GLOBAL ECONOMY

Can Fair Trade Coffee Save Mexico’s Poorest State?
Chiapas, Mexico, is coffee country, supplier of premium beans to boutique coffee brands and major international companies such as Starbucks and Nestle. But Chiapas is, too, home to many of the poorest towns in Mexico, despite concentrated efforts to invest following fair trade and sustainable production guidelines. ALL PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL PARISH FLANNERY.
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A view of San Cristóbal.

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High in the hills above Ocosingo, a coffee town in Chiapas, Mexico, a young girl stands next to a tarp covered with drying coffee beans. 

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A young boy runs along side the road in a small settlement above the colonial city of San Cristobal, Chiapas. Chiapas’s small town schools offer students few chances to compete in the global economy.

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Today brands such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks purchase beans in Chiapas. “Before Fair Trade, farmers were on their own, especially in regions like Chiapas where farmers are isolated and lack a network that can help them level the playing field,” said Marie Jo Cook, Chief Impact Officer at Fair Trade USA, an Oakland California-based NGO.

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Can Fair Trade Coffee Save Mexico’s Poorest State?

Chiapas, Mexico, is coffee country, supplier of premium beans to boutique coffee brands and major international companies such as Starbucks and Nestle. But Chiapas is, too, home to many of the poorest towns in Mexico, despite concentrated efforts to invest following fair trade and sustainable production guidelines. ALL PHOTOS BY NATHANIEL PARISH FLANNERY.

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