What Is Fair Trade Coffee & Why Is It Crucial for the Coffee Industry?

Ripe coffee cherries in Colombia.

Ripe coffee cherries in Colombia.

Stacey (Level Ground’s co-founder) with Jaime in Colombia.

Stacey (Level Ground’s co-founder) with Jaime in Colombia.

Fair trade coffee. Organic coffee. Sustainable coffee. Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about fair trade and sustainability, and the importance of knowing exactly where your coffee comes from. And (hopefully) you’re seeing more “fair trade” labels on the coffee you buy. But do you actually know what fair trade coffee is and why it’s so important?


First of all, fair trade coffee tastes a whole lot better than any other coffee! At Level Ground we know the farmers who grow our coffee - and we put their faces right on the package so you can get to know them too. Our coffee is handled intentionally from the time it’s picked right up to the small-batch roasting we do on Vancouver Island. So you’re guaranteed an incredible cup of coffee every time.

But fair trade coffee is so much more than the taste…

The official definition of fair trade by the Fair Trade Federation states that “Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.”

In other words, fair trade gives sustainable farmers in developing nations a chance to succeed and give back to the community they live in.

Fair trade coffee beans are grown by farmers who truly care about their trade. They’re paid fair wages in return for their coffee so they can support their families, and reinvest in their land — working towards a continually high standard sustainable product.



In addition to being able to support sustainable farmers and producing a great cup of coffee, there are many other reasons why fair trade coffee is absolutely crucial for the coffee industry.

It’s fair for everyone. The farmers who make the beans for your coffee get paid a fair, guaranteed minimum price in return. Workers are not exploited in any way and are provided with safe working conditions. And child labour is strictly prohibited (as it should be!).

Importers of fair trade coffee often deal with their farmers as closely as possible - we sure do at Level Ground! By doing this, we know we’re getting a great product and we’re keeping money in the pockets of farmers.

It helps build communities. Farmers who participate in the fair trade agreement are not only paid a fair price for their coffee beans, but they’re also paid a fair trade Premium, which is invested into their community. This money often goes towards building schools and providing education, healthcare services, improving farms, and providing housing within their community.

It produces environmentally sustainable coffee. Farmers who participate in fair trade truly care about their land! They know they need to consistently produce high-quality beans in order to continue in the fair trade agreement and receive the income to put back into their land.

Fair trade coffee supports small-scale farmers, their families, and the health of their communities. And it’s also incredibly beneficial for our earth as a whole.

So, the next time you enjoy your cup of Level Ground coffee, know that you’re not only going to have an excellent cup of coffee, but you’re supporting thriving communities.

Level Grounders visiting coffee farmers in Peru.

Level Grounders visiting coffee farmers in Peru.