With the holidays approaching, I always get questions about how to avoid packing on the pounds when our offices, homes, parties and stores are full of tempting, delectable treats. I, for one, am a huge sucker for my grandma’s fresh-baked rolls and chocolate chip cookies made with our new Equal Exchange chocolate chips.
“Like Equal Exchange, we want to improve the lives of our small farmer members,” said Hildebrando Cárdenas Salazar, general manager of Oro Verde. The co-op was founded in 1999 with 56 members, and now there are 1,200 members. “Farmers realize the benefits of being part of the co-op,” Hildebrando said. “There are advantages that intermediaries can’t provide, especially around technical assistance.”
Last week, we hosted two managers from cacao co-ops we work with in Peru to source chocolate for our new Organic Chocolate Chips and for our line of Organic Candy Bars. Hildebrando Cárdenas Salazar from Oro Verde co-op and David Contreras from ACOPAGRO co-op visited our headquarters in Massachusetts to learn more about Equal Exchange, meet some of our store accounts, and work on 2014 planning for our USAID grant project with the two co-ops.
From well-loved products to brand new ones, we’ve got plenty of gift options that will be sure to put smiles on the faces of your friends and family this holiday season. And, you can feel good knowing your gift choices support small-scale farmers and their communities.
Equal Exchange is excited to announce a new partnership with PRAGOR, a progressive group of small-scale avocado farmers in Michoacán, Mexico. This region of Mexico is called “the avocado capital of the world.” However, powerful corporate interests have made it difficult for small-scale farmers to compete. In response, PRAGOR courageously organized and decided they would collectively control the entire process from growing to exporting.
We now have a new educational resource in comic book format! Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee as you contemplate this history of Fair Trade, and decide how it all fits together on your path to peace and social justice. Read the full comic book online.
Ten years ago, Equal Exchange brought a group of food co-op and natural food store representatives to visit CEPICAFE, one of our small farmer coffee co-op partners in northern Peru. We stayed four days and nights living and working along side the coffee farmers, “helping” them with the harvest. One of my most fond memories was during lunch following that first full morning (ie 4 hours) picking coffee. We had had a lot of fun, laughing, singing, and telling jokes with the farmers, while they tried to teach us their techniques. But truth be told, the work is back-breaking, the hike to the farms was exhausting, and the sun was hot.