A yard sale and ceilidh will be held Sunday, April 25 from 1 to 6pm at the Christ Church Hall on Trinity Avenue in Sydney featuring entertainment by fiddler Colin Morrison and singer songwriters Breagh MacKinnon, Colette Deveaux, John Hatcher, Scott Boudreau, and Alicia Penney. A drum jam will also be held at the midpoint of the event. All proceeds will go towards the CCDA (Highland Small Farmer’s Committee) in Guatemala, an organization that cooperatively produces the “fair trade, shade-grown organic coffee” distributed by Wolfville’s Just Us! Coffee roasters that is enjoyed by many Nova Scotians.
Not only does the CCDA allow small farmers to sell their coffee for fair trade prices, they also help other small farmers become organically and fair trade certified so that they can also benefit from the better wage that fair trade coffee brings. The CCDA also is a strong advocate for indigenous rights and land rights, and their profits go towards development projects in the community like housing, rural hospitals, and training health workers.
Breaking the Silence (BTS), a Maritimes – Guatemala solidarity network claims that this has ruffled the feathers of the rich minority in Guatemala, and explains that threats and intimidation against the CCDA have been rampant in the last five months. Leocadio Juracan, the coordinator of the CCDA, was shot at six times in Guatemala city following the signing of a rural development agreement with the government. There have been two significant thefts of coffee as well, which represents around $35,000 – a huge economic blow to the CCDA.
Event organizer Rebecca MacDonald explains her and co organizer Lyn MacIntyre’s motivation behind holding this fundraiser. “I have been working for Breaking the Silence for a number of years.” says MacDonald. “BTS generally doesn’t do fundraising, so in this rare time when there is a call for fundraising to help CCDA recoup the costs of these thefts, I felt that we needed to help. I was just going to get a table at the Sunday flea market myself but a friend suggested renting a hall, which evolved into a yard sale and musical event. Just Us! has helped us out and given us some coffee to sell, and really, the whole thing has just snowballed.”
Those looking to support the fundraiser are encouraged to set up a table, or drop off donations of on the 25th between noon and one. Organizers will also pick up items in advance and can be contacted at – firstname.lastname@example.org