You have been hearing us throw around the phrase "fair trade" a lot lately; after all, it is Fair Trade Month! But many of you are probably wondering what fair trade really means and why it even matters. Here at BVC we believe in the empowering business model of fair trade and how it helps better the lives of small farmers around the world. With only one week of fair trade month left, we figure there's no better time to touch base on the benefits of fair trade, and the importance of staying involved once October is said and done.
Fair trade is connected. When you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you don't always know where those coffee beans come from. But fair trade supports the notion of conscious consumerism, which is making the consumer aware of the production process from farm to kitchen. When you purchase fair trade coffee, you can be sure that the small farm it came from participated in
Fair trade is empowering. Fair trade farmers in 70 developing countries have been granted access to luxuries they never would have been able to afford, such as healthcare and education, by participating in fair trade farming. Women, who usually do not receive fair treatment and the healthcare they deserve, have the access to it. Children have the opportunity to receive an education, since revenue is used to build schools in central areas. Farmers also receive fair wages that they can actually live on, and become their own bosses.
Fair trade is making a difference. By giving small farmers the business skills and related knowledge that they need to succeed and run their own small-scale farm, fair trade is giving the opportunity to make a difference in the quality of life of these farmers and their families. It is a way to alleviate poverty, and educate the world. Many fair trade farmers also engage in environmentally sustainable practices too, so our earth is benefitting as well.
We hope that you will see the amazing benefits in fair trade coffee (and other fair trade goods) and continue to support these deserving farmers. Be sure to visit befair.org for more detailed information on the fair trade movement, and the steps you can take as a conscious consumer.