1200 Words Based on an Expo about Fairtrade
Prior to the concept of units I learnt this semester and reflection of it, I will first give a personal definition of sustainability. In my own understanding, sustainability is the preservation of social, economic and environmental heritages and inheritance for future use and prosperity of it. My biggest concern for ensuring sustainability is to mindful use current resources but as well put them in better conditions for future use (Huckle, & Sterling, 1996, p. 69). It can refer to taking care of our environment, restoring our income earning activities, preserving our cultures and many others. The concept of sustainability was pushed into me through the topics of agricultural Fairtrade. The topic gave the foundation through which public corporate responsibility is created in ensuring that local people who engage themselves are farmers in the production of coffee, cocoa and chocolate are no longer exploited of their hard labor but instead makes a sustainable earning for their labor (Johnston, 2013, p. 57). Small-scale farmers who engage themselves in growing these products are doing a great job although they remain to live in poverty. One of the major ways of ensuring these is through studying and formulating more fair-trades that would enjoy their labor through improving their earning rates. By so doing as learnt in the course, we shall have been able to restore incoming activities of farmers as well as preservation of our coffee, cocoa and chocolate for future use. This is all sustainability is all about. However, my plan of sustainability in this case study is threatened by the rigidity in the market and environmental hazards that affects the plants.
The reflection of this course gives me an explicit understanding of the concepts of the course. If we would apply the issues of educational sustainability in our lives, we would be above the average edge in our lives (Jones, Selby, & Sterling, 2010, p. 64). Farmers engage in production of coffee and cocoa do more than enough. However, their lives have never changed. This is particularly in the areas of West Africa. The concept of the educational sustainability is absolutely relevant in finding the solution to such issues. So important here is find a way of improving their earning, improving their living standards and the same time preserving production of more coffee, cocoa and chocolate for future use.
Sustainability is more of a social responsibility. People who engage themselves in sustainable projects create a diversified but acceptable way of living. It ensures that things are created to allow people improve their living standards. This is as per the educational skills learnt this semester. Such skills obtained from the course include creating a learning community, learning from experience, fostering a new cultural worldview, thinking systematically, embracing diversity and whole person learning.
The learning choices done through group works have instilled a sense of creating a learning community. This is achieved through teamwork. Throughout the course, I learnt the skills and importance of corporate participation in communal affaires. We got slotted into groups and had to bring our thoughts together with a common interest of achieving a common goal under study. It also prepares one to be a team maker by engaging people of different interested together. The course also created a motive of learning out of experience. There are a number of issues that we managed to gather from physical encounter with study issues and engagement in action with others. Such include learning how to form and manage group works.
The course enabled people to be systematic thinkers. All our thoughts should be guided by logics and reasons that are not formed on emotions. No matter of good at times our emotions may be, they can at times be misleading. The arrangement of reasoning premise must be done properly from main premises to supporting ones. Similarly, we have learnt to incorporate the concepts of whole person learning to embracing diversity. It is sets one to accept the beliefs, customs and cultural practices of other as an alternative way of our being.
Most of the world’s coffee and cocoa are produced abundantly from agricultural viable areas of South America, Central Europe, Africa and Europe. This results from smart investment by developing and running effective Fairtrade that would serve both economic and social interest of its stakeholders. The agricultural sector has equally experienced much concentration given to coffee, cocoa and chocolate on either a collusive basis or for every distinct commodities. An example is the Fairtrade foreran in areas of West Africa due to their massive engagement in growing of coffee and cocoa. There is no restriction set on other parts of small agricultural practice as in parts of America and Asia. The exposition acknowledged that such Fairtrade could still be found on all manner of cocoa, coffee and chocolate treats and further to other minor products.
