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.
Nicole VitelloMay 1, 2017
Today is International Workers Day, also known as May Day, which has roots in U.S. history, but is barely recognized here as it is officially in 66 other countries and unofficially in many more. Yet we owe our eight hour work day and five day work week, among other labor protections, to the 300,000 men, women and children who walked off their jobs on May 1, 1886, to protest their working conditions and lack of power in the growing capitalist industrial system, of which their labor was a necessary part.
Phyllis RobinsonApril 14, 2017
With Earth Day approaching, we thought we’d give one example of small-scale farmers who are experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Our cashew partner in El Salvador, APRAINORES, is a small group that has been consistently smacked by climate change and other difficulties.
Equal ExchangeApril 11, 2017
How can citizen-consumers come together as a political, thinking community? What can we learn from past efforts to reform the food system, and from the current efforts of others involved in the movement for food justice? Equal Exchange has taken the step to create a community of people working together to deepen our collective understanding of these issues and to take actions where strategic, through the creation of the Equal Exchange Action Forum.
Mildred AlvaradoApril 4, 2017
The first five months of the year are usually the most difficult for our small-scale banana farmer partners due to weather difficulties. Problems due to the rainy season are expected. However, what’s happening this year is unusual. The intensity of the rains has put our farmer partners and the Oké USA banana team against new challenges that we were unprepared for. There has been a lot of creative problem solving and last minute decision making in order to fulfill orders on time. In these challenging times, we do everything on our end in order to support our farmer partners by: coordinating with shipping lines, giving credit to buy inputs such as boxes, and supporting staff through logistics and technical assistance, all in order to help them harvest the fruit and fulfill orders on time.
Equal ExchangeApril 3, 2017
Torrential rainfall in Peru has triggered landslides and flooding, causing devastation across large parts of the country, including Lima, Piura, Lambayeque, Tumbes, Cajamarca and Ica. Many communities have been cut off by damaged roads, making access to services very difficult. Equal Exchange has had particularly deep relationships with farmer cooperatives in Piura, dating back 20 years with coffee. Our banana affiliate, Oké USA, also began sourcing bananas from co-ops a decade ago, and more recently we have sourced mangos from the region.
Mildred AlvaradoMarch 13, 2017
Last October, we welcomed organic banana farmer Mariana Cobos to the Twin Cities to celebrate our 10 year anniversary importing bananas from AsoGuabo Cooperative in Ecuador. “I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to tell my story about the true history of small-scale banana farmers,” Mariana said during the visit. That story is filled with the difficulties, the challenges, and the inequity that small-scale farmers face.
Ashley SymonsMarch 7, 2017
Carly Kadlec is the Green Coffee Buyer at Equal Exchange, and one of the women that inspires me in our work toward trade justice. I’ve been fortunate to travel with Carly on visits to coffee farms in Honduras and Guatemala. Since March 8 is International Women’s Day, I wanted to sit down with Carly and talk about her work with coffee producers ... but, she’s on the road, as she often is, so we bring you this Q&A, across 2,500 miles.
Leif Rawson-AhernFebruary 28, 2017
Equal Exchange has worked in the tea industry for more than 20 years. Our tea program is still relatively small, but we have leveraged our limited volume to support and strengthen a number of small-scale farmer groups in India and Sri Lanka. Small farmer cooperatives are incredible rare in the tea industry which was built on colonial plantations from the ground up. When considering the larger industry context, it is remarkable that our small-scale tea co-op partners exist at all.
Equal ExchangeNovember 30, 2016
It may seem like a distant memory at this point, but you may recall that Ecuador was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April of 2016. The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the town of Muisne – a community that is part of our partner organization UOPROCAE, or the Union of Producers of Cacao of Arriba Esmeraldas. One of the cities that suffered the worst infrastructure damage was Portoviejo, close to our other cacao partner organization Fortaleza del Valle. We reached out immediately to both groups and were very relieved to learn that there were no fatalities among the members and staff of the UOPROCAE or Fortaleza del Valle. However, damage to personal property and the property belonging to the farmer organizations is significant and will be slow to fully rebuild.