com/

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