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May 12, 2020 to June 4, 2020: Fair Trade food products available from IRTF this spring!
Mon-Thu 9-4 or by other arrangement
IRTF, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44113

 (See product list and pricing below. Pick-up or home delivery.)

Please share the Facebook event for this fair trade sale . 

Fair Trade food products available from IRTF this spring!

Support the solidarity economy. Get your fair trade coffee, chocolate, baking cocoa, and tea from IRTF this spring! Pick-up or home delivery!

Each year, IRTF provides tens of thousands of dollars in much needed income to fair trade cooperatives in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. For more than three decades, IRTF has examined and challenged the current system of global capitalism dominated by big corporations, which exploits people and the planet. We are linked across the globe with small growers and producers—as well as authentic fair trade companies and nonprofits—in building an economy based on solidarity, putting people over profits. Another world is both possible and necessary; let’s build it together. Support authentic fair trade.

Fair trade is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; that prices paid to producers reflect the work they do; that workers have the right to organize; that national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced; and that products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources. In all, there are nine principles of fair trade. Fair price is only one of them. Read the Principles of Fair Trade here.

Read more at the bottom of this post about 1- fair trade certification, 2- some differences between fair trade and ethical trade/direct trade, and 3- how to shop fair trade in Ohio. Thank you for supporting the solidarity economy.

 

Equal Exchange and IRTF = Partners in Fair Trade

Why Equal Exchange?

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as a 100% fair trade worker-owned cooperative. Many other big commercial coffee roasters or retailers are involved in fair trade simply as a niche item for just one of their many product lines; and that’s as far as it goes.  For companies who are fully committed to fair trade, like Equal Exchange (the first fair trade coffee company in the US) it’s about transforming the food system. Price is only a part of it. It is mostly about relationship and mutual commitment to each other. Look for products that are 100% fair trade. If only 5-10% of a company’s product line is fair trade, you should question their commitment to justice for the workers who grow, produce, and process the product.

Read about Equal Exchange’s farmer partners across the globe here.

 

 

PURCHASE EQUAL EXCHANGE FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS from IRTF this spring.

To make a purchase, email your order to OhioFairTrade@irtfcleveland.org. Arrange for pick-up or home-delivery. Pay upon pick-up or delivery. Details at the bottom of this product list.

 

 

CHOCOLATE

Vegan Chocolate bars (listed in order of cacao %) $4 each

92% Total Eclipse

88% Extreme Dark

80% Panama Dark

67% Mint Crunch

65% Orange Infused

55% Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper

55% Toasted Almond

55% Coconut Milk

 

Milk Chocolate bars $4 each

43% Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

 

Mini Chocolates $5

pack of 25 minis (milk or dark)

 

Chocolate Chips $5

10oz bag of semi-sweet

 

Baking cocoa $7

8oz can of 100% cacao (cocoa powder) from the Dominican Republic

 

Hot cocoa mix $7

12 oz can

regular – with non-fat milk powder and pure cane sugar

spicy – enhanced with vanilla, cayenne, cinnamon

 

FAIR FOODS

Olive Oil $15

17oz bottle, produced by Al Zawyeh cooperative on the West Bank

 

Dried Mango $6

5oz bag, produced by Gebana Afrique, an association of 17 rural cooperatives in Burkina Faso

 

TEA

$5 (box of 20 tea bags—all organic)

Tea that is grown by small-scale farmers is revolutionary in an industry dominated by large plantations. Equal Exchange partners with small growers in India, South Africa and Sri Lanka to build this alternative supply chain.

 

Black Tea

Black, Chai, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Decaf English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast

 

Green Tea

Green, Green with  Ginger, Jasmine Green, Mint Green

 

Herbal – all are caffeine free

Chamomile, Ginger, Peppermint, Rooibos (red bush), Rooibos Chai, Vanilla Rooibos

 

COFFEE

$9 – 12oz package of ground or whole bean

$10 – 12oz package of organic decaf

$52 – 5lb bag of whole bean (available: Breakfast Blend or French Roast)

 

Coffees listed in order of light roast to dark:

Toffee Caramel (light)

Café Salvador (light)

Breakfast Blend (organic) (med)

