Equal Exchange's 2020 Summit | Equal Exchange
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Equal Exchange's 2020 Summit

Save the Date! Join us virtually!

Our Summit is filling up quickly! Please join us, next week June 3rd-6th. This event is pivotal to the work we are doing and we look forward to bringing together citizen-consumers, worker-owners, and farmer partners as our Summit goes virtual due to Covid-19. More information and RSVP form below!

RSVP Form

 

 

Have more questions about the Summit? Call or email Emily at 508-427-5203, eambrose@equalexchange.coop. Interested in learning more about the summit and getting more information about the Citizen-Consumer Community at Equal Exchange? Join us for one of our upcoming virtual member meetings, every second Wednesday of the month!

2020 Virtual Schedule

Pre-Summit Governance Session: Tuesday, June 2nd, 6 PM to 7:15 PM 

We will be hosting three repeating governance sessions to help prepare our citizen-consumer community to hold elections to Equal Exchange’s board on Saturday, June 6th. Please note it is required to attend one of these sessions to participate in the citizen-consumer election on Saturday. 

DAY 1: Wednesday, June 3rd, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM EDT

  • 6:00 -7:00 PM: Welcome & Community Introductions   
  • 7:10-8:30 PM: Keynote with Shirley Sherrod of New Communities, Inc.  

DAY 2: Thursday, June 4th, 6 PM to 8:45 PM  EDT

  • 6 PM-7:15 PM: Session 1: Choose from a selection of workshops
  • 7:30 PM- 8:45 PM: Session 2: Choose from a selection of workshops

DAY 3: Friday, June 5th, 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM EDT

  • 6:00 PM-7:15 PM: Session 1: Choose from a selection of workshops
  • 7:30 PM- 8:45 PM Session 2: The Future of Equal Exchange; Building a Solidarity Network with Rink Dickinson, Founder and President of Equal Exchange

DAY 4: Saturday, June 6th, 12:00 PM to 2:45 PM EDT  

  • 11:30 AM-12:00 PM: Optional Coffee Time  (social time to connect as a community over our late morning cuppa) 
  • 12:00 PM to 2:45 PM: Annual Member Meeting & Election 

Keynote Speaker: Shirley Sherrod

Picture oof Shirley Sherrod
Shirley Sherrod is a Baker County Georgia native who grew up on her family’s farm.  In March 1965, her father was murdered by a white farmer who was not prosecuted.  The tragic murder of her father when she was 17 years old, had a profound impact on her life and led to her decision to stay in the south to work for change.

Shirley helped to start the civil rights movement in Baker County and later married Charles Sherrod, one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and leader of SNCC’s work in southwest Georgia.

With her husband and others, she helped to form New Communities, Inc., the first Community Land Trust in the United States.  New Communities serves as a laboratory and model in the movement toward the development of community land trusts (CLTs) throughout the country.  There are more than 200 CLTs today.

Shirley has a B.A. in Sociology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia and a M.A. in Community Development from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  In 2015, she was awarded a Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Sojourner-Douglas College in Baltimore, Maryland.  She has received many awards for her work in civil rights and as an advocate for farmers and rural residents.

In 2009, Shirley was appointed by the Obama Administration as USDA Georgia State Director of Rural Development.  She became the first person of color to hold the position.  Shirley was forced to resign her position in 2010 after conservative blogger Andrew Brietbart edited a speech she made at a NAACP banquet, to make it appear that she discriminated against a white farmer while serving in her federally appointed position.  Subsequent events showed that Brietbart’s edited video was taken out of context and was part of broader comments that conveyed a completely different meaning.  USDA Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologized and offered her another position, which she declined.

Shirley serves as the Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education and Vice President for Development for New Communities, Inc.

Shirley is married to Rev. Charles Sherrod and they have two children and five granddaughters.

Other Guest Presenters

claire kelloway

Claire Kelloway is a reporter and researcher with the Open Markets Institute. She is the primary writer for Food & Power, a first-  of-its-kind website, providing original reporting and resources on monopoly power and economic concentration in the food system. Her writing on food and agriculture has appeared in The Washington Monthly, ProPublica, Civil Eats, The American Prospect, and more.

