Tonight, Holly and I headed into the City for some dinner and a film screening of a new documentary entitled Buyer, Be Fair! It dealt with fair trade (and unfair trade) in the coffee and logging industries. Very informative film.
I have been a fan of FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED coffees for some time and most love Café Mam. But I have had people question the whole FAIR TRADE label...and I've wondered along with them about the 'dues' that small farmers have to pay and also about the systemic issues that sometimes do not get addressed. Still, I have found it to be a hopeful system (FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED, that is), and so I continue to support it. (BTW, here is a list of San Francisco FAIR TRADE stores if you want to support what they're doing.
The filmmaker was there tonight for Q & A afterwards, and so I asked him about this. He responded that certainly there were problems with certifying things and not being legalistic about it. Still, he felt that FAIR TRADE was doing a great job at being an independent certifier. A farmer from Peru was there as well. He said that it has tremendously helped his 2000+ farmer co-op. It has helped them rise above poverty, get clean water, and have a more hopeful future.
The filmmaker went on to say that often our perception of what is perfect becomes the enemy of something good. Well said. Man, as an idealist, I get so caught up in the best and look past things that could be good. Perhaps I even use some self-righteous, elite word like settling when referring to something like this.
I am constantly reminded that the Kingdom of God goes where there is goodness, not perfection. So let's champion the good (but often broken) things in our world. Or am I totally contradicting myself here?