Love Buzz (organic) (med)

French Roast (organic) (dark)

 

 

COFFEE SERVERS

Stainless steel coffee server (thermos/carafe). $33

Sup-R-Serv by Update International. This stainless steel double walled carafe with an unbreakable liner is vacuum sealed, so it will keep liquids hot or cold for hours. Press button top for easy pouring. 64 oz capacity

 

Glass coffee carafe. $12

Designed for a Bunn burner coffee maker. Branded with Equal Exchange: Small Farmer, Big Change. This is a perfect gift for the kitchen at your place of worship or employment or school. Produced by Duran Schott glass company in Munich, Germany. 12-cup capacity.

 

 

BOOKS

The History of Authentic Fair Trade, by Phyllis Robinson and Nicholas Reid. Illustrations by Vendela Larsson. $7

Graphic novel style. Paperback. 40 pages

 

A Cafecito Story, by Julia Alvarez . Illustrations are woodcuts by Belkis Ramírez. $14

Hardback. 58 pages.

Based on her experience trying to reclaim a small coffee farm in her native Dominican Republic, A Cafecito Story is a poetic, modern fable about human beings at their best. The challenge of producing coffee is a remarkable test of our ability to live more sustainably, caring for the land, growers, and consumers in an enlightened and just way. Written with Julia Alvarez's deft touch, this is a story that stimulates while it comforts, waking the mind and warming the soul like the first cup of morning coffee. Indeed, this story is best read with a strong cup of organic, shade-grown, fresh-brewed coffee.

 

PICK-UP or HOME DELIVERY

Pick up your order at IRTF, Monday-Thursday, 9am-4pm, or by other appointment. Please confirm your pick-up time before you show up (because the building is generally locked). Payment: cash, check, credit card.

Home delivery: available within a few miles of the office. Inquire.

 

IRTF is located on the campus of St Patrick Church, 3606 Bridge Ave, Cleveland 44113, at the corner of  W. 38th St. Just one block north of Lorain Ave. Parking right in front of the building. Questions? Call 216.961.0003 M-Th, 9-4.

 

---------------

 

EDUCATION CORNER

Learn more about fair trade.

1- Fair Trade Standards & Certification

2- Differences between Fair Trade and Ethical/Direct Trade

3- How to Shop Fair Trade in Ohio

 

 

1- FAIR TRADE STANDARDS & CERTIFICATION

Standards and Certification: Agricultural Products v. Handmade Products

There are two separate sets of standards. Why? Because an agricultural product (a banana, a coffee bean, a cocoa bean, etc.) is easier to trace from where it was produced to where it was processed to where it ended up on your grocer’s shelf. Handmade products have component parts (cotton, thread, dyes, metals, zippers) that are harder to trace.

 

Agricultural Products

Here is a list of standards to certify that the product is fair trade: http://fairtradeamerica.org/Resources%20Library/Standards

If an agricultural product is truly fair trade, it will ,likely carry a certification label: https://fairworldproject.org/validation-programs/ . This means they open their agricultural fields and processing centers to independent third party inspectors who investigate and make a report and recommendation to the certifying agency: Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO), Fair Trade USA, or IMO/Fair for Life.

If an agricultural product claims to be fair trade and does not have certification, you would need to investigate them. You could start by asking the folks at FairTradeAmerica.org if they know anything about the company or their claims of being fair trade.

 

Handmade Products

There is no certification for handmade products (with few exceptions, such as Maggie’s Organics based in Michigan). However, most fair trade resale operations in the US belong to the Fair Trade Federation. The Fair Trade Federation makes sure that the products they sell meet fair trade standards (i.e., the Principles of Fair Trade). If the resale operation does not belong to the Fair Trade Federation, you need to investigate them individually with a set of questions to vet them to see if they are legitimately fair trade. Contact OhioFairTrade@irtfcleveland.org  if you need a set of those questions.

 

 

2- DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FAIR TRADE & ETHICAL/DIRECT TRADE

Consumers can educate themselves about the benefits of fair trade and the benefits of other labeling systems. Here are some examples: Ethical Trade, Direct Trade, Whole Trade, Rainforest Alliance. Consumers should compare and contrast the claims of each of the labeling systems.