 

Sarah James

 

Sarah James is a member of Equal Exchange's growing citizen-consumer network and also an investor. She is a co-founder of the U.S. eco-municipality movement and co-author of The Natural Step for Communities: How Cities & Towns Can Change To Sustainable Practices.

 

2020 Workshop Descriptions

The Road from Civil Rights to Fair Trade Pecans

Presented by Shirley Sherrod & Michael Rozyne

Join Shirley Sherrod of Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education and New Communities, Inc. and Michael Rozyne of Red Tomato (and co-founder of Equal Exchange) for an exploration of how the Civil Rights Movement has shaped New Communities and their work to empower African American families in Southwest Georgia. Shirley and Michael will share how New Communities offers an approach to agriculture that is grounded in social justice, economic development, sustainable agriculture, and community. At the center of this project is farming, and more specifically, farming pecans. Learn more about the farm, the crop, the journey, and the market for growing and selling pecans. 

Building Solidarity in the Faith-Based Community

Presented by Susan Sklar, Bethany McGinnis, Father John Grace, and the Rev. Tim Schenck, with special guests

Faith-based groups have sold coffee, tea, and chocolate at places of worship to assist small-scale farmers through the Equal Exchange Interfaith Program for over two decades. These initiatives are a part of a tradition of solidarity economics which have their roots in social justice. In this session led by Equal Exchange Interfaith Program Reps Susan Sklar and Bethany McGinnis, we will explore how to continue building the Interfaith network while connecting to the larger movement. Two leaders of faith, Father John Grace and the Reverend Tim Schenck will share their outlook and strategies. The workshop will also touch upon how church sales coordinators can reorganize into home-based buying clubs in order to maintain the solidarity network with small-scale farmers during the current COVID-19 crisis. Church coordinators who have adapted their Equal Exchange church sales during the pandemic will describe their recent efforts and answer questions.

Immanuel Wallerstein, World Systems & Equal Exchange

Presented by Torry Dickinson & Robert Schaeffer

Immanuel Wallerstein, who died last year, was an important anti-capitalist thinker.  He and his collaborators engaged deeply in world history for the last 500+ years and studied how the capitalist world system shaped countries, markets, agrarian and industrial workers, family reproduction and survival, political systems, and geo-culture in this period.  Torry Dickinson, a citizen-consumer member, and Robert Schaeffer, her partner, studied under Wallerstein and his group at SUNY Binghamton.  Rink, Torry’s brother, also attended Binghamton, took many classes in Wallerstein’s department, and for a year or two, tried to argue with this group’s key concepts. Ultimately, Equal Exchange arose directly from these conversations and debates. Join Torry, Robert, and Rink for an exploration of Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis and a look at Equal Exchange through that lens. 

To Campaign or Not to Campaign? 

Presented by Rob Everts & Danielle Robidoux

It’s been five years since we have started this organizing work at Equal Exchange. We’ve debated whether or not to do a campaign from the beginning. We know consumers need to be involved in a deeper way, and we hope they will realize that they are more than consumers. Just as consumers are people with a voice and collective power, Equal Exchange is more than a business: there are people behind this organization. The past five years, we’ve broken down the walls and invited you all to be a part of our organization. This community has been built alongside all of you. We are here to change the food system. Join former Co-President of Equal Exchange Rob Everts and Equal Exchange Organizer Danielle Robidoux for a candid conversation about what we’ve learned on this journey to campaigns. Help us build where we’re headed next! Let’s take back our food system. 

Buying Clubs & Alternative Distribution

Presented by Deepak Khandelwal & Emily Ambrose

Equal Exchange is and always has been an alternative trade organization. Our model relies on building and sustaining alternative supply chains for small-scale farmers and helping them to gain greater access and leverage in the global market. In an increasingly consolidating market landscape, especially during COVID-19, we need to strengthen our alternative distribution systems for consumers as well. It is more important than ever to understand our food supply chains and examine our individual and community roles as participants in those supply chains. Join Equal Exchange Vice-President Deepak Khandelwal and Organizer Emily Ambrose to talk about one method of regaining control: buying clubs. This session will explore the why and the how of the buying club model and lay the groundwork for more buying clubs within our growing citizen-consumer network.

