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.
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.
Sugar. It seems like such a simple thing. The essential ingredient we so often buy in the U.S. that ends up in something delicious that makes us happy - a morning cup of coffee, a celebratory cake, or a pan of brownies. The reality is, sugar is far from simple.
Hi there! My name is Megan and I am a member of the Equal Exchange Action Forum, as well as the Events, Education and Sustainability Coordinator at the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, NH. Our co-op is passionate about food system reform and creating supply chains which serve and benefit all of those involved.
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.
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?
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.
In mid-May, Equal Exchange, together with our friends at Root Capital, brought together six coffee farmer cooperatives for two days of self diagnostics and collaborative strategic planning in Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico.
Cooperation among cooperatives is the sixth international cooperative principle. Few organizations can lay a stronger claim to putting it into action than Equal Exchange. Since our founding 31 years ago, our very mission, organizational model, and business practices are lived out in adherence to this core value.