Traverse City Coffee Expert Aids Those In Post-War Africa

A local business owner is returning to Northern Michigan after helping communities in Africa through coffee and fair trade.

Sipping coffee in his Traverse City business, Higher Grounds this morning; caffeine expert, Chris Treter, reflects on his most recent travels in post-war, Congo Africa; “Eastern Congo is one of the places on earth that is largely forgotten, six million people have died there in the last 20 years due to conflict. It also has amazing specialty coffee that’s just starting to be able to reach the outside world.”

Chris returns this week after two weeks in the Congo.

Two weeks spent working with international coffee farmers and those disadvantaged from the left over effects of war.

Chris says, “Many people in the world or everyone in the world really doesn’t think about the consequences of what happens to people after war. In the Congo, coffee growing communities have been affected by unexploded ordinances. So people working in the fields will be hoeing and then all of a sudden an explosion would take place because they would hit a bomb that didn’t explode.”

Chris’s crew went to three different regions to work with those effected and figure out how to best help.

A lot of times it’s prosthetics so we’ll find prosthetics which is an easy solution, but a lot of times the end goal is to put them back in the value chain,” remarks Chris.

That chain all leads back to what the brew master does best, coffee.

Giving people jobs and income with fair trade coffee is what Chris says him and his company are based on; “Higher Grounds is built upon the mission of having a circular economic model where we not only buy at high prices at long relationships, but pre-financing for the growers. We also support community development and projects in the communities year after year.”

Being raised in a region so blessed by community business and support, Chris says it’s imperative to who we are to make sure others have the same opportunities; “Even if you’re not buying Higher Grounds, you’re buying something that’s organic or fair trade or ethically made. The larger the demand for those products, the more that companies are gonna create those products.”

The beans from those specific coffee farms are in many Higher Grounds coffee blends, but specifically their Muungano Blend.

For information on that blend and how you can help contribute, click here.

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