Can I visit the farmer co-ops?

Unfortunately, by and large, the farmer co-ops are not set up to offer study or work experiences but rather try to stay focused on the full-time task of running and growing what are complex businesses in a very competitive situation, usually with limited resources. Nor does Equal Exchange operate any such programs for the general public

However, the following small-scale, farmer co-operatives operate eco-tourism projects open to the public:

In Nicaragua:

In Peru:

In Ecuador:

Try Global Exchange's Fair Trade Reality Tours

For over 12 years Equal Exchange has collaborated with the San Francisco-based human rights and Fair Trade advocacy organization, Global Exchange, who has a long track record of running powerful, international, educational group tours, called "Reality Tours."

Every year they run many tours that focus on Fair Trade coffee, cocoa, tea & olive oil, and the lives of small-scale farmers who are a part of the Fair Trade movement.

Need an internship? Visit a farmer co-op and earn college credit!

The Community Agroecology Network (CAN) offers internship programs in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Academic credit is arranged through the internship office at your university, the field internship directors and the CAN internship coordinator. Qualified non-students may also serve as interns or volunteers in CAN communities. Visit the CAN website for additional information.

Before you leave, get prepared! Oxfam America, in collaboration with CAN, announces a new resource for college students preparing for field internships in CAN's partner communities: The Field Study Handbook: Guide to Internships in Coffee-Producing Communities. The multi-purpose handbook provides enrichment activities, comprehensive references and follow-up resources.

The handbook can also be adapted for use by anyone interested in teaching and learning about Fair Trade coffee, international trade, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, and community development. Interested? Download a free, electronic version of the handbook.