Regularly, books and movies report on the commercial agricultural industry’s dependence on corn, and government subsidies are revealed to keep food prices artificially low. While we still pay for the high cost of food, we do so in taxes, and not at the supermarket.
Small-scale farmers, who do not receive these subsidies, must charge more for their food to earn even a modest wage. While sustainable farming can be less expensive in the long-run, it’s a costly path. I try to support the local farmers, even if it costs more, because I know that I’m helping to preserve our food-systems and keep more money in my community.
In second- and third- world countries, from where we get most of our coffee and chocolate, farmers make even less. The path from field to table is long, and provides little (if any) support for the farmer. They make pennies a day – most of the profits go to the middlemen in this supply chain.
Equal Exchange, a national leader in fair-trade, created a new path for small farmers to get their products to market. They do this by partnering with small-scale farmer coops. Through this process, we can be closer to the source of our food and the farmers see a greater portion of the profits – enabling them to better support their own community.
Fair Trade includes:
• Direct purchasing from those who are poorly served by conventional markets, specifically small farmers and their co-operatives.
• Agreed upon commodity floor prices that provide for a dignified livelihood.
• A promise by importers to make affordable credit available to the farmer co-operatives.
• A worldwide network of non-profit certifying organizations.
Equal Exchange chocolates continue to win awards for its quality and taste. The Panama bar was a finalist in the New York City Chocolate Show in October. And one of their Peruvian cocoa producer partners won a quality competition!
And now for the giveaway…
The Deadline has passed. Chocolate Winners: Judit U-M and Grace, Congratulations! You were randomly selected to win the chocolate sampler boxes from Equal Exchange. Please email your mailing address to julia [at] growcookeat [dot] com. And thanks to all for your great comments and supporting fair trade!
Just in time for your holiday baking, Equal Exchange wants you to taste the difference. They are offering a gift box of either chocolate sampler box (6 different 3.5 oz. bars) or sweet and spicy chocolate sampler to 2 lucky readers of Grow. Cook. Eat.
To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here telling us something you can do to support fair trade. Also, please include your email address, so that we can be in touch with you if you win. While anyone can support fair trade, you must be a US or Canadian resident to win this drawing. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 18th.