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, last week. This is the first of two blog posts from Beth Ann about the experience.
The following post is by Darya Mattes, Community Sales
Last year, we accomplished so much together. We’re so proud to have the support of coffee drinkers, chocolate lovers and authentic Fair Trade enthusiasts like you. You make it all possible.
Equal Exchange, along with six consumer food co-ops across the United States, founded the P6 Coop Trade Movement in 2009. Our mission is to support just and equitable trade relationships between farmers, producers, retailers and consumers rooted in cooperative principles and values. In participating P6 co-op stores, you can find and learn more about the products that meet our highest standards and values.
Name: Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
Location: Shebedino Woreda, Sidama Zone, Ethiopia
Number of Producers: 85,000
Certifications: Organic, Fair Trade, FLO
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.
The following post was written by Dana Geffner, Executive Director of the Fair World Project. The post was sent to us from Nicaragua where she is visiting Fair Trade co-operatives.
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.
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.