October is Fair Trade Month

Fair Trade coffee is probably better known than Fair Trade Tea but slowly, the movement is gaining awareness. To me, organic and fair trade are related. But organic is for myself and the earth, fair trade benefits other people. Fair Trade helps someone a world away who made the product. In our wholesale company, to date we have not found one customer who buys Fair Trade who doesn't also buy Organic. In our retail environment, it is exactly the same. Somehow, the demographics have merged and we find that the person who is interested in the environment and in healthy food and lower levels of chemicals and pesticides is also the same person concerned about the worker and whether he is receiving even the most basic benefits.

Fair Trade works simply: When you purchase something that is certified Fair Trade (look for the logo), a portion of your purchase price (a premium) goes back to the workers of that tea estate (or coffee plantation) who decide how they will spend it. The workers are required to form a Joint Body and have a segregated bank account where these premiums are deposited and from which they draw funds to spend on projects of their choice. These have ranged from health clinics to education to housing improvements. Here's a recent article on this topic; Giving Back to Origin Nourishes the Soul
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