Hello everyone! My name is Kai Kyles, and I’m deeply inspired and humbled by the work of Equal Exchange and the Action Forum. I became involved with the Forum after I joined Equal Exchange in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, last November for an incredible presentation about who controls our food system and how we can organize ourselves as citizen-consumers to create a more just, sustainable and democratic food system that works for farmers, workers, and consumers.
Tags: food system
Ashley SymonsOctober 31, 2017
Happy Halloween! This year, it's expected that Halloween candy sales will reach a record $2.75 billion in retail sales. According to the National Confectioners Association, Halloween is the biggest holiday for seasonal candy sales, accounting for about 34 percent of seasonal candy sales (outnumbering Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day). And, if you took all the candy that’s sold during Halloween week, it would equal about 300,000 tons or two pounds of candy per American!
Equal ExchangeOctober 9, 2017
In 2010, Equal Exchange and TCHO Chocolate embarked on a journey to partner in new and innovative ways with cacao co-operatives in Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic. With support from the USAID Co-operative Development Program, we set out to develop a project focused on three key factors for cooperative success: quality, productivity, and capitalization.
Ashley SymonsOctober 3, 2017
Equal Exchange launched the Action Forum a year ago as a way to engage around these issues on a deeper level. If we want to drive change in the food system, we have to try to understand its history and complexities, and grapple with things like democracy, food justice, and sustainability - together. The Action Forum community is invited to monthly interactive webinars hosted by Equal Exchange, and this month we're excited to offer a two-part series unpacking who owns what in the food system today.
Frankie PondolphSeptember 26, 2017
A year ago we hosted Tomy Mathew at our first Action Forum event at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington, Mass. Tomy works with Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), a small farmer organization in Kerala, India, that supplies cashews to Equal Exchange. FTAK was formed during the agrarian crisis that set producers in a cycle of poverty and indebtedness; farmers were not getting paid the cost of production for their crop.
Laura BechardSeptember 18, 2017
Two weeks ago, workers from Equal Exchange and La Siembra (a sister worker co-op committed to small farmers, based in Canada) had the opportunity to visit our mutual sugar partner, Manduvira co-operative in Paraguay, and share a day and a half at the homes and fields of several of its 986 farmer members.
Equal ExchangeSeptember 8, 2017
If you've been following this blog over the last year, you've seen various critiques of the Fair Trade movement - both its history and the current state of the so-called movement that requires consumers to simply look for a certification seal. To help articulate an authentic version of Fair Trade that is shared by many Equal Exchange colleagues, allies, and partners, we created a comic book that presents the history of Fair Trade with illustrated condensed stories, and heroes and villains. Our hope is that readers will dig deeper, ask questions, and think about the future of small farmers, co-ops, and alternative trade organizations.
Rink DickinsonSeptember 5, 2017
Fair trade has gone further in the U.K. than perhaps any other country. And now fair trade—as viewed from the perspective of labeled product—is falling off the cliff. Sainsbury, one of the largest supermarkets in the U.K., is slowly abandoning the seal in favor of in-house certification. Tesco, another major supermarket, is abandoning the seal but on a faster timeline. Likewise, Mondelez, one of the largest chocolate companies, is replacing the already weakened, corporate-dominated seal with its own fully controlled, in-house seal.
Nicole VitelloAugust 28, 2017
In August, I traveled to Michoacán to visit PRAGOR, the avocado co-operative that we partner with in Mexico. I visited both the avocado growers and the management of the co-op that buys the avocados from individual growers and gets them from the farms to the pack house into Equal Exchange branded boxes, and then sends them on the road to us here in the U.S. every week.
Carly KadlecAugust 15, 2017
Do you remember hearing about coffee leaf rust, or la roya, over the last few years? Coffee leaf rust is a fungus that has greatly impacted coffee production across the producer world in Central and South America during the last few harvest cycles. While it is not a new fungus, this most recent flare up has wreaked havoc on the household level across not only the Equal Exchange supply chain but throughout Latin America. Besides being a top-level crisis in and of itself, it also has helped to more fully reveal long-term challenges and problems in coffee supply chains.