Direct Trade is one system that has gained popularity over the past several years. Direct Trade claims that they benefit farmers more than Fair Trade does because they know the farmer and their family, they visit, they’ve met the workers, etc.

Here is a criticism of Direct Trade: Direct Trade is a relationship between a distributor in the US (say, a coffee roaster) and a farmer in Latin America who has a privately-owned coffee plantation. This is significant. Even if the coffee roaster in the US is paying the farmer more than they were getting in the past—and even if they’re paying more than the fair trade price—the Direct Trade system is not doing anything to change the basic dominant/subordinate relationship between the farmer (plantation owner) and their workers. Direct Traders say things like, “But the farmworkers are paid more because we pay the farmers more and they pass that along in increased wages to their workers.” Maybe. Maybe not. It’s still up to the discretion of the farmer who is the plantation owner, and, however nice a person they might be, has control over the wages and working conditions of the workers on the plantation.

Authentic fair trade is different. Authentic fair trade started as a way to support farmer-owned cooperatives and give them a way into the market. A cooperative is a different model of ownership. It is not the dominant/subordinate relationship of the private owner/workers. A cooperative is a jointly-owned business. It might have 10 farmer-owners, it might have 500 in a cooperative of producers.  The significant thing about the cooperative is that it is democratically run. The members elect their leadership; they have a say-so in their working hours and conditions; they have a say-so in how much each farmer gets paid and how to spend the “social premium.” (The social premium is an amount, usually around 15-cents per pound, paid by buyers like Equal Exchange to the farm cooperative above the agreed upon price for the coffee beans. The farmer-owners of the cooperative decide collectively how to spend the extra social premium on improvements in their community, like housing, education, nutrition, gender equity programs, etc.)

Besides the democratic nature of the cooperative, there are many other social, economic, and political benefits to having cooperatives in a country. For instance, right now in Central America, campesinos are facing huge threats of forced displacement and environmental destruction because of large private corporations and their conspirators in corrupt governments who prefer catering to corporate greed over the well-being of the people. Historically, cooperatives have led social movements for land justice, environmental justice, and democracy and in their countries.

 

Here is a good example from Guatemala: In 2006, the government of Guatemala was getting ready to ratify the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Small farmers knew this would be bad for them and good for multinational food corporations. How did they show their disapproval? The farmers—mostly members of cooperatives across the country—moved onto large government tracts of land and occupied them in protest. They shut down major highways. They encircled the Congress building. They kept the protest movement alive and showed that the majority of the people in Guatemala were against this free trade scheme. Did they prevail? No. The government went ahead and followed pressure from the US to enter into CAFTA. But if it weren’t for the strong cooperative movement, this strong showing of disapproval—and the international solidarity it generated—would not have happened.

 

Another example from Colombia in 2019:  People in Colombia (both in the cities and in the rural zones) have been dissatisfied with their government’s slow pace of implementing the 2016 Peace Accords that were meant to end 50 years of civil war in their country. In November and December of 2019, large scale protests were organized to pressure their president to do much more to promote and protect the peace process, protect the environment, and protect human rights. Especially in the rural areas, farmer-owned cooperatives and farm unions were instrumental in organizing masses of people to join these protests. Over 200,000 marched the first day in Bogotá. Broad based coalitions came together promoting a variety of justice issues. One issue key to people in the rural areas is the provision in the Peace Accords to enroll farmers in a program to substitute illegal crops (i.e., coca grown for cocaine) with legal ones (food products).  Many of the farmers who are leading this initiative in their communities are being assassinated. Why? Because the criminal groups that make money from the drug trade don’t want the farmers to stop growing coca, the main ingredient for cocaine. Farmers are demanding more protection from their government. The cooperative movement across Colombia (the land mass in Colombia is mostly countryside) is vital to the broader social movement for justice and peace in Colombia.

In sum: When companies sell fair trade products that are not produced by farmer-owned cooperatives but are produced by privately-owned farms instead, they are weakening the cooperative model. This is a detriment to both economic justice and to political justice.  Cooperatives have historically played significant roles in broader justice movements in their countries. Fewer cooperatives means less economic justice and fewer civil/political rights.

