Tue, Dec 30, 2014 - 12:23pm

Olives, Occupation, and Opportunity: a Visit to the West Bank

Darya Mattes
December 30, 2014

On a rainy Tuesday in late November, just a few weeks after the end of the 2014 olive harvest, I had the opportunity to spend a day with the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), Equal Exchange’s olive oil partner in Palestine. I’ve visited a Fair Trade coffee co-op and have learned about many others during my four years at Equal Exchange, but on this visit, I was struck by how embedded olive farming and olive oil production are in every aspect of Palestinian culture. Unlike coffee, tea, and cacao, which were imported to many producer countries as commodity crops under colonial regimes, olive oil production is a centuries-long tradition for people in this region.

Fri, Dec 5, 2014 - 8:34am

The Non-GMO Labeling Project: Is something better than nothing?

Small Farmers, Big Change
December 5, 2014

In today’s third and final piece on the Non-GMO Labeling Project, Sales Representative Gabriella della Croce offers us some thoughtful reflections on whether this particular labeling initiative is “better than nothing” for consumers who do not want to be consuming GMO products.  We leave you with this question to ponder:  Is something better than nothing, or does this initiative, with its good intentions, actually undermine other efforts which go so much further to keep consumers informed, educated, and healthy?  As always, we appreciate your feedback and your views.

Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 10:32am

Voluntary Non-GMO Labeling: A Party Worth Joining?

Small Farmers, Big Change
December 3, 2014

On Monday, we heard from Jenica Rosen who raises important questions about the Non GMO Project.  Jenica asks us to look into the companies that are supporting this initiative and consider their motives for doing so.  Encouraging us to “follow the money,” she urges shoppers to dig deeper into any certification or labeling system and then make their own decisions about the products and the companies they support with their consumer dollars.  Today, we hear from another Equal Exchange Sales Representative, Ellen Mickle, also based in our Portland, Oregon office.

Mon, Dec 1, 2014 - 7:00pm

A $10 Million Blow to Fair Trade: How a Grant to Fair Trade USA May Take Down a Movement

Small Farmers, Big Change
December 1, 2014

The following press release comes from the Fair World Project.
News came out last week that Bob Stiller, founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (now Keurig Green Mountain) and still recognized as Chairman Emeritus, made a $10 million dollar grant to Fair Trade USA, a fair trade labeling organization on whose board Stiller sits. This is a challenge grant requiring $10 million additional dollars to be raised, bringing the total investment in Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) to $20 million.

Mon, Dec 1, 2014 - 9:30am

To label or not? What’s behind the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal?

Small Farmers, Big Change
December 1, 2014

If you shop at your local food co-op, Whole Foods, or a number of other natural food grocery stores you have probably seen this label.  One of the newest seals in the marketplace, this one attempts to assure shoppers that the product does not contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).  Unlike the mandatory GMO labeling laws which a number of states have been trying to pass at the polls, this initiative is seemingly noncontroversial.  Who can find fault with the pretty butterfly hanging out in nature’s green pastures?

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