|when i'm not thinking about food, i'm a nerd.|
Breakfast: granola I bought from the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, blueberries and soy milk
Lunch: raspberry fruit leather, cucumbers and peanut butter (this is more delicious than you could imagine), sweet potato bread
Snack: tangerine, almonds, Starbucks sugar-free vanilla soy latte
Dinner: applesauce, blueberries, sweet potato chips
Where Is it from? And Theological Reflections (all in one!)
Ok, well, my latte came from the Starbucks that is about a block away from McCormick. Hyde Park has an absurd number of coffee shops in its neighbor; there are at least four in easy walking distance from McCormick. Starbucks is the corporately owned option. It’s the one I tend to go to the most (because its closest to school), but here are my other options.
Until this year, I didn’t even know about the DivSchool Coffee Shop. Its student run and most of its coffee is fair trade and the cups are paper-based. I’m convinced that this is the greenest coffee option in Hyde Park (they’re working on composting their coffee grounds!)
I’m still not really sure how I feel about ThirdWorld Café on 53rd—the customer service isn’t always that great and they can almost never foam my soy milk correctly. But their coffee is fair trade. And that fair trade coffee is served in a Styrofoam cup.
My very favorite coffee shop in Hyde Park is a longer walk from McCormick but it’s the best: Café 57! It’s locally owned and the coffee is fantastic! The distance from school is the major deterrent for me going there (I’m already commuting down to school, so I often can’t convince myself to walk half a mile for coffee). But it’s where I went every Monday night before my Spanish class last semester.
So why did I go to Starbucks? Because it’s closest to school. It’s what was most convenient. I’m not sure it a terrible, terrible choice for a coffee spot. Going to Starbucks is a once-a-week event for me. It’s a weekly adventure into corporate coffee (the rest of the week, when I want coffee I go to New Wave Café in Logan Square!) and I mostly think that’s fine.
But not everyone likes Starbucks.
This site talks about why one particular person dislikes them: http://www.ihatestarbucks.com/why.php
Coffee growers should be paid fair wages and work in non-oppressive work environments. Oxfam successfully convinced Starbucks to be better to their workers.
Here’s what Oxfam says about eco-friendly coffee growers in general: http://www.oxfam.org/en/development/ethiopia/coffee-growers-earn-better-price-protect-environment . This mostly focuses on better growing conditions for the coffee plants, not for the workers (though Oxfam has worked for better work conditions for Ethiopian coffee workers).
But what I think a conversation about Starbucks is really about is local versus corporate. Buying local means that we support local businesses and people, and we can have actual relationships with people at all parts of the production process. And food is not just for nutrients but also for relationships. At risk for repeating things I’ve said before—Jesus used food to build relationships and teach. The types of relationships we build should be ones that deepen our integrity and push us to work for the good life for all people.
I’ve hated the fact that I don’t like going to the local coffee shops which use Styrofoam (just because they use Styrofoam), but I’ve also hated the fact that I take the easy way out and go to Starbucks because it’s closest. I wonder if it matters what choice I make if I only go once a week now, if I go to a local place every other time.
One of the things that the person at http://www.ihatestarbucks.com/why.php complains about is that the company is just out for profits. Isn’t that true of local shops too? this person also complains that the baristas are “slave labor”… my friends who have worked at Starbucks have gotten paid minimum wage plus tips. Not the best salary, but not slave labor (that’s hyperbole).
Maybe I’m just justifying my laziness one day a week.
All you Starbucks drinkers or Starbucks haters… thoughts?