 

3- HOW TO SHOP FAIR TRADE IN OHIO

A- See this link on OhioFairTrade.com:

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/how-to-shop-fair-trade/

 

B- See this link for stores in Ohio that sells products, all of which are fair trade products

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/ohio-fair-trade-stores/

 

C- See this link for stores in Ohio (mostly grocery) that sell products that are fair trade or contain fair trade ingredients

https://ohiofairtrade.com/shop-fair-trade/companies-that-use-fair-trade-ingredients/

 

D- If there is a particular product you are looking for, you can go to FairTradeCertified.org and research it and ask the company if their product is available in your area.

 

Learn more about fair trade at www.OhioFairTrade.com

 

June 2, 2020: Clone of Friends of Immigrants Meeting - Cleveland Heights
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, 3031 Monticello Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Friends of Immigrants supports migrants and refugees locally in NE Ohio as well as at the US/Mexico Border. Join us to learn about various initiatives in defense and support of our immigrant sisters and brothers. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic Church, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian, and St. Paschal Baylon Church.

Steering Committee
Bill Shaul - from Federated UCC
Sharon Shumaker - from Forest Hill Church Presbyterian
Peggy Murphy - from St. Dominic Church (MLMurphy0901@sbcglobal.net)
Dale Winsberg - unaffiliated
Anne Hill - unaffiliated 
(someone yet to be named)  - St. Paschal Baylon Church
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday evening of each month in rotation at St. Dominic, Forest Hill, and St. Pascal Baylon.

 

June 3, 2020 to June 6, 2020: Equal Exchange Summit - building a better food system together
webinar

Click here for updates on the 2020 Equal Exchange Summit and to RSVP so that you will receive updates in your inbox. 

Please share the Facebook event.

Since last year, Equal Exchange has been asking our base to engage in two solidarity campaigns: Behind the Barcodes, led by OXFAM, and the Food and Agribusiness Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act, led by the Organization of Competitive Markets.  At the 2019 Summit,  representatives from these organizations shared some of their work in addressing issues of justice, transparency, and accountability to consumers in the food system.

Join us on the web the first week of June!

 

About the annual summits:

Equal Exchange’s annual summits have been the culmination of what we are building with our organizing work. Over the past four years we have built a grassroots movement in service of a truly democratic food system. This event is the manifestation of a deeply connected community of like-minded individuals who care, want to be a part of making our food system better, and want to help Equal Exchange flourish as an alternative trade organization in an increasingly consolidated marketplace. Join our inspiring community for two days of workshops, organizing, and celebration with all parts of the Equal Exchange community. We will be joined by Equal Exchange worker-owners, producer partners, and citizen-consumer food justice advocates, like you! To succeed we need this movement to grow, we need your participation. 

https://equalexchange.coop/summit

 

 

Why is this summit being called:

Equal Exchange was founded as an alternative trade organization (ATO) with the mission of connecting US consumers and small marginalized farmers from the global south from countries like Nicaragua, Peru, or India. Alternative trade organizations have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and NGO’s.  Because of this isolation, ATO’s are under grave threat for the future—at risk of not surviving the market in the next ten to fifteen years.

How are we, Equal Exchange, one of the most successful ATO’s in the global north, thinking about our future?  What is our plan to try to survive and prosper in this next period? How will we need to change to increase our odds of success?

We believe our path to success includes bringing our supporters, citizen-consumers, more deeply into our organization to foster real and direct solidarity with our small farmer partners and our growing co-operative network. We are forging the path as we walk it and your participation in our June summit is a vital piece of this vision.

See schedule, keynote and other presenters below. 

 

SCHEDULE

(all times listed are Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

DAY 1: WED, June 3, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

  • 6:00 -7:00 PM: Welcome & Community Introductions   
  • 7:10-8:30 PM: Keynote with Shirley Sherrod of New Communities, Inc.  

