Two days ago we had our second Movie Tuesday event with the screening of the documentary, Black Gold. Created by Marc, and Nick Francis, the film depicts the struggles of Ethiopian coffee farmers centering on exploitative trade practices with many first world nations. Through the use of the growers Co-Op that he leads, Tadesse Meskela travels all over the world talking to farmers and businessmen. He does this in an effort to negotiate higher prices for the Ethiopians who harvest what he believes to be "some of the best coffee in the world."
One of the most interesting parts of the movie to me was seeing how the price of Coffee is set in New York and London’s international coffee exchanges. Just like stocks, the price of coffee from each region rises and falls daily. This directly affects the farmers. It’s so bad that it has caused many of them to start growing narcotic substances instead of coffee just to survive.
Overall, I would say that the movie was powerfully effective, and moving. I think when seeing these types of films it is important for us to ask ourselves what we can do, no matter how small. I think the most significant thing we can do when ordering coffee at Starbucks, or buying it at the supermarket, is make sure that it is certified fair trade. Only then can you be certain the farmers were fairly compensated for their wages. The second would be to educate your friends about the situation, and recommend this movie to them.
The website for the film can be found at http://www.blackgoldmovie.com/