The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


Leave a comment

Wholesum Fair Trade

New-Wholesum-logo-web

Wholesum Farms  came up in my news feed again today.  I was thrilled to read they are expanding their fair trade offerings. A portion of the proceeds from these products, as well as others in their Fair Trade line will be funneled into Wholesum’s community development fund.  This is a great example of how an agricultural firm can take the needs of their workers into account when setting corporate policy.

In a recent news release, Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer, touted the company’s Fair Trade program.

“What makes this (Fair Trade) certification so remarkable is the fact that 100% of community development funds generated from the sale of Fair Trade produce go back to our workers and helps them tackle needs such as healthcare, housing and education,” Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum’s chief commercial officer, said in the release. “The workers vote on how these funds are allocated, and that in itself is very empowering.”

Wholesum produce can be found at Whole Foods Market and Jewel Grocers in the Midwest.  They may not be carried under the Wholesum label, but be sure to look for the Fair Trade Guarantee!

 


Leave a comment

Support better conditions for farm workers with fair trade

Our current industrial farm culture not only degrades the environment, the soil and the water, but subjects workers to an array of hazards such as respiratory infections, sprains, bruises, severe head trauma, fractures, electrocution and repetitive motion injury.

Paul Rice, Founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA emphasizes the need for Fair Trade Certification in the agricultural sector internationally – even in a “developed” country like the US…

A 2014 Los Angeles Times investigation found Mexican farm workers living in squalor, denied wages, and trapped in debt on farms that export produce to the U.S., highlighting the need for standardization and enforcement of labor standards. Unfortunately, U.S. farms could not provide a much better example of decent work in practice. In the U.S., just as in other parts of the world, workers face abysmally low wages, unsafe and toxic working conditions, child labor, indentured servitude, and human trafficking. They are also regularly unable to gain access to medical care and education.

He acknowledges that while the US has stronger labor laws than many other countries, they still don’t meet Fair Trade Certified standards…

Agricultural workers deserve the same fair income, secure workplaces and social protections provided to other industrial workers under state and federal laws.

Adhering to Fair Trade standards comes with added benefit to farm workers in the form of Fair Trade Committees and Community Development Funds. It’s simple: for every Fair Trade Certified product sold, the farmers who grew it earn an additional amount of money called Community Development Funds. From there, a democratically-elected group of farm workers, called the Fair Trade Committee, assembles to decide how to spend these dollars to meet their unique social, economic, and environmental needs.

In 2016, Wholesum Harvest, a family-owned tomato farm in Nogales, Arizona, made headlines when it announced its status as the very first Fair Trade Certified™ farm in the United States.

Within a year of becoming Fair Trade Certified, workers at Wholesum Harvest made their very first project investing in health insurance for the farmworkers. Even with employer-provided insurance available to all the workers, many still could not afford it, so workers voted to use their funds to offset the employee cost. In January 2018, Wholesum Harvest went from less than 5 percent to now 88 percent of its workers opting in to the employee-provided health insurance. (Compare that to just 35 percent of farm workers in the U.S. who report having health insurance.)

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Women’s Day Special

The World Fair Trade Organization is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of podcasts featuring Fair Trade Enterprises started and run by women.

Allison Havens founded Yabal Handicrafts in Guatemala to keep alive indigenous weaving techniques and create livelihoods for local women. Today, the women producers are becoming the main income earners in their family and challenging gender norms. Her story unpacks what it means to truly prioritize local producers over increasing profits – getting to the heart of what makes an enterprise mission-led.

 

Bethlehem founded Entoto Beth in Ethiopia as a social enterprise. Today, her enterprise gives opportunities for 200 women in marginalized communities. She upcycles bullet-casings and has adopted Fair Trade to create jewelry and bags for global markets.

 


Leave a comment

Covilli Brand Organics inaugurates health clinic for workers

You can make a huge difference in workers’ lives by purchasing fair trade. Tad Thompson tells us how Covilli Brand Organics invests its fair trade dollars to improve the health of their workers and the community as a whole…

Earlier this year the Fair Trade program of Covilli Brand Organics Inc. inaugurated a health clinic in Triunfo de Santa Rosa, which is the village where the farm is located, about an hour from Guaymas, Sonora. The project was three years in the making.

Iris Montaño-Madrigal, Covilli’s marketing manager, said the facility offers farmworkers — and local citizens — generalized medical services and dentistry. Very soon the facility will have specialized care.

…Workers receive preference at the facility, which is also available to as many as 9,000 local citizens.