Saturday, January 27, 2007

Kona Coffee Wars

I have a dear friend who is a Kona Coffee farmer in Kona, Hawaii. She and her partner lovingly harvest and roast their own coffee beans or hire local harvestors and pay them a living wage. She sent me an email with a plea for support in the face of large processors who are mislabeling their products and selling inferior coffee using the Kona name.
The farmers in our organization "The Kona Coffee Farmers Association" only sell 100% Kona Coffee but our reputation is being damaged by processors selling an inferior coffee blend and using the "Kona" name. We have been fighting to change the law in the State of Hawaii to require that at least 75% Kona beans be used in a bag of coffee in order to use the "Kona" name on the bag. Currently, the blends have only 10% Kona coffee and 90% inferior beans from places such as Guatemala & Columbia but the blenders are still allowed to use the Kona name on the label. In a 10% blend, the Kona beans can not even be tasted.

We have won this fight at the city level however, in the coming week we are going to Honolulu to take it to the state level. Because so many of our members are small farmers who can't afford to be away from their farms or do not have the money to travel to Honolulu, we are attempting to get as many of our customers to sign this petition to let the state know that not only do the farmers need protection but the consumer needs to be protected with truth in labeling.

Our biggest battle is against the large processors creating these blends, they have waged a war against us in this fight. They have a very lucrative business deceiving tourists and others into purchasing coffee they believe are blends of different Kona coffees. They are very well financed and will have a very large group in Honolulu to try to protect their bottom line. Please help us protect our farms and the reputation of Kona Coffee which generations of farmers have worked so hard to create.
Click here to sign the petition.

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