In 2010, Equal Exchange and TCHO Chocolate embarked on a journey to partner in new and innovative ways with cacao co-operatives in Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic. With support from the USAID Co-operative Development Program, we set out to develop a project focused on three key factors for cooperative success: quality, productivity, and capitalization.
Categories: Farmer Partners
Frankie PondolphSeptember 26, 2017
A year ago we hosted Tomy Mathew at our first Action Forum event at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington, Mass. Tomy works with Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), a small farmer organization in Kerala, India, that supplies cashews to Equal Exchange. FTAK was formed during the agrarian crisis that set producers in a cycle of poverty and indebtedness; farmers were not getting paid the cost of production for their crop.
Laura BechardSeptember 18, 2017
Two weeks ago, workers from Equal Exchange and La Siembra (a sister worker co-op committed to small farmers, based in Canada) had the opportunity to visit our mutual sugar partner, Manduvira co-operative in Paraguay, and share a day and a half at the homes and fields of several of its 986 farmer members.
Equal ExchangeSeptember 8, 2017
If you've been following this blog over the last year, you've seen various critiques of the Fair Trade movement - both its history and the current state of the so-called movement that requires consumers to simply look for a certification seal. To help articulate an authentic version of Fair Trade that is shared by many Equal Exchange colleagues, allies, and partners, we created a comic book that presents the history of Fair Trade with illustrated condensed stories, and heroes and villains. Our hope is that readers will dig deeper, ask questions, and think about the future of small farmers, co-ops, and alternative trade organizations.
Nicole VitelloAugust 28, 2017
In August, I traveled to Michoacán to visit PRAGOR, the avocado co-operative that we partner with in Mexico. I visited both the avocado growers and the management of the co-op that buys the avocados from individual growers and gets them from the farms to the pack house into Equal Exchange branded boxes, and then sends them on the road to us here in the U.S. every week.
Equal ExchangeAugust 22, 2017
One of the most important tea sourcing regions for Equal Exchange is Darjeeling, India, a municipality of the West Bengal state located in the foothills of the Himalayas, just under Nepal. Since early June there have been widespread protests and strikes, and the entire area - including the entire tea industry - has been shut down for over 60 days. The reason for the unrest is the fight for Gorkhaland.
Carly KadlecAugust 15, 2017
Do you remember hearing about coffee leaf rust, or la roya, over the last few years? Coffee leaf rust is a fungus that has greatly impacted coffee production across the producer world in Central and South America during the last few harvest cycles. While it is not a new fungus, this most recent flare up has wreaked havoc on the household level across not only the Equal Exchange supply chain but throughout Latin America. Besides being a top-level crisis in and of itself, it also has helped to more fully reveal long-term challenges and problems in coffee supply chains.
Jenica CaudillJuly 13, 2017
Here on the Equal Exchange blog, we often discuss the woes surrounding the consolidation of natural foods, from the farm level to the store level. Equally as important though, are the discussions around family farmers who are creating success, even along the inherently difficult path that is organic farming. Earlier this month, myself and several others at Equal Exchange had the opportunity to visit with our almond partners, Burroughs Family Farms. At their farm outside Denair, Calif., we shared a meal, toured the grounds, and learned about their methods of organic, regenerative agriculture.
Laura BechardJuly 12, 2017
In April 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s coastal region, killing over 650 people and wounding another 16,000. The epicenter of this destructive phenomenon was located within one of our cacao partner co-operatives, UOPROCAE. Last year, Equal Exchange, the Cooperative Development Foundation, Pronatec (our Swiss partner for chocolate making), food co-operatives, and caring individuals came together to donate over $35,000 to support recovery efforts to two of our partner co-operatives in the region.
Equal ExchangeJuly 10, 2017
At Equal Exchange, our goal is to build supply chains that empower small-scale farmers, inform and educate consumers, and create long-term partnerships between the various actors at each stage of the food import-export process. In a conventional supply chain, these different players all operate in their own spheres, each doing what they do best: growing bananas, exporting bananas, ripening bananas, running businesses, distributing and selling produce.