DAY 2: THURS, June 4, 6 PM to 8:45 PM 

  • 6 PM-7:15 PM: Session 1: Choose from a selection of workshops
  • 7:30 PM- 8:45 PM: Session 2: Choose from a selection of workshops

DAY 3: FRI, June 5, 6:00 PM to 8:45 PM

  • 6:00 PM-7:15 PM: Session 1: Choose from a selection of workshops
  • 7:30 PM- 8:45 PM Session 2: The Future of Equal Exchange; Building a Solidarity Network with Rink Dickinson, Founder and President of Equal Exchange

DAY 4: SAT, June 6, 12:00 PM to 2:45 PM   

  • 11:30 AM-12:00 PM: Optional Coffee Time  (social time to connect as a community over our late morning cuppa) 
  • 12:00 PM to 2:45 PM: Annual Member Meeting & Election 

 

KEYNOTE: Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod is a Baker County Georgia native who grew up on her family’s farm.  In March 1965, her father was murdered by a white farmer who was not prosecuted.  The tragic murder of her father when she was 17 years old, had a profound impact on her life and led to her decision to stay in the south to work for change.

Shirley helped to start the civil rights movement in Baker County and later married Charles Sherrod, one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and leader of SNCC’s work in southwest Georgia.

With her husband and others, she helped to form New Communities, Inc., the first Community Land Trust in the United States.  New Communities serves as a laboratory and model in the movement toward the development of community land trusts (CLTs) throughout the country.  There are more than 200 CLTs today.

Shirley has a B.A. in Sociology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia and a M.A. in Community Development from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  In 2015, she was awarded a Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Sojourner-Douglas College in Baltimore, Maryland.  She has received many awards for her work in civil rights and as an advocate for farmers and rural residents.

In 2009, Shirley was appointed by the Obama Administration as USDA Georgia State Director of Rural Development.  She became the first person of color to hold the position.  Shirley was forced to resign her position in 2010 after conservative blogger Andrew Brietbart edited a speech she made at a NAACP banquet, to make it appear that she discriminated against a white farmer while serving in her federally appointed position.  Subsequent events showed that Brietbart’s edited video was taken out of context and was part of broader comments that conveyed a completely different meaning.  USDA Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologized and offered her another position, which she declined.

Shirley serves as the Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education and Vice President for Development for New Communities, Inc.

Shirley is married to Rev. Charles Sherrod and they have two children and five granddaughters.

 

PRESENTERS

Claire Kelloway is a reporter and researcher with the Open Markets Institute. She is the primary writer for Food & Power, a first-of-its-kind website, providing original reporting and resources on monopoly power and economic concentration in the food system. Her writing on food and agriculture has appeared in The Washington Monthly, ProPublica, Civil Eats, The American Prospect, and more.

Sarah James is a member of Equal Exchange's growing citizen-consumer network and also an investor. She is a co-founder of the U.S. eco-municipality movement and co-author of The Natural Step for Communities: How Cities & Towns Can Change to Sustainable Practices

 

FACILITATOR OF THE EVENT

Em Ambrose :  eambrose@equalexchange.coop

 

Feedback on previous Equal Exchange Summits:

“I have always been an Equal Exchange fan, but every time I attend an event put on by Equal Exchange I am even more humbled and enthusiastic about the mission and the great work that is being done to promote REAL fair trade in a way that matters. I am telling more and more people everywhere I go about why they should buy and promote Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate especially, but about the company in general and the other products. The fact that it is a worker owned co-op is important for people to know and understand the impact.” - Katharine, VT

 “Thank you Equal Exchange for providing such an engaging and inspiring experience to join others in a common struggle for fair trade and economic justice! It was an immense pleasure to gather with like-minded folks who are doing great work in their communities. I hope to attend this in the future as the movement grows! Keep up the amazing work you do everyday!" - Holly, PA

INFO

Have more questions about the Equal Exchange Summit? Contact Emily Ambrose at 508-427-5203,  eambrose@equalexchange.coop. 

June 10, 2020: Food Action Forum - Make Our Food System Fair!
7-8pm
Zoom meeting via internet

 

Wednesdays: May 13, June 10, July 8 – Please join us!

Wed., June 10, 7-8pm: info and free registration here

 

What is the Food Action Forum? (aka Citizen-Consumer Food Movement)

This invitation to join the Food Action Forum comes from Equal Exchange, an Alternative Trade Organization (ATO) and the first fair trade coffee company in the US, which is working to build a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the Global South to consumers in the Global North. IRTF in Cleveland first introduced NE Ohioans to Equal Exchange coffee in the mid-1990s. Several faith congregations began selling Equal Exchange as an act of solidarity and justice. Heinen’s became the first grocer chain to sell Equal Exchange in all its stores in the US. IRTF and Equal Exchange have been close partners and friends ever since.  

