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“Free Trade” Agreements Move Forward

Despite widespread protest from farmers, environmentalists and workers, the Obama Administration pushed through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The new FTAs expand upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which has led to weakened environmental standards, increased poverty in rural communities and watered down labor laws. A cross border alliance of farmers, consumers and fair traders have increasingly called for a renegotiation of NAFTA to ensure that farmers’ livelihoods are respected and maintained.

Read more and take action at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Campaign.

Fair Trade Shrimp on the Horizon

Fair trade continues to spread beyond coffee and tea. Soon, consumers may be able to fi nd fair trade certified organic or ecologically raised shrimp from Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. Certified coops must adhere to IFOAM aquaculture standards and use bioremediation techniques to sustainably recycle waste into nutrients for local farms. Fisher coops have long looked for market access for their product, as the global marketplace is dominated by large-scale farmed fi sh operations. Fairtrade shrimping off ers a clear ecological alternative for consumers looking for ethical shrimp. Fairtrade International is focusing exclusively on shrimp during this pilot phase. IMO Fair for Life has a generic standard that is applicable for all fish and shellfish.

Read more here.

TEDx Tackles the Plight of Farmworkers

On Friday, October 14, at Mills College in Oakland, TEDxFruitvale: Harvesting Change brought together farmworkers, farmers, activists, artists, students, professors, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs to celebrate the people upon whom we depend to harvest our food. In three sessions – Meet, Movement, and Money – a diverse cast of speakers provided a 360-degree view of farmworkers today and throughout history; compared labor’s progress with other social justice movements; and ended by discussing how businesses could embrace fair labor practices. 

Watch the webcast here.

Perils and Pitfalls in Fair Trade Cotton 

A December 15th article by Bloomberg News exposed what it portrayed as forced child labor in an organic and fair-trade cotton program in Burkina Faso, which provided raw material for the lingerie line Victoria’s Secret. The US Department of Homeland Security is also investigating the matter. However, Fairtrade International (FLO) and the Burkina National Union of Cotton Workers have countered the allegations within the Bloomberg piece. While the jury may be out on the specifics in this case, fair trade has opened the eyes of many to the risks of child labor in various commodities, including cotton.

Read more here.

Equal Exchange’s Campaign for Authentic Fair Trade

Equal Exchange, one of the founding fair trade organizations in the United States, has issued a call to action to ensure that small farmer co-operatives remain at the center of the fair trade movement. Equal Exchange believes that cooperative organization is essential for small farmers to survive and thrive, and the cooperative model is an important vehicle for economic empowerment and social change.

Read more here.

“Fair Trade Says No to GMOs”

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals where the DNA has been artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature. Today, the majority of corn and soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered to produce pesticide and/or withstand high doses of weed killer. This corn and soy is found in countless processed foods such as cereals, baby foods, breads, chips, and many other products. GMOs are prohibited under FLO and IMO’s fair trade standards. To push back the spread and negative impact, a number of organizations and companies, including the Domestic Fair Trade Association and the Organic Consumers Association, have banded together to demand labeling of GMO products, including a petition to the US FDA and a citizen ballot initiative in California. 

Read more about California Ballot Iniative here.

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Truly Equitable Trade: A Vision for Transformative Markets

credit - Equal Exchange Coop - Cooperativa Norandino Members

Fair trade has shown itself to be a successful model for building capacity and allowing marginalized producers to enter the market. Yet the fair trade movement is falling short of its potential to achieve genuine, profound, inclusive and democratic fair trade that truly transforms the way in which markets and economies are established. In June […]

The Road to Food Sovereignty

Global Land Use and Food Production Statistics

For every dollar consumers spent in supermarkets, health and environmental damages cost two dollars more. Our planet can no longer afford the industrial food chain that is destroying our planet and our health. The solution? To support the interlinked network of small-scale farmers, livestock-keepers, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fishers and urban producers who already feed […]

Fair For All: The Climate Solutions Embedded in Fair Trade

Woman picks Papaya - Serendipol - Dr Bronner

Experts agree, it’s high time we make some changes in the ways we grow food and crops. The good news is that small scale-farmers and their fair trade cooperatives are already leading the way to a new future—read on for seven principles that fair trade and climate advocates can agree on. Written by Anna Canning […]

Collaborating to Cool the Planet

photo-credit: Coop Coffees - Training group

How Farmer-to-Farmer Trainings Are Spreading New Solutions to Climate Change In the fall of 2017, Grow Ahead, a partner of Fair World Project, successfully crowdfunded a farmer-to-farmer training in Nicaragua. Here’s what José Fernando Reyes of Norandino Cooperative in Peru has to say about his experience. How Farmer-to-Farmer Trainings are Spreading New Solutions to Climate […]

Building Power From the Ground Up

Black Dirt Farm Collective

“There is no food sovereignty without land; land really is the basis of power, and it does not get simpler than that. Land is the primary mechanism for many of us poor folks and people of color to actually have something to stand on and have a future to farm. And it is not just […]

Product Picks

Tortilla Stones

We asked members of our staff and editorial board for some of their current favorite products that support traditional foods and the communities they are rooted in. Find them online or at your favorite natural food store! Deforestation, decreasing biodiversity, increasing pesticide use – those are just a few of the ways that our industrial […]

Fair Trade is the Pathway to Regenerative Agriculture

Coop Coffee

The movement for a food system that sustains people and planet is been growing. Fair trade offers a model to incorporate fair livelihoods and the true cost of production into regenerative agriculture models that are both new and very old, feeding the world and tending the planet. Written by Ryan Zinn The climate is changing, […]

A Soil-to-Soil Vision for the Fashion Revolution

Paige Green - Fibershed

From origins in Northern California, Fibershed is building a global network of regional regenerative fiber systems. Founder Rebecca Burgess describes her vision for vibrant local fibersheds that connect us to the landscapes that grow what we wear and sustains a new generation of farmers, ranchers, natural dyers and mills. From conventional cotton production, which uses […]

Fair Trade As We Do It: the Story of Jumbo Nuts

Annie Jose sewing rice seeds into her rice paddy

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, the small-farmer collective I work for, is recapturing the homestead farming traditions of Kerala. Our goal is to grow to about 10,000 farming families stewarding about 40,000 acres of farmland, creating conditions that are akin to a tropical rainforest in crop diversity and biodiversity. For us, biodiversity is a food security […]

Regenetarians Unite!

Regenetarians Unite

As eaters, we have a choice: will our diets restore and replenish the earth, or will they deplete it? An exploration of three key principles that look beyond simple distinctions between omnivore and vegan towards a new Regenetarian ethos. By David Bronner How the Regenerative Agriculture and Animal Welfare Movements Can End Factory Farming, Restore […]