Is there a Fair Trade movement? How significant does a citizen’s social activity have to be to qualify as a participant in a movement? At its peak, Fair Trade social activity may have made it to the movement level in the U.S. and in some other Northern countries. We are past that period now, but can still learn from its history.
Categories: At Equal Exchange
Daniel FiresideJuly 25, 2017
Have you ever thought about how food companies are financed? We think about it a lot at Equal Exchange, and we’ve created a capital structure that reflects our cooperative values, and even allows participation from our regular customers and supporters.
Equal Exchange is unusual in lots of ways. You might know that we always pay above-market prices to farmers, buy directly from small-farmer co-operatives around the world, facilitate pre-harvest financing, and provide a ton of other benefits to farmers in the form of direct aid as well as training.
Danielle RobidouxJune 20, 2017
What does democracy mean to you? Do you believe that you are an active citizen in a democracy? How about in your food system? To me, democracy goes beyond showing up for one day to vote for a presidential candidate, sharing a politically charged status on social media, or filling out your e-mail to sign another online petition. Democracy takes effort, commitment, collective responsibility, and passion. It’s not always easy, certainly not simple, but if we as a people are committed to a better world, it cannot begin and end on Election Day.
Ashley SymonsJune 13, 2017
On June 9, we welcomed about 50 Equal Exchange worker-owners, 50 members of our Action Forum, and three coffee producers, together for a day of shared learning at our first-ever People's Food System Summit. With topics ranging from how climate change is impacting small-scale farming communities, to the manipulation of the "Fair Trade" movement, to the consolidation of the food system, it was a day that left many of us wondering, what can we do about it? How can we organize consumers?
Rink DickinsonJune 5, 2017
Over the last year we have had the chance to organize and meet some of our strongest supporters at Action Forum events. In person, from the West Coast to the East Coast, and in virtual forums, we have tried to articulate what we know needs to be built and why we need your participation to succeed. It has been interesting and a challenge. A bunch of you have jumped in with us, and we thank you, while others have expressed confusion around what exactly the Action Forum is and does.
Kate BrattinMay 9, 2017
At the beginning of April, the world’s largest coffee conglomerate, JAB Holdings, bought Panera Bread and its 2,000 cafés across the U.S. You may not know JAB by name, but the Luxembourg-based holding company has been the biggest player in the industry since 2015. This nesting dolls effect – a brand being swallowed up by bigger and bigger companies, distorting what was once familiar – isn’t just a trend in coffee. It’s happening all over in the food industry.
Frankie PondolphApril 25, 2017
As an Organizer for the Action Forum I see myself as a dot connector to help facilitate building an even bigger community with our customers and allies. Despite the system’s power to commodify every aspect of our lives, including our abilities to connect with one another, here we have the opportunity to create something anew.
Equal ExchangeApril 11, 2017
How can citizen-consumers come together as a political, thinking community? What can we learn from past efforts to reform the food system, and from the current efforts of others involved in the movement for food justice? Equal Exchange has taken the step to create a community of people working together to deepen our collective understanding of these issues and to take actions where strategic, through the creation of the Equal Exchange Action Forum.
Equal ExchangeMarch 28, 2017
In Part One, we described key problems we need to address, challenge and solve if we want to create a just food system. In Part Two, post one, we dug into the successes and failures of Fair Trade and Certifications as food system reforms. And now, we look to Food Co-ops and Boycotts. Equal Exchange grew directly from the food co-op movement. The Equal Exchange founders—Michael Rozyne, Jonathan Rosenthal and myself—all worked at the New England food co-op warehouse. This was a secondary, consumer-owned warehouse that was initially collectively run when we began and then had a general manager four years later as we were exiting Northeast Co-ops for the birth of Equal Exchange in the mid-1980s.
Equal ExchangeMarch 21, 2017
There have been movements and models that have attempted to address, challenge and change problems in the food system, and create food justice, solidarity, and authentic citizen-consumer actions. Over the next two posts we will examine and analyze four different reforms spawned by these movements and explore what they accomplished and failed to accomplish. From this learning we believe we can be more effective in all of our food justice work and, ultimately, lay the framework for what we need to do as the Equal Exchange Action Forum.