On Saturday, May 10th, people around the globe will celebrate World Fair Trade Day by showcasing the efforts to bring equality to workers who have often been left without a voice. Since the 1940s Fair Trade has been helping at-risk populations throughout the world by providing better working conditions and pay, as well as empowerment.

Fair Trade may be recognizable as a lone entity, but it’s actually an organization of many people and companies using the principles of Fair Trade to arrive at a single destination: transparency and equality for small-scale workers. Suffice it to say, the reasons to support Fair Trade are numerous. When you support Fair Trade by purchasing products, you’re helping small-scale farmers and cooperatives. These are the people in the fields at the start of your food production; a process that eventually culminates in your home. At Willy Street Co-op we are fortunate to have a multitude of dedicated companies that practice Fair Trade. Here are just two examples.

Just Coffee and Equal Exchange
Perhaps the best way to understand the principles of Fair Trade is tangibly, in your hands. When you pick up a package from Just Coffee you’ll notice the depiction of two coffee production chains: conventional and Just Coffee’s. The conventional chain involves a long line of estates and brokers and wholesalers—eight steps in all, but the Just Coffee chain involves all of four: the farmer cooperative, the importing cooperative, Just Coffee and Willy Street Co-op. That’s it—simple and transparent. Just Coffee also bears the SPP symbol, which stands for Small Producer Symbol or Simbolo de Pequeños Productores. This symbol guarantees their products originate from small-scale farmers, which guarantees your dollars help support them.

You may know the joy of biting into an Equal Exchange chocolate bar, sipping a cup of their coffee, or sautéing your favorite veggies in their olive oil. If you do, you have Fair Trade and the small-scale, independent farmers who make it all happen to thank. Equal Exchange, like Just Coffee, is a worker-owned, democratically operated cooperative and member of SPP. Since 1986 Equal Exchange has been challenging big plantations and agri-business in favor of worker cooperatives that bring consumers and producers closer.

Please take a moment on Saturday, May 10th, to remember the people in countries like Peru and Tanzania who work hard to make our lives more enjoyable. Your efforts mean everything to them.
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