As visiting our growers at home and afar is fundamental for us to maintain strong, and long lasting relationships with our suppliers, this past week Randy and I journeyed down to Northern Peru to visit BOS, the Asociación de Bananeros Orgánicos Solidarios - a cooperative of 600 small scale banana producers that supply us with our Fair Trade organic bananas. We went to reaffirm our relationship with BOS, but little did we know they had a big surprise for us.
We love BOS because of their commitment to Fair Trade and developing their community through social programs. With the social premiums and sales that they have generated from Fair Trade, they have been able to provide numerous programs that fill the gap of social services and programs in the Salitral community. The ongoing list of initiatives that BOS has implemented includes medical insurance, scholarships, microfinance, technical training, adult literacy, English lessons, women empowerment, cultural activities such as traditional costumes and dance, sponsorship of local soccer teams and youth programs including a summer school.
A BC organics distributor is encouraging retailers and suppliers to do what they can to help northern Peru, which has been devastated by floods over the past few weeks.
Randy Hooper, managing director for Discovery Organics, a Canadian distributor of certified organic and Fair Trade produce, is asking retailers to help out by selling Peruvian mangoes at cost. Hooper says he’s hoping to earn 25-30 cents per mango, which will then be donated back into the communities.
***[Updated Info] All of the Fair Trade bananas and mangos in Vancouver come from these affected regions. The stores participating in the relief project will only be contributing proceeds from FAIR TRADE mango sales, not sales of all Peruvian mangos. The money raised will go directly to the cooperatives and communities that supply Vancouver with Fair Trade Bananas, Mangos, and Avocados. Additionally, all money raised will go through the Fair Trade system as Fair Trade social premiums to ensure the proper use of the funds.***
Many people have an opinion of Starbucks. Whether it’s positive, negative, or simply “wow-these-kitty-corner-Starbucks-are-convenient,” today we commend them for taking a step in the right direction: making one of their main roasts Fair Trade certified.
You may remember (or not) their Fair Trade certified brand, Café Estima. Hard to find and with staff reluctant to brew, this coffee was available only at select locations, and then exclusively online — frustrating for customers who want to support Fair Trade. The good news is the new Italian roast will be readily available. Multi-region and dark, you can purchase this coffee in all Starbucks locations, online, and possibly in grocery stores. Their Café Estima line, however, is discontinued altogether, so the Italian roast is the only Fair Trade coffee Starbucks will serve. Although not as forward as the Starbucks in the UK and Ireland, which are entirely Fair Trade down to the espresso, it is an encouraging step.
As our readers might already know, the Executive Director of Fairtrade Canada stepped down last month. As of Jan. 25, the organization has been looking for someone to fill the position. In the meantime, the organization’s management team has been handling operations.
Michael Zelmer, communications director, said the filling the position is a priority for the board and would likely take place in the next few months.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rob for his many accomplishments and years of dedicated service to Fairtrade Canada and the Fair Trade movement. We all wish him the very best in the future," stated John Kay, Fairtrade Canada Board Chair in a press release.
Tomorrow, Emily Carr Illustration, Fair Trade Vancouver, and The FALL Gallery will be presenting The Deck Show’s Closing Auction at the Fall Tattooing and Artist’s Gallery — where a portion of the event’s sales will go towards supporting Fair Trade Vancouver!
The DECK SHOW, executed by the Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s Illustration Club, is an exhibition showcasing these students’ styles and voices. Skate and street culture have long been proponents of illustration, utilizing the skate deck as a canvas for self-expression. Each deck is an original, one-of-a-kind piece of art. A veritable rainbow of solutions, mediums, and styles generated over 120 boards showcased at the Fall Gallery, 644 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 3K4.
George Stroumboulopoulos has long been a champion of ethical and sustainable living. As last year’s keynote speaker at the EPIC sustainable living trade show last year, he spent time with Fair Trade Vancouver and the Projecting Change Film Festival to learn more about how to support Fair Trade in Canada. It was clear that the subject had been on his mind; when it was his turn to step up on stage, the first thing he talked about was the importance of supporting Fair Trade.
In preparation for Valentines, Stroumboulopoulos has put together a list of responsible strategies for celebrating Valentine’s Day. He reminds us to buy Fair Trade flowers and chocolate, and more importantly, explore the range of ethically sourced products at your local Fair-minded retailers. And if all else fails, make something yourself!
Tomorrow's one of the biggest days of the year for flower sales. Millions of dollars will change hands at grocery stores and florists across the country and why not? What's better than a beautiful bouquet of roses?
The answer: a beautiful bouquet of roses that hasn't been grown, picked and cut by workers who'll see just a fraction of those dollar bills you'll hand over.
Most flowers sold in Canada come from South America, where work in the flower industry is often low-paid, insecure, and potentially harmful due to toxic pesticides and other chemicals. Many of these workers and their families survive on as little as $13 a day.
On Wednesday February 15, 2011,The British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) will be continuing their series of networking events. International Development Drinks will be taking place at the Blarneystone this month and will feature keynote presenters Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira Women's Resource Society, and
Miriam Palacios, Policy and Outreach, Oxfam Canada.
The event will be a great place to have a drink and to meet local people involved in sustainable development.
Read on for more details and be sure to follow us at #devdrinks for more updates.
It's been all over the news (here, and here), but in case you missed it, check out this video of Fair Trade Vancouver as they take to the streets of Downtown Vancouver to support the purchase of Fair Trade products this Valentine's Day. The event was part of the My Fair Valentine Campaign organized by the CFTN Network.
The folks at Ethical Ocean have put together an excellent infographic that outlines issues surrounding the chocolate industry and why it’s important that we support Fair Trade chocolate this upcoming Valentine’s day.