Equal Exchange started in 1986 as a co-op in Nicaragua, but now sources products and partners with over 40 small farmer organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Along with Farming Partners, there are also Interfaith and Fair Trade Partners. Some of their Fair Trade Partners include Oke USA, Traidcraft, Fullwell Mill Ltd, and Ten Thousand Villages.
Beyond building bridges and bringing communities together to source sustainably, Equal Exchange is worker owned. What does that mean?
“A worker cooperative is an alternative for-profit structure based upon standard democratic principles...to bring to the workplace many of the rights and responsibilities…[including] one-person/one-vote equality; open access to information (i.e., open-book management); free speech; and the equitable distribution of resources (such as income).”
They also have cafés, where baristas join their “worker-owner tract” after six months, because a truly sustainable system needs to support itself. I love that it works with people across the globe to achieve that.
Oh, but what do they give you in exchange for your loyal support and interest in their awesome co-op structure? In addition to high quality chocolate & cocoa, they serve coffee, tea, bananas, and other fair trade food. I love chocolate, but what I love even more is Equal Exchange’s goal: “Educating ourselves about where our food comes from – so that we can make informed decisions as consumers…[and] create a healthier, more equitable food system.”
So, celebrate #NationalCoffeeDay with Equal Exchange, and throw in a chocolate bar for Halloween while you’re at it (it’s never too early for Halloween)!
Every effort is made to verify the accuracy of these external resources; however, Diana Mao and Nomi Network cannot guarantee or control the content, usefulness, or appropriateness of these sites or that their products are 100% slave free.