Dominican Republic Mission: Why am I Here?

pina-truckAt the turn of the century, I used to traverse the globe in search of organic producers. I gallivanted off to Ecuador and Peru customarily accompanied by Fair Trade USA. I traipsed and traversed continents to develop direct relationships with banana growers: important because bananas were our biggest single selling item in terms of volume. I remember long dusty drives on bumpy roads through poor villages only to arrive at some overheated office to meet a group of hardworking Spanish-speaking farmers. I often sat a bit dumbfounded, understanding about half of the conversation, I would ask myself “Why am I here, why me?” Continue reading

Fair Trade Month: An Opportunity to Connect with the True Cost of Food

Vigorous bananasMy father grew up in Iowa during the depression. Times were dire and he witnessed much hardship and suffering. Getting enough to eat was never an issue for his family but seeing others go hungry left its psychological mark. After returning from WWII he witnessed the Industrial Agricultural Complex taking hold in earnest and the availability of cheap food became a patriotic goal. Generations were raised thinking cheap food was a bonus. It is proving hard to shake that philosophy out of our food values. Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 2 – Going deeper, delivering gifts

This is part 2 of a three part series. You can read Bolivian Diaries – Part 1 here. 
Quinoa ComesI fall deeply asleep in the mining town of Oruro, which, at 14,350 feet, is one of the highest places we will visit. The town is relatively wealthy thanks to the copious amounts of silver, tin and lead extracted from the nearby mountain. The streets are newly paved and lined with parks festooned with magical playgrounds of dinosaur and giant turtle-inspired plays-capes. Sculptures made from discarded metals are a common decorative element and reminiscent of Burning Man art. Continue reading

Uncovering the Fair Trade Mystique

Solar Panels bring water and life to arid areas

Solar Panels bring water and life to arid areas

Fair Trade is a label displayed on products that cost ever so slightly more than similar items. For the most part, these products are grown with organic methods and represent the most sustainable growing practices for producers in developing countries.  Have you ever wondered just what is behind that label and what it means to purchase Fair Trade Products? There is a world of benefits for the producers behind the label.

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