Posts filed under ‘Fair Trade Helps People’

Coffee Farmers in a bind again

HI Fair Trade friends, Liz here.  You may recall several years ago we posted about the problems in the coffee industry.  The coffee prices were reaching all time highs, and farmers were stepping out of their cooperatives into the markets by themselves.  Fair Traders were concerned that the prices would fall again and farmers would have no support.  Turns out – they were right. 

According to, ” The small scale farmers that make up the majority of global coffee production remember all too well the calamity of 2001 when prices plummeted to 45 cents a pound, throwing hundreds of thousands of farmers and landless workers into poverty or destitution.

You can read the full article here.  Remember, together we can make the world a better place!

More recently, in May 2011, the price of Arabica coffee on the New York futures market hit a 34-year high of almost US$3.09 per pound. But, as if to justify its volatile reputation, the coffee price has plummeted in 2013 to less than US$1.10 per pound – nearly 65 percent off the 2011 high (see the latest market price here).

The price collapse this year is particularly unwelcome for farmers in Central America, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru where leaf rusta fungal disease that destroys coffee trees also known as La Roya, has already wiped out up to 30-40 percent of the crop, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO). “


November 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

The Calendar Photos are Here!

Hi FT friends,

Liz here. I know, I know. Long time coming.  Well, things have been quite busy around here, and in case you didn’t hear there was a photo contest amongst Fair Trade companies for next years FTRN Calendar.  The winners were announced yesterday, and while I was hoping we’d win a coveted spot, we didn’t.  Good news though is that all the pictures are great!  You can see them all here!  In the meantime, here’s a few we submitted.

Lucuma Designs Dancing Knitters R300 IMG_7146
Lucuma Designs Knitter Mother Daughter Puno Peru R300 IMG_4891
Lucuma Designs Knitters R300 IMG_2101
Lucuma Designs Mom and Girl with Lolipop R300 IMG_7448

July 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

How Collaboration Creates Fair Trade from Farm-to-Shelf

Hi Guys,

Liz here. I stumbled upon this series of posts on  Apparently they’re doing a 3-part series on Fair Trade. Very interesting if you ask me – it hits home.  Remember those food & fair trade posts some time back?  Well, this  one from February at least is geared along the same lines.  I think it does a good job painting the full picture.

The idea is that we often are so short-term focused that we cannot see how our actions are affecting the future.  The mentality happens everywhere.  Here’s a quote from the article.  See how real it is: “Look no further than the cocoa industry. For decades, cocoa farmers have not made enough money to feed their families. Most cocoa farmers don’t know what a chocolate bar looks like. They get a tiny tiny, tiny fraction of the value of that end product. If you can’t feed your family, and you can’t send your kids to school, do you think you’re going to invest in sustainable farming techniques or quality improvements or productivity improvements? Without these changes, its only a matter of time before there is a shortage of cocoa. So the industry has woken up to the fact that they have to invest in the people and the planet if they want to stay in business. And that’s why you see major cocoa companies saying, ‘You know what? We need to invest in certified cocoa.’”

Make sense?  Intense unmet needs often hinder us from seeing.

On a parallel note, someone here was recently asking how fair trade provided better education for workers’ children.  The article only touches on education and fair trade, but it makes a great point by connecting them together.  The answer is a bit complicated, but as mentioned above, part of this sustainability thing is getting everyone to be a little better off .  For many artisans, their livelihoods depend on their crops (this is called sustenance farming), and income from fair trade is income they otherwise wouldn’t have.  So sometimes, that extra income is what keeps kids from working and instead going to school.  Sometimes it’s what allows the family resources to send their kids to school (maybe money for transportation or supplies) or to a better school.  For most of the artists we work with, we continually hear that our artist partners use  income from our work to send their kids to better schools, sometimes even to university.  How can people pursue education when they don’t have money for food? for clothing? How can they prepare for the future when there is so much need in the present?

That’s what we hope to do. That’s what we strive to do.  To provide for the immediate and future needs of those families, those communities. To make the world a little more beautiful one fair trade product at a time.

You can read the full article at TriplePundit here. I hope you glean something from it.

And sorry guys, I feel like i couldn’t’ tie this post together as well as I would have liked. But I hope you take something good away from it!

