Don Juan Mora, a small-scale organic coffee farmer in Nicaragua, reached down and took a piece of organic material that was covered with a fungal mat from the soil on his farm. “When you see this, it means the soil is good and coffee plants will do well,” he said. As a master gardener back in the U.S., this made me think more about soil and its importance. A commonly used axiom in gardening and horticulture is the statement that “soil is not dirt.” This simple but profound gardening proverb suggests that healthy soil is a complex mixture of minerals, organic matter, air, water and millions of different living organisms (bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms, gastropods and more). We should think of healthy soil as a living, breathing organism which needs to be nourished in order to support plant and animal life. This concept has also been called the “soil food web” to denote the interdependent nature of these relationships.
n January 2015, I had the extraordinary privilege of joining an Equal Exchange/PCUSA delegation to Nicaragua. These delegations connect supporters of Fair Trade, and Equal Exchange employees like me, with the people and places that make our products possible. Traveling to this new country, meeting farmers and seeing the co-ops firsthand brought everything I knew about Fair Trade to life. Here’s a look into our week of learning and exploring. Our Nicaraguan coffees are on sale for a limited time, too!
If you drink tea, particularly tea sourced from India, we invite you to listen to this 6-minute BBC report on the working conditions and treatment of workers on tea plantations in India. (Story begins at minute 6:17)
If you buy tea, please consider looking specifically for tea grown by small-scale farmers, rather than tea coming out of plantations, EVEN IF the tea is fair trade certified.
Get into the Spirit of Passover. Order your Kosher for Pesach chocolate knowing that your chocolate was not produced by forced labor. More info >
Binita Rae, Mineral Springs Cooperative, Darjeeling, India
From decadent cookies to hot chocolate to the perfect mocha, there are lots of reasons to love our rich and flavorful organic cocoa. But what’s the best thing about our cocoa? It’s the story–about farmer ownership, empowerment and an evolving supply chain.
Choosing to serve Fair Trade coffee, tea and more in your office means choosing to support small farmer co-ops, community development and environmental stewardship worldwide. Tell clients, coworkers and guests that your business believes in building a better world for all of us. Find out how >
Running a school-wide fundraiser can be logistically challenging, but if your community is motivated and organized, you’ll see big results! And with an Equal Exchange school fundraiser, your community will support small-scale farmers and artisans at the same time.
Equal Exchange is proudly supporting the Coffee Quality Institute’s Gender Equity program as a Sustaining Partner. Equal Exchange Coffee Quality Manager Beth Ann Caspersen participated in the second of four international workshops in Palacaguina, Nicaragua in January. This is the second of two blog posts about the experience.
This is the final post in a three-part series. If you missed the first parts, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here.
For the past few days, we’ve been sharing how Equal Exchange‘s work as a fair trade avocado importer reflects our vision for transforming the way Mexican produce is grown and exported to the United States.
Today, we want to outline what we think needs to happen to make this transformative model a truly sustainable model for each stakeholder in our supply chain.