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What is Fair Trade? View PDF of Colleen Crosby's Congressional Testimony View Photo Gallery of Santa Cruz Coffee's Trips to Sources Fair Trade Links

During her days as a student at the University of California Santa Cruz, Colleen Crosby learned several important lessons. As a student, she learned that coffee was her friend, and like any friend, good coffee was better than bad coffee. As an Economics major, she learned the skills necessary to establish and run a successful business. And as a member of the Santa Cruz community, she learned the power of activism and the changes that one person could make to better the lives of others. When she started the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company with Bronson Baker, all of these lessons played a major part in the company’s development. Closest to her heart, however, was the concept of using the business as an extension of her beliefs, rather than simply for the pursuit of profit.
_____Before Transfair came to the US, the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company had made an effort to carry what were labeled “fairly traded” coffees. Colleen, co-founder and husband Bronson Baker, and their daughter Sarah Crosby-Baker made a point to travel to the source countries from where they purchased their coffee and meet the farmers who grew and harvested the beans. As a lifelong activist, the marriage of business and beliefs had always been of the utmost importance to Colleen and her family.
_____In 1999, Transfair began certifying Fair Trade coffee in the United States. Shortly thereafter, in early 2000, the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company became the first Fair Trade licensee on the central California coast. Later that year, Colleen traveled to Nicaragua and Costa Rica with a group that included representatives from Transfair. This trip was the event that inspired her to look beyond her own business and become a national and international advocate for Fair Trade.
_____The following summer, Colleen, Bronson, and Sarah planned another trip to Nicaragua to film the documentary “In Our Hands: Sustainable Relationships in Specialty Coffee.” The film debuted at a Specialty Coffee Association of America event to show other coffee roasters and vendors the faces behind their coffee.

The film was immediately used as a training tool for the entire staff of the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company so every employee could be educated in the significance of Fair Trade.
_____Colleen traveled extensively over the years, meeting with coffee farmers to hear their stories and with coffee colleagues to share these stories and to spread the word about Fair Trade. She looked at other coffee vendors not as competition, but rather as potential allies in the struggle to help the coffee producers achieve a better life through fair business practices.
_____In 2003, Congressional Representative Sam Farr invited Colleen to be a witness at a hearing before the House Subcomittee on International Relations in Washington DC. Speaking on the impact of US Coffee Import Standards, Colleen related stories of both the hardships of the coffee families that she had witnessed on her travels to Nicaragua and Colombia as well as the hope that Fair Trade provided for the farming families. Her testimony closed with a plea for the US government and the country’s consumers to support Fair Trade practices.
_____Sadly, in late 2005 Colleen was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Shortly before her death in 2006, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Coffee Alliance for her tireless dedication to farming communities around the world and was recognized in the United States Congressional Record for her “lifetime of dedication to others.”
_____Today, Bronson and Sarah continue to carry out Colleen’s vision of supporting and promoting Fair Trade. Sarah frequently speaks at various venues to educate the public about the importance of fair trade and social responsibility. We continue to travel to our coffee sources in Africa and Latin America to build our relationships directly with the farming communities. Most importantly, we are committed not only to providing our customers with the highest-quality coffee available, but also to inform our customers of the story behind their coffee.
Colleen testifies before house subcommittee, 2003   Sarah in Ethiopia, 2005   Colleen, Bronson and Sarah in Nicaragua, 2001  
What is Fair Trade? View PDF of Colleen Crosby's Congressional Testimony View Photo Gallery of Santa Cruz Coffee's Trips to Sources Fair Trade Links