 

What is this monthly meeting?

Food Action Forum meetings (monthly) allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out there in your communities. In today’s overwhelmingly digital world we want to find ways to create meaningful and deep connections with this community, connections that are two-way, connections that are active, not passive. We look forward to connecting, join us!

We’re working across geography and time zones to build our ATO* and a more vital movement for food justice. We look forward to connecting with you. Join us!

For any questions, please reach out to eeactionforum@equalexchange.coop. --Frankie, Em, Danielle

 

*What are ATOs? Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) are at risk

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as an alternative trade organization (ATO) with the mission of connecting US consumers and small marginalized farmers from the global south from countries like Nicaragua, Peru, or India. Alternative trade organizations have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This isolation has caused ATOs to not only be under grave threat for the future but at risk of not surviving the market in the next ten to fifteen years.

 

Fair-Washing: Fair Trade is being stripped of its original meaning

The Fair Trade idea may have won successes in the last 10 years, but those successes have been limited. And in the process of gaining recognition and support, control has been wrested from small farmers and turned into a marketing attribute at the service of northern companies; it has been commodified and stripped of all real meaning. While some northern ATOs are still here and hundreds of farmer groups in the Global South hang on, "Fair Trade” as envisioned 30 years ago, is no longer recognizable.

 

Corporate Control: Our food system is being controlled by large corporations

In the wider food system, corporations control everything from seeds to supply and prices, while relentlessly chipping away at the regulations that inform and protect consumers. They fight feverishly to prevent us from knowing if GMOs are present in our food. They continue to promote production methods that hasten the warming of the planet—a present-day threat to millions of small farmers and others around the world. And, corporations count on consumers remaining unorganized to maintain the status quo.   

 

Consumers Can Make a Huge Difference: We need active consumer involvement

We now know that we cannot possibly succeed in our goal to transform the food system without the active, deep and committed participation of citizen-consumers like you. An authentic Fair Trade system requires democratic organizing of producers in the South, worker democracy for businesses in the North, and active consumer involvement in the North. 

What Are We Building?

We are taking a powerful, new step in building a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the South to consumers in the North. We believe that in order to be successful in realizing the original Fair Trade vision, we need to deepen involvement and participation in our model. In doing this, we go back to the best that Alternative Trade has always been about: innovation, global solidarity, social imagining and learning, and economic justice. This will be a long, slow process and a great challenge. We need your buying support, your investing support, and your political support. 

Please join us in building this dream. We invite you to help us shape the Equal Exchange Action Forum. 

 

Here are some ways to get involved:

-Educate yourself. See resources on the food system, fair trade coffee, coffee producing in selected Latin American countries, sustainable farming, cooperatives, solidarity economy

-Join the Behind the Barcodes campaign

-Urge Congress to pass the Food Anti-Trust Review Act

-Become a member of the Food Action Forum

-Connect with like-minded folks at monthly Fair Trade Meet-Ups. See more at http://ohiofairtrade.com/

 

June 20, 2020: Mass Poor People's Assembly -digital conference
10am-4pm
online

https://www.facebook.com/OhioPPC/

Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March: the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history.

We Rise Together

to end racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and militarism!

 

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is claiming the third weekend in June, the time of the summer solstice. The unfolding emergency caused by COVID-19 will pose unprecedented challenges in the time ahead. During this critical moment, deepened by the failures of our elected leaders and the threat of economic collapse, a fusion movement must rise as light out of the dark.

The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20, we will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. The fact that there are 140 million poor and low-wealth people in a country this rich is morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent, and economically insane. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. We are building power for an agenda that lifts all people by challenging these interlocking injustices. On June 20, 2020 we will rise together as a powerful moral fusion movement to demand the implementation of our Moral Agenda. The 140 million poor and low-wealth people across this nation will be heard!

https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/

WHAT

  • The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will gather thousands to demonstrate the collective power of poor and low-wealth people. We demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.

