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.
Peasant communities all over the world are beginning to realize that, although intensive agriculture might boost crop yields in the short term with seemingly little effort, in the long term it pollutes water sources and depletes the soil. Many have decided to abandon intensive agriculture and revert to the traditional farming practices used by their ancestors for centuries. In her article, posted by the Latinamerica Press, Louisa Reynolds describes how these ancient traditions are being reprised in a Mayan community in Guatemala:
Agroecology, fair trade, responsible consumption and the protection of native seeds are some of the practices that Mayan farmers have rescued from their ancestors.
Mayan farmers of the Cuchumatanes mountain range in northwestern Guatemala know that organic farming requires hard work, patience and dedication but is the only road to sustainable development.
In 2006, these farmers decided to abandon intensive agriculture, which involves the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer, as they realized that it boosted crop yields in the short term with seemingly little effort but polluted water sources and depleted the soil in the long term. They then founded the Association for the Sustainable Development of the Huista Commonwealth (ADSOSMHU). Continue reading →
WWOOF — an acronym for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms — offers you a way to travel the world for next to nothing. (Normally, you pay only to get there.) At the organization’s website, you can search the database of organic farms around the world to see who’s looking for someone to help out.
WWOOF hosts are those with farms or gardens that need tending or other types of work. They don’t pay volunteer workers, known as Wwoofers. Instead, they typically offer free meals and accommodation, which can range from rustic to luxurious. Wwoofers needn’t have any serious experience. But a willingness to take on agreed-upon tasks is a must.
Besides planting, tending, or harvesting organic gardens, Wwoofers may be asked to milk goats, build chicken coops, or in the case of small hotels, help with cooking, cleaning, or with guests.
WWOOF requires that hosts and volunteers agree in advance on the details: time commitment, type of work to be done, accommodation, etc. You pay a minimal fee to join one of the 50 WWOOF independent country organizations and gain access to databases. For example, a Costa Rica membership costs just $16/year. A joint membership that gives you access to opportunities in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Belize costs just $33/year.