Last year, Deepak Khandelwal wrote critically about fair trade certification and the contradictions of its apparent success. On the one hand, fair trade food (less so handicrafts) is more widely known, with greater sales and distribution than ever before. At the same time, the pioneering Alternative Trade Organizations (ATO’s) who built the model of more just trade terms in the chocolate, coffee, tea, banana, handicraft, and clothing industries are under extreme duress. In the last decade Equal Exchange has saved three of these Alternative Trade Organizations (Oke USA, Equal Exchange UK, and La Siembra (Canada) while watching others falter and even close.
Frankie PondolphFebruary 6, 2018
Frankie PondolphFebruary 1, 2018Categories:
In June 2017, a strike spread across Darjeeling, India and closed the entire region for 104 days. The motivation was political- a fight over identity, sovereignty, independence. In August we wrote about the fight for Gorkhaland, a movement to separate Darjeeling and surrounding areas (parts of Dooars and Siliguri) from the State of West Bengal to create an independent new state.
Equal ExchangeJanuary 16, 2018
Each January, against my own better judgement, I sit down and write out my resolutions for the coming year. I reflect on the previous 365 days, and resolve to be better and to do better. Often times, these aspirations involve food, so I research and plan how I might alter my methods of food consumption to effect positive change in my life. Food, which has become as much of a technical object as a cultural one, is an incredibly important part of our lives. In deciding how we nourish ourselves, we make decisions that are simultaneously nutritional and environmental, political and economic.
Carly KadlecJanuary 9, 2018Categories:
I often tell people that the easiest part of being a green coffee buyer is actually buying the coffee. The much more complicated and interesting part of my job is collaborating with our producer partners to work on the issues and threats that coffee-growing communities face. One of the big contemporary threats to coffee production is the aging of coffee farmers.
Ashley SymonsJanuary 2, 2018
With the start of a new year often comes reflection and resolution: eat healthier, save money, cook more. It's also really cold and dark in much of the country, which can mean increased time spent indoors. In this spirit, we'd thought we'd share some film and book recommendations from our Action Forum community.
Equal ExchangeDecember 19, 2017
For many years Equal Exchange has told the story of our worker cooperative, the story of our producer partners, but what stories make up the community of customers, activists and allies that we are building together through the newly launched Action Forum? Who are they? What are they doing out in the world? How can we begin to build one story together?
Laura BechardDecember 11, 2017
As rain drizzled down from slate grey skies, thousands of visitors took refuge inside Smith Cove at Pier 91 to attend the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle. The festival has been a staple of the city’s events scene since 2008. This year, the chocolate team at Equal Exchange participated in the festival workshops and unconference from Nov. 9-12.
Carly KadlecDecember 8, 2017
This week I was supposed to visit our producer partners at Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) in Marcala, La Paz, Honduras, along with Equal Exchange Coffee Quality Manager Beth Ann Caspersen, to discuss milling practices, contracts, and ongoing project work with our counterparts at COMSA. However, due to political unrest we decided to reschedule our trip so as not to put any of our partners at risk, and recognizing that our work could be put on hold while the Honduran people are fighting for democracy.
Ashley SymonsDecember 4, 2017
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a wave of consumption. We’re surrounded by food, drinks, gifts, travel - things that can add up to an increased carbon footprint. So, what can we do to be more sustainable during the holidays and even to use our purchasing power for good? Here are some tips to help us be conscious consumers during this busy holiday season:
Equal ExchangeNovember 27, 2017
Last month, we traveled to the West Bank to visit our Palestinian suppliers of organic extra virgin olive oil. At Equal Exchange, we are more than familiar with the daunting challenges and obstacles confronting cooperatives of small farmers growing coffee, cacao, and many other products. To those, we need to add all the constraints of physical movement and access to water that are everyday realities for Palestinian farmers given the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.