MC Alum Speak to Students about Fair Trade Coffee Company, Hudson Roasters

by KATIE HENEGHAN & KELLY KENNEDY, Asst. Features Editor & Staff Writer

Manhattan College’s Women in Business and Students for Fair Trade on campus hosted two MC alums, Bernadette Gerrity and Sal Santuccio, both co-founders of their fair trade coffee company, Hudson Roasters. On Wednesday Oct. 23rd, students gathered in De La Salle to hear about the ethical sourcing of their products, as well as their experience as young entrepreneurs.

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Fair Trade MC hosts Bernadette Gerrity and Sal Santuccio of Hudson Roasters. KELLY KENNEDY / THE QUADRANGLE

Gerrity and Santuccio followed in the footsteps of their parents, Cuban immigrants who started their own coffee roasting business in 1961. Hudson Roasters are developing a fair trade and ethical way of delivering coffee from bean to cup.

Santuccio and Gerrity have developed a relationship within the Fair Trade community to source beans from farms across the world to find the perfect cup of coffee. As for tasting, Santuccio feels as if you develop a sense for the perfect cup.

“The cup is king. When you have a good cup of coffee you know what it is,” says Santuccio.

A key aspect of Fair Trade products, beyond the actual coffee, is the treatment of farmers, and ensuring that they are treated and paid justly.

“Fair trade goes to farms and makes sure you know that the farms are up to standard. They have people that are doing audits and checking in to make sure that the standards are met,” says Gerrity.

However, cultural differences make it difficult to ensure that these practices are always being followed. In different countries, where education systems are not as well developed, it is not uncommon for children to work on their parents farms at a young age, making it difficult to distinguish between child labour, and cultural family practices.

“No one can be policed everyday, but we hope that their standards and practices are strict enough that people are following them. Also their beneficial enough that Fair Trade is also helping people adequately enough that farmers want to participate in this,” says Gerrity.

Additionally, Fair trade regulates that the farmers are being paid a living wage, and are being paid for their work. This is enforced through premiums.

“Fair Trades premiums that they put on prices are very important because they help people sustain themselves financially within their farms,” says Gerrity.

As for the future, Gerrity and Santuccio plan to stick primarily to coffee. However, they are in the process of utilizing their excess resources for charitable donations.

“Right now were looking at how to make tote bags out of our burlap sacks so that we can donate money from that,” says Gerrity.

Senior Rabea Ali is the President of Women in Business, and supporter of Fair Trade products.

“It’s one of the path’s that I see towards a sustainable future…. It’s not the million dollar answer but it’s one of the closest things,” says Ali.

Sophomore Alana Pons finds that Fair Trade is the perfect way to ensure your maintaining your moral standards in the products you use.

“Fair Trade is important because it connects your morals and ethics to your everyday routine,” says Pons.