"We are a specialty coffee truck in Chilliwack and we don't typically use fair trade certified coffees."
What a strange statement for a small locally focused business to make! Fair trade coffee was designed to safeguard growers against the ups and downs of the commercial C market. In the specialty coffee sector, which we find ourselves in, cup quality can often offer prices over double that of market price, "Fair Trade" makes less sense here. There have been studies showing that in certain areas fair trade deals can be arranged when the market is low and the growers then miss out on higher prices for their coffee when the market goes up. The positive side of fair trade when compared to non-fair trade commercial market quality coffee is that the farms will always get a price that at least meets the cost of production. In short, it's a complex issue.
The coffee that we use would qualify easily based on purchase prices to be certified fair trade but the cost of that certification is quite high and many of the roasters/producers/farmers that we involve ourselves with would rather see that extra money be paid to the farmers and their employees. It is only by paying higher prices for higher quality coffee that we see farms adjust their practices and become more passionate about the product (coffee) that they are growing + selling. Check out a previous post about a brief explanation of coffee economics for more :)