What the Fair Trade Premium Means to Covilli’s Farm Workers
Covilli Brand Organics might be the first and only grower-shipper that sells ALL their products as 100% ORGANIC and FAIR TRADE, and we are also among the companies with the highest Fair Trade Premium return in their first year of being Fair Trade Certified. This makes us extremely happy, but mostly grateful for all the wonderful companies and consumers that are supporting these efforts.
Fair Trade USA had to establish a brand new premium for 13 of our vegetables, which means that these products were most likely NOT found as Fair Trade in the marketplace. Getting these new premiums delayed our sales ‘take off’ a bit, and we began selling everything as Fair Trade until January 15th. It brings tremendous satisfaction to every one of us at Covilli to report that for the months of January (half of it), February and March the Fair Trade Premium for the farmworkers adds up to $183,000 dollars!
It is indispensable that prior to project suggestion and voting, we apply a survey to our employees to determine which are their most significant needs. Working closely with Fair Trade USA, we are going further and are actually interviewing each one of our workers with a quite extensive questionnaire of over 30 inquiries that cover major topics such as: housing, nutrition, health and education among others, both in their places of origin as well as the town where the farm is located.
Fair Trade USA has established this poll as a requirement, since they know it’s a crucial step to help farmworkers identify and prioritize their necessities – without this information they might, for example, consider a Dental Clinic with several dentists 24/7, but the root problem might just be a high and consistent sugar intake (sodas) and poor dental hygiene habits.
Covilli is investing the necessary time and resources to collect as much information as possible for our workforce to make informed decisions that will hopefully set the foundation for not one, but several projects. The workers are the ones who know what’s best for their own community and therefore they are the ones who decide how and when the Premium will be invested.
We want to thank our conscious consumers who participated in the Covilli March Fair Trade Celebration. Buying products labeled as Fair Trade is an easy way to support the hard-working people who grow the products that you love. At only few extra cents per pound-the Fair Trade Premium-will allow for democratically chosen projects to become a reality in Covilli’s farm worker communities. Although Covilli will be wrapping up their season around the beginning of June we will continue to follow the Fair Trade Committee on their journey.
In the middle of March a group from Earl’s visited Covilli and had the opportunity to interview the Fair Trade Committee as a group. “The boundaries of language seemed to disappear, like watching a captivating movie with subtitles, it had turned into a conversation amongst friends. It was interesting to hear and speak of the meaning of Fair Trade on both sides of the table, to share in our support of this program. I left knowing that I would soon return to see that projects that this program has helped to manifest, and the benefits that will come along with them.” The videos from these interviews are currently being translated and we can look forward to hearing the thoughts of Covilli’s newly formed Fair Trade Committee in a few weeks.