Ethically Sourced

While still works in progress, direct trade and fair trade help humanize the supply chain and how we can create a more equitable and connected food system. - Douglas Gayeton

Fair Trade. Direct Trade. Ethically sourced. This is a transformation in our expanding and interconnected global trading system. This is the intention to create true partnerships between producers, distributors, and consumers alike. As Colette Cosner, executive director of the Domestic Fair Trade Association, confirms, this is “based on principles of transparency, respect, accountability, and solidarity.”

This edition of Food List is focused on mobilizing the world toward a transparent food system. Together we will take a look at the stories and realities that many food producers share, and together we will continue to support and protect the hands that feed us.

To begin, it’s important that people are afforded clarity and understanding surrounding the implications of all decisions around ethically sourced products. Andrew Feldman outlines the principles of the different values with reflection from his personal experience with Guatemalan coffee growers.

In Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade, we learn about the values behind each label and the power we have as consumers in applying our own values to the food we buy.

It’s not always easy finding food that reflects your values. Robin Madel shares with GRACE her quest for comfort in socially responsible chocolate that eases the heart and mind.

Often times, people may not be aware that their values are being challenged when they purchase their food. Bill Wilson shares with us the story of Birds & Beans and taking conscious consumerism to the next level.

A quest for ethically sourced goods may be larger and more personal than simply prowling the shelves for a few pantry items at home. It may be more personal and direct. Sustainable Food Trust shares with us the adventures of the New Dawn Traders in their mission to sail Fair Trade, zero emission products across the Atlantic.

Another story of direct trade is shared with us, this time about the marginalized farming communities of Palestine. As naturally responsible stewards of the land, Palestinian olive oil producers find their place in the ethically sourced market. This type of market is a resilient and responsible one. Mary Jo Cook of Fair Trade USA discusses with us the positive impact fair trade has on producers and their communities.

As we have learned in this week’s Food List, empowering consumers to purchase responsibly is only half of the equation to creating an ethical food system. Civil Eats shares with us the importance of Fair Trade systems and cooperatives among banana farmers in South America.

This week's terms

Ethically Sourced

"Goods that are produced and purchased in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people who produce them as well as for the environment. Goods should be purchased through transparent relationships that are built on trust and openness,and producers should be compensated at a level that reflects the value of their hard work and that provides a living income for themselves and their families.” - Andrew Feldman, As Green As It Gets

Direct Trade

A business model where the producer deals directly with the customer. They sign a contract, they arrange the details and both parties have had the chance to express their desires and come to an agreement that’s mutually beneficial. 

Fair Trade

" Fair trade was originally conceived as a way to address disparities between conditions of small-scale farmers in developing countries from Africa, Latin America, and Asia, collectively referred to as the Global South…The goal was to help farmers in the Global South stay on their land, build stronger rural communities, and not be forced to work on the plantations of big food corporations. Fair trade pioneers agreed that one of the best ways to do this was to provide access for small-scale farmers in the Global South to markets in the Global North and the create awareness among consumers that buying fair trade really improves the livelihoods of marginalized farmers abroad." - Colette Cosner, Domestic Fair Trade Association

Community Development Premium

"If you as a roaster buy fair trade–certified coffee beans, for every pound, twenty cents goes back to farmers and workers who vote and decide, ‘Should we invest this money and improve in the quality of our crops? Should we invest this money in scholarships so our kids can attend high school? Should we invest this money in clean drinking water and better environmental practices?’ The key is there’s a predetermined economic benefit for farmers, not for NGOs in America or well-intentioned farm owners of large farms, but the farmers themselves. It’s profit for social good." - Colette Cosner, Domestic Fair Trade Association

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