clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fair Grinds' Wade Rathke Talks Community Organizing and Fair Trade Coffee

Photo: Fair Grinds Coffeehouse

Wade Rathke, founder for ACORN and the relatively proud new owner of Fair Grinds Coffeehouse, had a little chat with Ian McNulty this week about the beloved neighborhood coffee spot, a place Rathke characterizes as a "social enterprise venture." Fair Grinds is now operated as a "low-profit limited liability company," and funnels a portion of its revenues to community organizing efforts in beleaguered coffee-producing countries. Rathke believes that the modern coffeehouse can help strengthen the "weak links" social media has established between people, and, though he's still a bit of a coffee novitiate (he confesses that it took him "a while" to refine his espresso-making skills), he knows all about community organizing and believes he's creating a space for it at Fair Grinds.

He's also made a point of using fair trade coffee so that patrons can toil on their unfinished novels and screenplays without worrying about having helped exploit coffee growers in satisfying a caffeine craving. Rathke explains, "Fair trade guarantees (growers) that if they do it organically they'll get a better price for it. Then you're not at the point of exploiting a bunch of sharecroppers, and you can enjoy your coffee without worrying about that."

· Wade Rathke, Owner of Fair Grinds Coffee [Gambit]
· Fair Grinds [Official Site]

Fair Grinds

3133 Ponce De Leon Street New Orleans, LA 70119

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New Orleans newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world