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Guayaki Invites You to “Share the Gourd” to Empower Indigenous Communities


Contributing Writer Kat Schuett You may have heard about yerba mate, and perhaps even experienced its “feel-good effect,” a combination of the caffeine boost of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate. In South America, however, mate is more than just a beverage. For centuries, indigenous people have shared a gourd […]

Fair Trade in the Global North: Domestic Fair Trade Association Evaluates an Emerging Landscape


Contributing Writer Colette Cosner Over the last year, fair trade certifiers, previously focused on the Global South, have begun to turn their attention to food operations in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks to an upswell of local food initiatives — living wage victories, GMO debates and farmworker rights campaigns — people are starting to acknowledge […]

Serving Up Change to the Restaurant Industry


Contributing Writer By Saru Jayaraman The federal “tipped minimum wage” for restaurant workers is $2.13 an hour. What that means is that in the United States of America, if you have a job in which you rely on tips for a living — for instance, as a server or busser in a restaurant — employers […]

The Promise of Fair Trade for Plantation Laborers


Contributing Writer Sarah Besky Social justice for agricultural laborers far away from the aisles of the Bay-area grocery stores in which this film was shot is possible and attainable through market mechanisms and individual consumer action. Governments, laws and international development agencies have failed agricultural workers. Individual consumers, according to Fair Trade USA’s logic, must […]

Is There Room for Plantations in Fair Trade?


Contributing Writer Daniel Jaffee When the certifier Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) announced in 2011 that it would split from the international fair trade system and create its own certification scheme, the fair trade movement erupted in controversy. Arguing that it was wrong to exclude hired laborers from the benefits of fair trade, FTUSA’s new standards […]

Fair Trade USA’s apparel program shorts fairness in the supply chain


Contributing Writer Fair World Project Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) recently finalized a “fair trade” apparel program, and Patagonia soon after announced the launch of a “fair trade” yoga line implementing it.  This should all be good news to an organization like ours that advocates for fair trade in the marketplace, but unfortunately it is not. […]

Journey to India – The Harsh Reality of Monsanto, GMOs and Cotton Farmer Poverty


Contributing Writer By Ariel Vegosen, with an interview of Dr. Vandana Shiva India — home of multi-colored saris; many languages; pollution; slums; traffic that seems to obey no laws; crowded markets filled with fruits and vegetables grown locally, like eggplant, bananas and neem, plus spices that foreigners deem exotic and long for; beautiful temples; ringing […]

GMOs 2.0: Synthetic Biology and its Threats to Small-Scale Farmers and Fair Trade


Contributing Writer Dana Perls A new generation of flavors, fragrances and oils are entering many of our favorite foods, cosmetics and staple household products, produced via a new, extreme form of genetic engineering known as “synthetic biology” or “synbio.” Similar to GMOs, these ingredients stray far from fair trade principles. They are being falsely marketed […]

Pesticides, the Lynchpin of Industrial Ag


Contributing Writer Paul Towers What do bees and butterflies have in common? More than you would think; they are the “canaries in the coal mine” of an industrial food system that is out of control.  Their dwindling populations speak to the failures of a system heavily dependent upon genetically engineered (GE) seeds and chemical inputs […]

A Decade of Prosperity in Ghana


Contributing Writers: Carrie Hawthorne & Kristin Johnson Global Mamas is struggling with success. That may sound like a strange statement from an organization celebrating a ten-year anniversary, but it is true nonetheless. We have grown from six women entrepreneurs earning a steady living wage, to nearly 600 women producing handmade apparel, accessories, jewelry and shea […]