Have you ever seen a cacao pod? In the wild or on the farm, it awkwardly hangs from the trunk and branches of the Theobroma cacao tree. An alien fruit of seemingly endless variety —shaped like a papaya, hard like an acorn squash and often ridged like one, too. It comes in reds, browns, golds, purples, sometimes different varieties growing right alongside one another. Cutting one open reveals a world no less strange than the exterior—filmy, gooey white membrane enrobes brown and purple beans that are about the size of large grapes. The aroma from the interior is alluring, though: citric and bold, floral and sweet, even woodsy and minerally, depending on the variety of pod you’re sniffing
Frankie PondolphNovember 8, 2018Categories:
Frankie PondolphNovember 1, 2018
November 16th marks the 29th anniversary of the slaying of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter by government-run death squads in El Salvador in 1989. This past October 14th, slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church.The murders of these priests—and of 80,000 more whose names we’ll never know—were carried out in no small part with the support of billions of dollars in U.S. funding and training of corrupt governments in El Salvador. The victims were largely peasants and workers organizing for their rights and a better life.
Frankie PondolphOctober 8, 2018
When you purchase a conventional banana at a grocery store, there are certain costs that your everyday low price covers: the fruit itself; the international shipping costs; the trucking from the warehouse to the grocery stores. These costs are internalized, meaning they’re accounted for in the final price you pay.
Frankie PondolphSeptember 18, 2018
Early September marks the beginning of the season for Equal Exchange avocados. While avocados are grown year-round by our small farmer partners in Mexico, it is during the early fall that the harvest of this creamy and delicious tropical fruit reaches a sufficient volume for Equal Exchange to begin importing and selling to our customers on a weekly basis. As the Avocado Supply Chain Coordinator, I’ve spent the past year managing the weekly logistics of import and distribution from our office in Massachusetts.
Frankie PondolphSeptember 10, 2018
Equal Exchange has been operating in the Portland, Oregon area since the mid 1990’s. As a worker-owner of Equal Exchange, I was curious about this transition of the company from being east-centric to bicoastal. How did it all begin? Who was involved? What is the unfolding story and how did it take shape? Where did we come from and where are we going?
Frankie PondolphAugust 16, 2018Categories:
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.
Frankie PondolphAugust 6, 2018
By Laura Bechard, Chocolate Supply Chain Coordinator, Equal Exchange
Frankie PondolphJuly 27, 2018
By Frankie Pondolph, Action Forum Organizer
Building off of the success of our June Summit, the Action Forum hosted our second summit of the year on July 7th and 8th-bringing together EE worker-owners, action forum members, farmer partners and alternative trader friends for two days of learning, engaging and connecting. On the first day, forty of us gathered in a room overlooking Chicago's downtown, the room filled with threads of conversation about what brought each of us to the gathering and how far we had traveled.
Frankie PondolphJuly 11, 2018
In early April, Carly Kadlec and Mike Mowry of Equal Exchange traveled to Manos Campesinas in Guatemala alongside cuppers from three partner cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico to join an evaluation of experimental coffee varieties resisting coffee leaf rust (la roya), a devastating fungus affecting coffee production.
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.