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October is Fair Trade Month

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Earl’s Organic carries Fair Trade Product 365 days a year. Equal Exchange and Coliman Fair Trade Organic Bananas are available year round as well as Dole Fair Trade Organic Pineapples. Equal Exchange Fair Trade Avocados are now staring up out of Mexico and we can look forward to Covilli Fair Trade Organic vegetables starting out of Mexico in November.

Buying ANY Fair Trade products is an easy way to support the hard-working people who harvest the products that we all love.

Fair Trade principles include:

Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy sustainable wages, safe working conditions, access to healthcare, regulated working hours, rest and sick days, as well as freedom of association. Forced child and slave labor are strictly prohibited and access to education for workers’ children is verified.

Fair Trade Premium: A few extra cents paid by the consumer – the Fair Trade Premium –will allow for democratically chosen projects to become a reality in farm worker communities.

Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and workers decide democratically how to invest the Fair Trade premiums. These are funds specifically designed for community development.

Community development: Workers invest the Fair Trade Premium in social and business development projects like scholarships, schools, improving their quality of life and leadership training.

Environmental sustainability: Fair Trade promotes environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect workers’ health, preserve valuable ecosystems and safeguard the livelihoods of local communities now and in the future.

What is the Fair Trade Premium and how does it work?

How exactly does Fair Trade benefit the workers?

A few extra cents paid by the consumer – the Fair Trade Premium – will allow for democratically chosen projects to become a reality in farm worker communities; whether it’s a bus for the High School students, dental services or a multipurpose room, this benefit will bring empowerment through decision making and project execution.

The Premium that is added to the cost of produce goes directly in its entirety to the bank account of the Workers Association.

How can the workers use the Fair Trade Premium?

One of the most important aspects of Fair Trade is: funds are specifically designated for social, economic and environmental development projects.

The workers are the ones who know what’s best for their own community and Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International have enabled a democratic system for the community to decide how and when the Premium will be invested.

Can the grower use part of the Premiums?

Absolutely NOT. The funds CANNOT be used to invest in the company’s property or cover company’s expenses (wages, operation, supplies, etc.). Benefits are exclusively for the workers, by the workers. The grower IS responsible for covering all Fair Trade Certification and promotional expenses.

How often is the Premium paid to the Workers Association?

Through a transparent process that is traceable and audited by Fair Trade USA or Fair Trade International the grower has assumed the responsibility of paying on a monthly basis, the correct amount of Fair Trade Premium to the Workers Association bank account. Being able to track and verify the correct movements of the Premium from the moment a sale takes place until the deposit is made is a critical audit criteria.

Choosing Fairtrade means supporting standards and actions that put more power in the hands of workers themselves.

Who is in charge of developing/overseeing the Community Projects?

Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International provide the guidelines to democratically elect the Fair Trade Committee, in a way that is balanced (gender and place of origin). All projects are proposed and approved by the General Assembly (entire workforce), and implemented by the Fair Trade Committee, who has to inform and present reports to the Assembly.

Are Fair Trade Certified products also certified organic?

Not necessarily, but Fair Trade promotes sustainable farming in order to improve living and working conditions for farmers and workers, their environment must also be clean and healthy.

Environmental standards are integral to Fair Trade criteria:

Protecting water resources and natural vegetation areas; promoting agricultural diversification, erosion control and no slash and burn; restricting the use of pesticides and fertilizers; banning use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); requiring proper management of waste, water and energy.

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