Categories: Farmer Partners

  • Kate Brattin
    May 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.

  • Phyllis Robinson
    April 14, 2017

    With Earth Day approaching, we thought we’d give one example of small-scale farmers who are experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Our cashew partner in El Salvador, APRAINORES, is a small group that has been consistently smacked by climate change and other difficulties.

  • Mildred Alvarado
    April 4, 2017

    The first five months of the year are usually the most difficult for our small-scale banana farmer partners due to weather difficulties. Problems due to the rainy season are expected. However, what’s happening this year is unusual. The intensity of the rains has put our farmer partners and the Oké USA banana team against new challenges that we were unprepared for. There has been a lot of creative problem solving and last minute decision making in order to fulfill orders on time. In these challenging times, we do everything on our end in order to support our farmer partners by: coordinating with shipping lines, giving credit to buy inputs such as boxes, and supporting staff through logistics and technical assistance, all in order to help them harvest the fruit and fulfill orders on time.

  • Mildred Alvarado
    March 13, 2017
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    Last October, we welcomed organic banana farmer Mariana Cobos to the Twin Cities to celebrate our 10 year anniversary importing bananas from AsoGuabo Cooperative in Ecuador. “I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to tell my story about the true history of small-scale banana farmers,” Mariana said during the visit. That story is filled with the difficulties, the challenges, and the inequity that small-scale farmers face.

  • Ashley Cheuk
    March 7, 2017

    Carly Kadlec is the Green Coffee Buyer at Equal Exchange, and one of the women that inspires me in our work toward trade justice. I’ve been fortunate to travel with Carly on visits to coffee farms in Honduras and Guatemala. Since March 8 is International Women’s Day, I wanted to sit down with Carly and talk about her work with coffee producers ... but, she’s on the road, as she often is, so we bring you this Q&A, across 2,500 miles.

  • Leif Rawson-Ahern
    February 28, 2017

    Equal Exchange has worked in the tea industry for more than 20 years. Our tea program is still relatively small, but we have leveraged our limited volume to support and strengthen a number of small-scale farmer groups in India and Sri Lanka. Small farmer cooperatives are incredible rare in the tea industry which was built on colonial plantations from the ground up. When considering the larger industry context, it is remarkable that our small-scale tea co-op partners exist at all.

  • Equal Exchange
    November 30, 2016

    It may seem like a distant memory at this point, but you may recall that Ecuador was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April of 2016. The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the town of Muisne – a community that is part of our partner organization UOPROCAE, or the Union of Producers of Cacao of Arriba Esmeraldas. One of the cities that suffered the worst infrastructure damage was Portoviejo, close to our other cacao partner organization Fortaleza del Valle. We reached out immediately to both groups and were very relieved to learn that there were no fatalities among the members and staff of the UOPROCAE or Fortaleza del Valle. However, damage to personal property and the property belonging to the farmer organizations is significant and will be slow to fully rebuild.

  • Jessica Jones-Hughes
    November 23, 2016

    Four years ago, the Equal Exchange banana team launched an avocado program knowing little about the avocado market and the realities of the industry in the U.S. We started our work in avocados because we met a small farmer co-op fighting for market access in an industry where farmer voices were absent. Equal Exchange has always had a non-traditional approach in the way that we craft our producer relationships and introduce new products. Not the typical, “there is a need in the market, let’s fill it;” instead we build through relationships.

  • Carly Kadlec
    November 8, 2016
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  • Leif Rawson-Ahern
    April 14, 2016
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