Since the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) issued its 100-Ton Challenge for United Methodists to increase their purchases of fairly traded goods on World Fair Trade Day 2008, 56.5 tons have been purchased towards this goal.

The goods, purchased through the UMCOR Coffee Project and its partner Equal Exchange, ensure that small-scale farmers receive a fair wage for their crops.

The 100-Ton Challenge which ends on World Fair Trade Day, May 9, 2009, is just over the half-way mark. UMCOR is encouraging United Methodist participation to help reach its record goal of 100 tons. In doing so, small-scale farmers across Latin America, Asia and Africa are ensured a fair wage for their labor, enabled to better support their families, live healthier lives, sustain the environment and help send their children to school.

Participation in UMCOR's 100-Ton Challenge and support of the fair trade model shows that we can do justice everyday through our consumer choices.

Last year, United Methodists bought 68 tons or 136,000 pounds of fairly-traded products. With every pound of product sold through the UMCOR Coffee Project, 15 cents went to support farmers through UMCOR's Sustainable Agricultural and Development Program (SA&D).

Your participation helped farmers like Famatta McGill of Caldwell, Liberia, succeed in her community. McGill is an UMCOR-SA&D Integrated Crop and Pest Management graduate who after completing UMCOR's Farmer Field School training, banded together with other farmers to open a micro loan to purchase farming tools, supplies and seedlings for their first cabbage harvest. Today, this member group is planning to expand their farm activities to include beekeeping and livestock work.

Through the UMCOR-SA&D program, and partly because of the portion of proceeds made available through fair trade purchases, farmers able to learn new methods of cultivating their crops that produce good yields and nutritious food for their families. Your purchases also help in sustaining their livelihood as well as keep their communities prospering.

Join the Challenge now. Help farmers like McGill through your fair trade purchases. Log on to and visit Web page and click on Far Trade Coffee story for creative ways you can support fair trade practices in your community. Support UMCOR's Sustainable Agriculture and Development Program, Advance # 982188 which helps farmers and their families improve their lives. Gifts can be given through your local United Methodist church or send your check marked with Advance # 982188 to United Methodist Committee on Relief, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115