Archive for April, 2016

berta-caceres-maizOn March 3, 2016, environmentalist and human rights activist Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home in Honduras. Berta was internationally recognized for her leadership in opposing a World Bank-financed dam project that would have devastated the lands where she and other indigenous Lenca people live.  In 2015, she  was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Daniel Fireside, Equal Exchange’s Capital Coordinator, spent several weeks on a speaking tour with Berta in 2001, ending at a massive protest in Quebec City against a failed attempt by George W Bush and other presidents to establish a hemisphere-wide free trade agreement.  He wrote this remembrance of Berta, whose courageous activism against the U.S.-backed military and economic oligarchy of Honduras and assassination has sparked renewed global attention to her work to defend the economic, political, cultural, and environmental rights of Hondurans and others fighting for global justice and solidarity.

To read Daniel’s article, click here.

To support Berta’s work, please visit Rights Action.

Equal Exchange buys significant amounts of coffee from Honduras.  Read here about some of the work we are doing with one of our small farmer coffee partners, COMSA.


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Riobamba, Ecuador
Mexico City, Mexico
April 20, 2016

The organizations and individuals representing the Small Producers’ Symbol (SPP) express our solidarity with the people of Ecuador, its inhabitants in general, and in particular with those earthquake victims and their families. From this space we want to let them know that we sympathize with them as they try to confront this tragedy and the pain that the earthquake has caused them.

On April 16, Ecuador experienced an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 Mw, which has left more than 553 people dead, more than 4,000 wounded and 231 missing.  In addition, thousands of homes and much infrastructure has been either partially or completely destroyed.

The Ecuadorian government declared a state of emergency throughout the country and specifically in the provinces of Santa Elena, Manabi, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, and Los Rios.

The Small Producers’ Symbol represents 12 co-operative organizations in Ecuador – all part of the SPP family.  Of those twelve, we know that in at least two,  (FONMSOEAM and UOPROCAE) both the infrastructure of the co-operative, and the homes belonging to co-op members have been destroyed.  We are aware that damage has also occurred in several other organizations of small producers in the regions affected by the earthquake.

From the Small Producers ‘ Symbol, we want to convey to our brothers and sisters of Ecuador a message of solidarity and strength at this difficult time and ask for the solidarity and support worldwide.

Likewise, we support the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Fair Trade Organizations in the efforts they are taking at the national level to channel support and solidarity from all of the friends of the small producers of fair trade, and any other person or organization that wants to contribute the reconstruction efforts beginning at the local level.

If you would like to support the organizations that have been affected, you can make a donation and earmark your contribution to the Ecuadorian Earthquake Reconstruction effort.

In the United States, Equal Exchange and Fair World Project have teamed together to collect donations.

Please send a tax-deductible contribution to:

Fair World Project
PO Box 42322
Portland, OR 97242
OR click here to donate through Pay Pal or credit card.

As we get more information on the damage and the appropriate types of support needed, we will let you know.  At the moment, the assessment of damages are still being made.  Sadly, they appear to already exceed by far the already very tragic official figures of dead and wounded.

Small Producers’ Symbol

Building Up together a world of justice and solidarity!

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On April 19th, WBEZ Chicago aired the following 19 minute radio interview about the conventional banana industry (owned and controlled by just a handful of multinational conglomerates like Dole and Chiquita) and the small farmer alternative which places small farmers, ethical retailers, and engaged consumers center stage in a growing movement.

One banana:  Two very different paths.  Which one do you choose?


The Banana Supply Chain And The Movement To Change It

April 19, 2016

Click here to hear the 19 minute radio broadcast.

The interactive web documentary Beyond the Seal follows bananas from the fields of Ecuador to the U.S. supermarket and investigates a growing Fair Trade movement for the fruit.

Dan Koeppel, author of Bananas: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World and Nicole Vitello, president at Fair Trade banana importer Oké USA Fruit Company, are both featured in the documentary.

They join us to talk about the farmers, activists and business leaders who are working to change the U.S. banana industry.

Beyond The Seal was produced by Leah Varjacques and WBEZ intern Katherine Nagasawa.

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We are so excited to announce that Beyond the Seal has been nominated for a Real Food Film award.

The finalists of the contest will be judged in several categories, and one film will also be awarded the People’s Choice award. Watch a clipfrom Beyond the Seal and other food-based films, then cast your vote!

Beyond the Seal | 2016 Real Food Films Finalist
Beyond the Seal filmmakers Leah Varjacques and Katherine Nagasawa.
Coming up in Chicago — Beyond the Seal Screening — Tuesday April 19th:
Join Equal Exchange’s Nicole Vitello and Rink Dickinson, along with the filmmakers Katherine Nagasawa and  Leah Varjacques, banana expert Dan Koeppel, and Dill Pickle Coop‘s Amber Zook at 7 pm at Northwestern University’s Harris Hall.
Learn more here.

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