On comparison, close to 92% of the world cocoa is grown on small farms. This has been estimated to be around five million small firms between one to five hectares in size. This statistic implies that cocoa market owners are small commercial farmers as opposed to the intent of a few large farms. However, unlike their extensive farming counterparts, small-size farmers would need accumulation of their products to sum up to a required quantity that would either be sold in lump sum or meet the industrial needs. These farmers are responsible for continuous flow of inputs for production into the industry. It further indicates that a larger number of people between sixty to seventy million people rely of cocoa and coffee farming for their daily livelihood. This group contains the farmers and landowners in exclusion of the subsistence labor offered in the process. For instance, Ivory Coast and Ghana dominates the world’s production in cocoa. Each country has an approximate of 750,000 farmers who grow coffee and cocoa for their livelihood even though some of them live below poverty lines. It is rather commercial agriculture that is poorly managed. Similarly, 80% of the world’s total production in coffee is produced by the smallholders who depend on the proceeds from their production for their daily livelihood too.
However, planting of coffee and cocoa never commenced in the recent past. These plants have been in existence as far as the marking of world’s agricultural revolution and commercialization of food production. Some of these crops like coffee have stood in their purpose and use as long as their origin remains a story. However, as mentioned prior, indigenous growers of the plants have not been able to get enough for their sustainability from its production (Mcnerney, 1996, p. 63). Most of the farmers growing such crops particularly in Africa are still living in abject poverty. This is due to a number of factors such as poor method of production, lack of mechanization of their production, natural calamities among others. For these reasons, is the need for a fair-trade in dealing with cocoa, coffee and chocolate. The Fairtrade gives a mutual ground for all participators of raw production to finished products to benefit from their hard work and slice down on massive exploitation of farmers.
The use of coffee can be traced all the way from13th century. Coffee was first acknowledged in East Africa, somewhere in Ethiopia as a wild tree. The origin limits to areas of Ethiopian highlands, where their legend Kaldi lived. It is argued that Kaldi discovered of a coffee tree after observing how his goats behaved uniquely upon eating berries from a coffee tree in the bush. It kept the goats awake throughout the night. He then reported this to a local monastery who made a drink from the berries and also realized that he stayed awake for hours late in the evening after taking the tree extract (Wickizer, 2008, p. 71). The discovery news then spread to Asia and Europe gathering favoritism for its use as a drug and beverage. Coffee plantations worldwide can be traced to Ethiopian Highlands as an indigenous home. High demand for coffee necessitates expansion in supply. The only way that it could be supplied to meet the demands that had already been raised from Asia, Europe and American was to domesticate and produce it in large quantities. People who would access its seedlings then began to plant coffee, particularly in the highland areas of East Africa. Moreover, with conception of agrarian revolution, coffee production rapidly grew since better ways of planting it had been adopted.
Cocoa beans used in making cocoa beverages is picked from the cocoa plant. The plant was first identified in South America. South America is presumed the first place where grown cocoa plants were discovered. However, there are other places where cocoa plants were found. This makes it difficult to find its definite place of origin.
Chocolate is made out of cocoa. This relies on variety of cocoa used. Every category of cocoa has its own distinct flavor, taste and other characteristics from which chocolate is made. Chocolate is a secondary product of cocoa (Presilla, 2001, p. 59).
The main objective of the fair-trade is to ensure sustainability in human-environment coexistence, human life and environment. Sustainability can be assured through creating a path for mutual benefit among all participants in the field. It is not all about running a fair trade, but rather sensitizing continuity in human affaire. Many people make a living from growing of coffee, coco plants and making chocolate. The only way to keep them on in the business and support their live effectively would be through realizing a fair-trade that would make sure that peasant farmers are not exploited. This team project gives a spirit of working together with an intention of building up a mutual group.
Huckle, J., & Sterling, S. (1996). Education for sustainability. London: Earthscan.
Johnston, L. F. (2013). Higher education for sustainability: Cases, challenges, and opportunities from across the curriculum. New York, NY: Routledge.
Jones, P., Selby, D., & Sterling, S. R. (2010). Sustainability education: Perspectives and practice across higher education. London: Earthscan.
Mcnerney, C. (1996). Education for sustainability: An agenda for action. S.l.: Diane Pub Co.
Presilla, M. E. (2001). The new taste of chocolate: A cultural and natural history of cacao with recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
Wickizer, V. D. (2008.). Coffee, tea and cocoa: an economic and political analysis. Print.