S+L logo

Catholic Focus: Looking at The Price of Sugar

September 28, 2010
Just over a year ago I was handed a DVD by a friend and told, "you need to watch this." It was a documentary film called "The Price of Sugar." The protagonist in the film is Fr. Christopher Hartley, a half British, half Spanish priest who ended up serving as the pastor of a parish in rural Dominican Republic.
FatherChristopherwithcanecuttersfromHaiti_FC_ClearedOne of the main agricultural products produced in the Dominican Republic is sugar cane. Large corporations own huge plantations and hire local working class people to harvest the cane.
Fr. Hartley discovered that the catchement area for his parish was made up of many of these plantations. His parishioners were the cane cutters. What's more, Fr. Hartley discovered that a great number of his parishioners were living in deplorable conditions.
The film follows Fr. Hartley's work among and for his parishioners, his push to help improve their living conditions and to tell the world what happens on Dominican sugar cane plantations.
I spoke to Fr. Hartley by phone from Spain about his time in the Dominican Republic and the push to have Dominican courts recognize the rights of the cane cutters.
I also spoke to Elizabeth Abbot, a writer from Ontario who has written a book about the history of the sugar trade. Incredibly, from the moment sugar was "discovered" by the upper and middle classes, the industry has been an exploitative industry. Elizabeth shared some of that history with me, as well as her tips on how to have your cake and sweeten it too, ethically.
You can catch our conversations on Catholic Focus: Looking at The Price of Sugar, this Wednesday September 29th at 7pm ET/8pm PT, with an encore presentation Saturday, October 2nd at the same times.
For more information on the film, visit The Price of Sugar, or www.elizabethabbott.ca for more on the book Sugar: A Bittersweet History.

Related posts

World Day of the Poor on S+L
FacebookTwitter
This Sunday is the 2nd World Day of the Poor. Watch this exclusive video with the president of Chalice and check out S+L's TV lineup. ...read more
SLHour: From Mountains High!
FacebookTwitter
Remember all those great church songs of the 70’s and 80’s? This week we speak with Ken Canedo about contemporary Catholic music from 1979 to 1985. ...read more
Deacon-structing Doctrine part 1: Doctrine vs. Dogma
FacebookTwitter
In January 2016 I wrote this post: Deacon-structing Mercy: Doctrine and someone sent me a comment. I had said something about the permanency of doctrine and that person was challenging my use of the w ...read more
The Virgin Mary floating down a street in the Canary Islands and Pope Francis above a door in Cologne? Check out the Weekly News Round-Up. ...read more
US bishops speak openly about their feelings regarding ex-cardinal McCarrick and expectations for new sexual abuse policies - and other stories. ...read more