April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Fair Trade Can Win You a trip to Peru!

Hi Fair Trade Friends!

The Fair World Project just put out this nice video on fair trade and a chance to win a trip to Peru!  Check it out!  And check out all those great sponsors!  cheers! ~Liz

April 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

A little fair trade fashion story


Hey friends… it seems i am at my usual i-should-have-posted-something-way-before-now faze, and yet I haven’t had much time to meditate on what i would share. I did, however, happen upon this neat little article about Chicago’s fair trade fashion profile.  Seems they’re up to something good.

One city at a time, guys. One city at a time.

Here’s the article so you can see just what’s possible when like-minds get together. Happy reading!

Oh, and if i may… try browsing these FT fashionista’s websites. If you see something you like, Pin it!  Let the whole world know how cool fair trade fashion can be.  Cheers until next time!

blackdressGreenolakanthabag_worldfinds ring_labyrinth_bronze_mata

March 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Fair trade Olympics!

Hi FT friends, I was daydreaming today about fair-trade Olympic treats for you, as the games are ever inspiring me!  BUT, alas, as the administrative type,  creativity is my lesser suit.  Instead, I did a nice little google search for you, and guess what i discovered…The 2012 London games are the most Fair Trade Friendly games ever!

“An estimated 14 million meals will be served at the Games, making it the largest peace-time catering operation in the world! From the outset, sustainability has been embedded in the set-up of the Olympics and Fairtrade will be playing its part. All bananas, tea, coffee and sugar will be Fairtrade certified, a tremendous achievement by the Fairtrade Foundation. Furthermore, Cadbury is one of the official sponsors of the Olympics so Fairtrade chocolate will be on display as well.

The Olympic Games present a golden opportunity to promote Fairtrade to audiences from across the globe. Fairtrade is determined to make the most of it.” (source:

and ” At the 2012 Olympics millions of visitors will enjoy Fairtrade tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, bananas, wine and oranges. That’s an estimated 7.5 million cups of tea, 14 million cups of coffee and 10 million bananas.These sales will generate an estimated Fairtrade premium of £100,000 over the six week period of the Games, to be invested by communities in developing countries in their own social and economic projects.It will be the first time that the Fairtrade Mark has appeared on the official menus at an Olympic Games.”  (source:

Isn’t that cool? I think so! in the meantime you can find some fun Olympic crafts here at Olympic Village. Or make this lovely fruit pizza to go with your fair trade tea or coffee!

Fruit Pizza

 I did snag this recipe from, which says that the recipe is posted there courtesy of Emily Mainquist’s “Sweet Vegan” cookbook. Recipe credit: Copyright 2011 by Emily Mainquist from “Sweet Vegan.” Used by permission of Kyle Books. While I don’t have permission to repost (not sure that i need it?), I’m hoping the publicity will make up for it.  From what i’ve heard, this is a great dessert book!



  • 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbls unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbls cold water

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 tbls butter substitute, at room temperature ( I personally, like Earth Balance)
  • 8 oz tofu cream cheese (Tofutti brand is very good)
  • 4 c organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit Topping

  • blueberries, strawberries, pineapple or mango, kiwi, blackberries


1. Preheat the oven to 375*F

2. MAKE THE CRUST: using a stand mixer, beat the shortening on medium speed until smooth, about 10 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt, blending on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing for 10 seconds after each addition. Blend the mixture once more until just combined, 30 seconds. (Blending too much will make the dough tough). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to 1/4″ thick. Prick all over with a fork and place on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING: using a stand mixer, beat the butter substitute on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides of bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. With the motor still running, slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla  and whip for 1 minute on high speed. Spread evenly on the cooled crust.

4. To make the fruit topping, cut all of the fruit 1/4″ thick. Arrange the fruit, overlapping, on top of the cream cheese filling. Brush the top of the fruit with the apricot preserves for a glossy finish. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Recipe courtesy Sweet Vegan cookbook by Emily Manquist

August 6, 2012 at 11:30 am 1 comment

A Portrait collage

Hi friends! Liz here again. We have been busy in the office with trade shows, orders, our new catalog, and an endless list of other things. But along with some of that, I had the privilege of reviewing a LOT of photographs from our visit with our artisans this year.  And so without further ado, I hope you enjoy these portraits….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

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