Don Juan Mora, a small-scale organic coffee farmer in Nicaragua, reached down and took a piece of organic material that was covered with a fungal mat from the soil on his farm. “When you see this, it means the soil is good and coffee plants will do well,” he said. As a master gardener back in the U.S., this made me think more about soil and its importance. A commonly used axiom in gardening and horticulture is the statement that “soil is not dirt.” This simple but profound gardening proverb suggests that healthy soil is a complex mixture of minerals, organic matter, air, water and millions of different living organisms (bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms, gastropods and more). We should think of healthy soil as a living, breathing organism which needs to be nourished in order to support plant and animal life. This concept has also been called the “soil food web” to denote the interdependent nature of these relationships.
AnonymousMarch 24, 2015
Sara FioreMarch 16, 2015
n January 2015, I had the extraordinary privilege of joining an Equal Exchange/PCUSA delegation to Nicaragua. These delegations connect supporters of Fair Trade, and Equal Exchange employees like me, with the people and places that make our products possible. Traveling to this new country, meeting farmers and seeing the co-ops firsthand brought everything I knew about Fair Trade to life. Here’s a look into our week of learning and exploring. Our Nicaraguan coffees are on sale for a limited time, too!
Small Farmers Big ChangeMarch 9, 2015
If you drink tea, particularly tea sourced from India, we invite you to listen to this 6-minute BBC report on the working conditions and treatment of workers on tea plantations in India. (Story begins at minute 6:17)
If you buy tea, please consider looking specifically for tea grown by small-scale farmers, rather than tea coming out of plantations, EVEN IF the tea is fair trade certified.
Small Farmers Big ChangeFebruary 19, 2015
Binita Rae, Mineral Springs Cooperative, Darjeeling, India
Sara FioreFebruary 16, 2015
From decadent cookies to hot chocolate to the perfect mocha, there are lots of reasons to love our rich and flavorful organic cocoa. But what’s the best thing about our cocoa? It’s the story–about farmer ownership, empowerment and an evolving supply chain.
Ruthie OlandFebruary 3, 2015
Running a school-wide fundraiser can be logistically challenging, but if your community is motivated and organized, you’ll see big results! And with an Equal Exchange school fundraiser, your community will support small-scale farmers and artisans at the same time.
Beth Ann CaspersenFebruary 2, 2015
Equal Exchange is proudly supporting the Coffee Quality Institute’s Gender Equity program as a Sustaining Partner. Equal Exchange Coffee Quality Manager Beth Ann Caspersen participated in the second of four international workshops in Palacaguina, Nicaragua in January. This is the second of two blog posts about the experience.
Small Farmers Big ChangeJanuary 30, 2015
This is the final post in a three-part series. If you missed the first parts, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here.
For the past few days, we’ve been sharing how Equal Exchange‘s work as a fair trade avocado importer reflects our vision for transforming the way Mexican produce is grown and exported to the United States.
Today, we want to outline what we think needs to happen to make this transformative model a truly sustainable model for each stakeholder in our supply chain.
Bethany KarbowskiJanuary 28, 2015
"Breaking the crust" is a term used in coffee cupping to describe the action of using a spoon to release the true aroma and quality of coffee that has been steeping in a glass beneath a layer of frothy grounds. Reflecting back on my experience with an Equal Exchange/Presbyterian Hunger Program delegation trip to a coffee co-op in Nicaragua in early January, “breaking the crust” was exactly what the journey felt like for me. It was my first "real" travel away from my insulated life in the United States and I had the unique opportunity to reveal something that was authentic and powerful regarding the human connection between the work that I do every day at Equal Exchange and the farmers who are growing and harvesting the coffee we sell.
Small Farmers Big ChangeJanuary 28, 2015
This is the second post in a three-part series. If you missed the first part, you can read it here.
On Friday, we introduced you to Equal Exchange’s vision for transforming the way Mexican produce is grown and exported to the United States. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into our ideas for a more just and sustainable food system by talking about our experience importing avocados from Mexico.