Asheville's Cooperatively-owned "Firestorm Cafe and Books announces the launch of a new partnership with fellow worker-cooperative Equal Exchange, the oldest and largest Fair Trade coffee company in the U.S. On Monday, Feb. 27, the café will celebrate the joint venture with free coffee all day and more. Here's the press release:
"We've been told for years that we serve some of the best coffee and espresso in town, so we don't take a change in beans lightly (no pun intended). Although Equal Exchange, a company firmly rooted in social movement, seemed like a natural choice for us philosophically, we spent nearly twelve months exploring the potential partnership, during which time we researched their business practices, sampled over a wide array of their roasts and twice met with representatives from their cooperative. What we found was extremely exciting.
"Founded with the goal of fostering a Fair Trade movement with teeth, Equal Exchange has been an unwavering ally of small farmer co-operatives and sustainable farming around the world. Our new cooperative partners operate a market network of over two million producers, workers, investors, merchants, activists and consumers. Over the years they have used this standing to publicly speak out against agricultural child trafficking, push back against attacks on the organic certification standard and, most recently, take a lead role in opposing the dilution of the Fair Trade standard by domestic certifier Fair Trade USA…
"Equal Exchange was recently named one of the world's "Most Democratic Workplaces" by WorldBlu and, like us, has publicly supported the Occupy movement. It seems only fitting then that we should announce this partnership in 2012, a year that is being promoted by the United Nations and major cooperative federations as the International Year of the Cooperative. Please join us on Monday, Feb. 27 to sample our new roasts and join the conversation!