PHOENIX — Stephanie Vasquez was already helping the future of the Valley as a teacher in west Phoenix, but 14 years ago she took a leap of faith and opened Fair Trade Café, serving up what she calls coffee with a conscience.
“Mother Earth, where coffee’s grown, how people cultivate the land, how consumers drink and consume coffee.” said Vasquez.
With every cup she hoped to educate people about the working conditions around the world; all of her coffee is grown on farms that pay their workers fairly and are treated properly.
“We're all intertwined and how my purchases is literally sustained livelihoods, generational livelihoods, from people all over the world,” said Vasquez.
Vasquez learned resilience from her family and culture and it has helped her during the trying times of owning a business.
“Well, I really am a mirror of my family and they, the way that my mother and father raised me, was to pride yourself in the work that you do.” Vasquez said.
Community is so vital to Vasquez that she created another passion project, Mujeres Mercado: A platform for other Latina-owned businesses to come together and showcase their work at her café.
“Work doesn't have to be hard, however, that was a very focal point in our family and I think in the Latino community we want to work hard and we want to contribute and we want to be part of something.” said Vasquez.
The Mujeres Mercado will be back this coming weekend after a brief hiatus due to COVID-19. You can find the different vendors selling their one of a kind items above Fair Trade Café on Oct. 11. For more details head to their Instagram page.