Fair Trade Month!

photo via befair.org

photo via befair.org

Hey y'all!  Did you know that October is Fair Trade Month?  Well... now you do.

I was lucky enough to team up with Fair Trade USA to share with you a little bit of information on Fair Trade and its importance.  I have been paired with a Fair Trade Farmer, received some of her products, and get to share their stories with you!  And the best part?  I get to make new recipes with all of the products.  Everyone wins, especially the farmers.  So let's get to it!

"Buy Fair. Be Fair."

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that has launched the #BeFair campaign to spread the word on why Fair Trade is a crucial step toward fighting worldwide poverty and promoting ethical farming practices.  Not only are these basic principles met, but companies wishing to be certified must also adhere to other ethical and fair treatment guidelines in order to be considered "fair trade."  These guidelines include:

Fair labor conditions - Fair wages, reasonable working hours, maternity leave, and freedom of association are all necessary first steps toward a Fair Trade Certification.  Slave work, child labor, and unsafe working conditions are prohibited.

Environmental sustainability - GMOs, harmful chemicals, and destructive farming techniques are not allowed in Fair Trade companies.  Farmers must use methods that preserve the land and environment for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

Community development - With each sale, Fair Trade farmers and workers earn a premium that goes toward crucial community-building elements such as education, healthcare, and clean water in the area where they live.

Democratic organization - Companies wishing to be Fair Trade certified must elect a committee that votes to designate how the community development premium is spent.

Women's empowerment -  Harassment-free work environments and equal female representation are required in Fair Trade companies.  Women in the work force are also allowed and encouraged to hold leadership positions.

Direct relationships - Companies buy directly from farmers, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and creating real bonds between those who grow food and those who process or package it.  Direct sourcing will lead to more sustainable and reliable products for future generations to depend on.

photo via befair.org

photo via befair.org

Sounds like a great way to let everyone win, right?  And that's exactly the goal of Fair Trade. The farmer I was paired with, Estrella Formento, is a mother of 13 in the Philippines who works with Peter Paul, the first coconut farming group to become Fair Trade Certified in 2013. When asked about her opportunities through this company, she says, "I didn’t have the option to pursue an education when I was growing up, but Fair Trade has given me the ability to open the doors of education to others."  What a cool way for her to brighten the path for her own children and countless others in their community!

Now, as part of this celebration, Fair Trade USA has gathered up its companies and sent bloggers like myself packages of products from their partner farmers and other ingredients that would work well with them.  We get to make brand-new recipes with these ingredients and share them with you to celebrate all that the Fair Trade Certification has done and the wonderful farmers it supports!

I received a hugely generous haul of goodies from various farmers.  It included Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil, Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour...

This is quite the mixture of ingredients that can be used for sweet and savory recipes.  I cannot wait to share what these allow me to create!

Remember, all of these companies (and others that are Fair Trade Certified) are supporting a great cause that is building up lives and communities every day.  Each purchase you make impacts the farmers and workers who produced that product, so why not put your money where the best cause lies?  Please check out these companies (clickable links are on each of their names) and stay tuned for new recipes incorporating each of them!

For more information on anything discussed in this article, please visit the Fair Trade USA website and the Be Fair Campaign Page.