On June 22-24th workers-owners of Equal Exchange Frankie Pondolph and Rose Smith along with Action Forum member Megan Straughen attended New Economy Coalition biennial conference, CommonBound. This year the conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri bringing together individuals over the course of three days to work towards owning our collective power and building the seeds for a new and transformative economy both locally and internationally. Below both Megan and Rose reflect on their experiences at CommonBound and what they learned to build capacity, tools and resilience for the future.
Tags: food system
Frankie PondolphJune 26, 2018
Since the creation of Equal Exchange 32 years ago, people and relationships have always been at our center. Coffee, chocolate, tea, mangoes, cashews; these are the mediums which allow us to show the world that ethical supply chains are viable and that there is more than one way to do business. Radicalism lies within the Equal Exchange model: a supply chain that is characteristic of true democracy, cooperative learning, transparency, and respect for our planet and its people.
Frankie PondolphMay 17, 2018
Jessica Jones-Hughes & Ravdeep Jaidka of OKE, USA
Over the last decade, avocados have transitioned from an exotic fruit to a grocery staple, finding a place in U.S. kitchens on a weekly basis. Last year, avocados surpassed bananas as the most valuable fruit import in the U.S. This statistic alone speaks to the immense boom that avocados have seen in the U.S. market.
Frankie PondolphMarch 26, 2018
On Wednesday, February 13, a delegation from Equal Exchange and the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) arrived at Cooperativa Zacarias Padilla in the coffee-growing village of Quibuto in the mountains of northern Nicaragua.The Zacarias Padilla cooperative, founded in 1992, has 61 members: 18 women and 43 men. It's a "primary-level" co-op; members market their coffee through the secondary-level PRODECOOP, which serves as processor and exporter for small-farmer groups.
Frankie PondolphMarch 12, 2018
This year we asked our director of purchasing and production, Todd Caspersen, to conduct a critical analysis of how we think our coffee farmer cooperatives are faring. His assessment is sobering. We have decided to share it in this space, unsparing and unfiltered, believing that this level of analysis will make all of us more informed and enable us to critically assess where in the years to come we can collectively make the most progress in building supply chains that truly work for small scale coffee farmers, Equal Exchange and our customers.
Frankie PondolphFebruary 6, 2018
Last year, Deepak Khandelwal wrote critically about fair trade certification and the contradictions of its apparent success. On the one hand, fair trade food (less so handicrafts) is more widely known, with greater sales and distribution than ever before. At the same time, the pioneering Alternative Trade Organizations (ATO’s) who built the model of more just trade terms in the chocolate, coffee, tea, banana, handicraft, and clothing industries are under extreme duress. In the last decade Equal Exchange has saved three of these Alternative Trade Organizations (Oke USA, Equal Exchange UK, and La Siembra (Canada) while watching others falter and even close.
Equal ExchangeJanuary 16, 2018
Each January, against my own better judgement, I sit down and write out my resolutions for the coming year. I reflect on the previous 365 days, and resolve to be better and to do better. Often times, these aspirations involve food, so I research and plan how I might alter my methods of food consumption to effect positive change in my life. Food, which has become as much of a technical object as a cultural one, is an incredibly important part of our lives. In deciding how we nourish ourselves, we make decisions that are simultaneously nutritional and environmental, political and economic.
Ashley SymonsJanuary 2, 2018
With the start of a new year often comes reflection and resolution: eat healthier, save money, cook more. It's also really cold and dark in much of the country, which can mean increased time spent indoors. In this spirit, we'd thought we'd share some film and book recommendations from our Action Forum community.
Equal ExchangeDecember 19, 2017
For many years Equal Exchange has told the story of our worker cooperative, the story of our producer partners, but what stories make up the community of customers, activists and allies that we are building together through the newly launched Action Forum? Who are they? What are they doing out in the world? How can we begin to build one story together?
Ashley SymonsDecember 4, 2017
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a wave of consumption. We’re surrounded by food, drinks, gifts, travel - things that can add up to an increased carbon footprint. So, what can we do to be more sustainable during the holidays and even to use our purchasing power for good? Here are some tips to help us be conscious consumers during this busy holiday season: