“Fair trade farmers get a higher price for shade-grown coffee,” said Candace Forette, executive director of Global Village Billings, a retail store that seeks to end unfair business practices such as exploitation of children, dangerous workplaces and subterranean wages.
She added, “Typically, it is not market forces that build community and feed families ... [Fair Trade] seeks to build a peaceful world through economic and social justice.”
She explained in an interview how two principles of fair trade - responsible stewardship of the environment and earning a wage reflective of the work done - encourage coffee farmers to grow their plants in a way that helps the environment.
“Organic shade-grown coffee is grown slowly ... there is only one harvest of coffee beans per season,” Ms. Forette said. “Sun-grown [coffee], on the other hand, those coffee plants produce many harvests per year, so more pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are needed to get the plants to produce.”
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 01:17
HELENA – Montana’s 2013 Legislature had barely adjourned last week when state leaders from both major parties began chalking up the session’s successes and failures.
“The Democrats were able to work with commonsense Main Street Republicans, and we got a lot of great things accomplished,” said Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock at a press conference. “They never let a letter after their name come before their constituents and come before Main Street Montana.”
A coalition of Republicans defied their conservative leaders to side with Democrats on a number of the session’s big-ticket items. Not all of those bills passed, but the Legislature approved bills to shore up the state’s pension shortfall, increase education funding and provide state workers with a pay raise for the first time in more than four years.
“We did not raise income taxes, (we) fulfilled our obligations, paid our debts, dealt with our liabilities, made new investments,” Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso, D-Butte, told his colleagues on the Senate floor.
Lawmakers met their one constitutional obligation: passing a balanced budget. They approved $10 billion to fund agencies and programs over the next two years.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:27
HELENA – As Montanans scrambled to meet this week’s tax deadline, their elected officials buckled down with goals of simplifying the state tax code and sending money back to taxpayers.
A number of proposals remain alive, but with less than two weeks left this session, there’s no telling which bills will reach the governor’s desk.
During a hearing last week, Rep. Kelly Flynn, R-Townsend, asked a senator the question on everyone’s mind: “We’re looking at the total amount of funds we have available for tax relief. In your mind, where would you put your income tax relief bill with, let’s say, the business equipment tax proposals that are working their way through?”
The answer will come during the final days of the session when lawmakers rank major spending items, including a $9 billion budget and bills to address a pension system shortfall, education funding reform, state employee pay and construction projects at colleges.
The chances for any cuts in income or property taxes will depend on how much money the Legislature decides to spend on services or save as a cushion against unexpected costs until the next session. As of late last week, lawmakers were on track to spend $95 million more than the state is projected to collect over the next two years.
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 April 2013 14:48