Coffee sales support primary health care providers

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

FAIR TRADE COFFEE sales by World Community in the Comox Valley help to support primary health care providers in Nicaragua.

Carol Sheehan

Special to the Record

The directors of the Comox Valley’s World Community organization believe in the old African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park is sponsoring a one-day sale of World Community fine coffees, teas, and chocolates — all fair trade products — this Saturday at the Filberg Lodge in Comox.

“Their mission and values around fair trade, social justice and community development have dovetailed with our values at the Filberg,” said Val Graham, co-coordinator of the Filberg’s gift shop. “We thought bringing in fair trade coffees, teas, and chocolates for our special Christmastime openings would promote another local entrepreneurial organization and at the same time help support communities far from our island home. We’re working locally to contribute to global solutions and a greener world.”

Established in 1990, World Community is a local organization that describes itself as “a community of advocates working to foster a greater awareness of the social, economic and environmental consequences of human activity at both the local and global levels.” Their principle public face is B.C.’s longest-running social justice documentary film festival, presented annually in Courtenay and several other communities and features major human issues in our changing world.

But the World Community organization has done more than become an educational body of advocates and lobbyists; they put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. They are a leading promoter of fair trade concepts, and to that end, they became an early pioneer in importing and selling fairly traded coffee in our community.

World Community coffee is purchased directly from a farmers’ co-operative that works to develop a truly sustainable agriculture in the region of Pancasan, Nicaragua. A portion of World Community profits supports Atencion Primeria En Salud, a network of 189 rural primary health care providers in Nicaragua. Other profits support health promoters in El Salvador that strive to improve the health services in their under-served, mostly rural communities.

Working locally, World Community is the only Comox Valley-based supplier of organic, fairly traded coffee that contributes a significant portion of their profits to Comox Valley groups and causes.

As the supplier of fairly-traded coffee, the organization puts resources back into the community, including the Comox Valley Transition Society, AIDS Vancouver Island, Wachiay Friendship Centre, Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, Cumberland Community Forest Society, Comox Valley Land Trust, Comox Valley Naturalists and the Global Nursing Project at North Island College.

In 2009, World Community coffee sales also supported a recycled bicycle project linking Nicaragua with Comox Valley residents. The organization shipped a container of nearly 400 donated bicycles and parts to our partner group in Nicaragua.

When shipping costs prohibited a repeat of that venture, World Community began collecting donations of used bicycles for distribution to local low-income residents and their children.

Currently, they recondition and donate bicycles to clients of organizations such as the Salvation Army, Comox Valley Transition Society, and Dawn to Dawn. To date, over 125 bikes have been distributed to those who cannot afford other means of transport.

This Saturday, from 11 to 4 p.m., you’re invited to visit the World Community sale at the Filberg Gift Shop in Comox. It’s a day to purchase some delectable food stuffs for the holidays, a day to learn about free trade, and a day to “go far” as a global citizen.

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