Is there a Fair Trade movement? How significant does a citizen’s social activity have to be to qualify as a participant in a movement? At its peak, Fair Trade social activity may have made it to the movement level in the U.S. and in some other Northern countries. We are past that period now, but can still learn from its history.
Have you ever thought about how food companies are financed? We think about it a lot at Equal Exchange, and we’ve created a capital structure that reflects our cooperative values, and even allows participation from our regular customers and supporters.
Equal Exchange is unusual in lots of ways. You might know that we always pay above-market prices to farmers, buy directly from small-farmer co-operatives around the world, facilitate pre-harvest financing, and provide a ton of other benefits to farmers in the form of direct aid as well as training.
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.
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?