Petition 80430

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Fair Trade Coffee and Other Products (80430-GM-R199)

Revise Resolution 199, United Methodist Church Use of Fair Trade Coffee, as follows:
Amend title:
199. United Methodist Church Use of Fair Trade Coffee & other Fair Trade Products

Insert new paragraph in between current paragraphs one and two, as follows:
WHEREAS, coffee is one of the world's most heavily traded commodities; it originates from either large plantations that are traditionally run and owned by wealthy landowners or small operations that are primarily owned by impoverished farmers. These small farmers frequently live in isolated communities relying on middlemen to buy their coffee invariably at the lowest price possible. The way the system is set up, the farmers' inability to get a just return for their labor is essentially guaranteed and they are condemned to a life of extreme poverty; and,  
WHEREAS, tea and cocoa are also major commodities grown on large plantations that often exploit farm laborers and impoverish small farmers, and,  
WHEREAS, biblical justice brings all into the economic community, with a share in productive power as seen in the provision of land to every family unit (Numbers 26; Leviticus 25); and,

Insert new paragraphs, in between current paragraphs nine and ten, as follows:
WHEREAS, the International Standards of Fair Trade focus on ensuring that small farmers are compensated with a fair and true living wage, working with democratically run farming cooperatives that are owned and governed by and for the farmers themselves, buying directly from the co-ops so that the benefits and profits from the trade actually reach the farmers and their communities, providing vital advance credit to farmers and encouraging sustainable farming practices; and,  
WHEREAS, fair trade tea, cocoa, olive oil and other produce are now more widely available from small farmer cooperatives around the world, and,  
WHEREAS, the purchase of fair trade olive oil and other olive products from Palestinian farmers provides crucial income to small farmers facing violence, land confiscation, and illegal military occupation, and,  
WHEREAS, the General Board of Global Ministries has long partnered with and supported the Palestinian and Israeli women’s cooperative, Sindyanna, and,
Amend current paragraphs ten and eleven (last two paragraphs) as follows:
WHEREAS, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to address the underlying systemic justice issues throughout the world and to provide opportunities for supporting systems based on the values of justice, cooperation, sustainability, and the common good, we therefore create a partnership with a key U. S. Fair Trade organization, Equal Exchange, and join over 5,000 places of worship and faith-based organizations who support small coffee, tea and cocoa farmers in developing nations.
Therefore, be it resolved, that in seeking an authentic Christian response to the plight of developing world small individual coffee farmers, their families, and their communities, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church urges all agencies of the church, local congregations and their affiliated organizations that use coffee, tea, cocoa and/or olive oil to purchase coffee, tea, cocoa, olive oil and other fair trade products for corporate and personal use through the fair trade partner, Equal Exchange, or through another fair trade organization.
See Social Principles, ΒΆ 163D.