Climate Action in the Coffee You Drink

Presented by Sarah James

Join us for a conversation with citizen-consumer member and long-time sustainability activist Sarah James as she offers insights about how our coffee and food choices can help combat climate change. This talk will illustrate how supporting the regenerative agriculture practices used by fair trade farmers is a form of climate action. Participants will learn how their shopping, eating, and coffee-drinking practices can support a more sustainable model. 

Consolidation & Supply Chain Fragility in Crisis

Presented by Claire Kelloway

Food resiliency experts say the tragic combination of food waste and food shortages that we’re seeing has a shared cause: rigid and consolidated supply chains. This presentation by Claire Kelloway of Open Markets Institute will cover how decades of pro-corporate policies built a food system that puts financiers’ interests above all other outcomes, and how strong antitrust and other policies can help us reverse course and prepare for the next crisis.

Small Farmers Big Change: A History

Presented by Rob Everts

Did you know that Equal Exchange is one of the largest alternative trade organizations (ATOs) in the world and one of the largest worker-owned cooperatives in the US? What do you really know about us? Are we a for-profit specialty coffee company? A fair trader with a mission? We are on an uncertain and vigorous path to preserve what we have built over the last 34 years. How can we survive as an ATO in an unstable and concentrated market? Join former Equal Exchange Co-President Rob Everts for a conversation to dig into the roots and history of what brought us to the path we are on today and where we’re headed.

Building Solidarity in the Faith-Based Community

Presented by Susan Sklar, Bethany McGinnis, Father John Grace, and the Rev. Tim Schenck, with special guests 

Faith-based groups have sold coffee, tea, and chocolate at places of worship to assist small-scale farmers through the Equal Exchange Interfaith Program for over two decades. These initiatives are a part of a tradition of solidarity economics which have their roots in social justice. In this session led by Equal Exchange Interfaith Program Reps Susan Sklar and Bethany McGinnis, we will explore how to continue building the Interfaith network while connecting to the larger movement. Two leaders of faith, Father John Grace and the Reverend Tim Schenck will share their outlook and strategies. The workshop will also touch upon how church sales coordinators can reorganize into home-based buying clubs in order to maintain the solidarity network with small-scale farmers during the current COVID-19 crisis. Church coordinators who have adapted their Equal  Exchange church sales during the pandemic will describe their recent efforts and answer questions.

Creatures in Our Ecosystem:  Our Sister ATOs & Solidarity in the Time of Coronavirus

Presented by Nicole Vitello, Kelly Storie, Senga Gall & Rink Dickinson

Equal Exchange has slowly been building an ecosystem with Oke USA, La Siembra in Canada, and Equal Exchange UK, learning how to integrate and cooperate. We need to increase our learning in this area.  At the same time, all four of our organizations have been trying to navigate their unique markets as the virus dramatically changes our landscapes.  Learn how these three amazing sister organizations are coping and where we all are in our common journey.

Cooperative Resilience in the Face of COVID-19 

Presented by Julia Baumgartner & Kim Coburn

Why is Equal Exchange committed to direct long-term partnerships? How has this shown to be a strength amidst the realities of this global pandemic? Join Julia Baumgartner, Equal Exchange's Cooperative Development Program Manager, and Kim Coburn, Green Coffee Buyer, for an insider’s look into the resiliency of coffee cooperatives in the middle of this crisis. Learn how Equal Exchange practices a holistic view of partnership through our purchases and projects, and why the Equal Exchange model is more important than ever.

Consolidation & Equal Exchange    

Presented by Deepak Khandelwal

The world around us continues to morph and change in many ways. One constant seems to be the consolidation of our food supply chain by the biggest national and global actors. This presentation, by Equal Exchange Vice President Deepak Khandelwal, explores consolidation and the big challenge it presents to small-scale farmers, to Equal Exchange’s market position and to U.S. consumers. The grocery industry has seen great consolidation in the last fifteen years, but the process has been going on for decades. Newer segments such as organic, small farmer, fair trade and local have also been digested with a corporate goal of turning social economies into marketing attributes. It is in this environment that Equal Exchange, alternative trade organizations and solidarity organizations must now compete.