 WHEN / WHERE

  • 10:00 AM on Saturday, June 20, 2020; online digital conference 

WHY

  • to dramatize the pain and prophetic leadership of the poor and dispossessed and build power to enact our demands.
  • to awaken the nation to the interlocking injustices facing 140 million poor and low-wealth people (43% of the nation) as illuminated by the current public health crisis
  • to unite and organize to impact the platforms of the 2020 presidential campaigns before the parties national conventions
  • If the rejected millions—the poor without health insurance, without living wages, without clean water, without voting protections—unite, we can move the moral and political imagination of this country and revive the heart of the nation!
  • But it’s not enough just to be awake. It’s not the waking, it’s the rising. On June 20, 2020, We Rise Together!

 WHO

  • The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is made up of people of all backgrounds. We are Black, Brown, White, Native, and Asian; we are old and young; we are Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim; we are people of faith and not of faith; we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; we are led by poor people and we are a cross-class movement; we are people of all abilities; and we live across this nation, from Alabama to Alaska, from Maine to California to Mississippi.

 HOW

  • We have launched a robust accessibility campaign to ensure those of us most affected by poverty and its interlocking injustices are able to participate fully on June 20, 2020
  • You can help us spread the word in your networks and social media.
  • Get connected to your state’s coordinating committee

 

LEARN MORE

 

REGISTER

 

INFO/QUESTIONS

July 8, 2020: Food Action Forum - Make Our Food System Fair!
7-8pm
Zoom meeting via internet

 

Wednesdays: May 13, June 10, July 8 – Please join us!

Wed., July 8, 7-8pm: info and free registration here

 

What is the Food Action Forum? (aka Citizen-Consumer Food Movement)

This invitation to join the Food Action Forum comes from Equal Exchange, an Alternative Trade Organization (ATO) and the first fair trade coffee company in the US, which is working to build a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the Global South to consumers in the Global North. IRTF in Cleveland first introduced NE Ohioans to Equal Exchange coffee in the mid-1990s. Several faith congregations began selling Equal Exchange as an act of solidarity and justice. Heinen’s became the first grocer chain to sell Equal Exchange in all its stores in the US. IRTF and Equal Exchange have been close partners and friends ever since.  

 

What is this monthly meeting?

Food Action Forum meetings (monthly) allow all of us to connect, build community, and have space to push our campaigns forward and engage in actions out there in your communities. In today’s overwhelmingly digital world we want to find ways to create meaningful and deep connections with this community, connections that are two-way, connections that are active, not passive. We look forward to connecting, join us!

We’re working across geography and time zones to build our ATO* and a more vital movement for food justice. We look forward to connecting with you. Join us!

For any questions, please reach out to eeactionforum@equalexchange.coop. --Frankie, Em, Danielle

 

*What are ATOs? Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) are at risk

Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 as an alternative trade organization (ATO) with the mission of connecting US consumers and small marginalized farmers from the global south from countries like Nicaragua, Peru, or India. Alternative trade organizations have foundational influence in the broader fair trade movement but have become isolated from even their most natural allies including coops, citizen movements, community economic organizations, unions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  This isolation has caused ATOs to not only be under grave threat for the future but at risk of not surviving the market in the next ten to fifteen years.

 

Fair-Washing: Fair Trade is being stripped of its original meaning

The Fair Trade idea may have won successes in the last 10 years, but those successes have been limited. And in the process of gaining recognition and support, control has been wrested from small farmers and turned into a marketing attribute at the service of northern companies; it has been commodified and stripped of all real meaning. While some northern ATOs are still here and hundreds of farmer groups in the Global South hang on, "Fair Trade” as envisioned 30 years ago, is no longer recognizable.

 

Corporate Control: Our food system is being controlled by large corporations

In the wider food system, corporations control everything from seeds to supply and prices, while relentlessly chipping away at the regulations that inform and protect consumers. They fight feverishly to prevent us from knowing if GMOs are present in our food. They continue to promote production methods that hasten the warming of the planet—a present-day threat to millions of small farmers and others around the world. And, corporations count on consumers remaining unorganized to maintain the status quo.   

 

Consumers Can Make a Huge Difference: We need active consumer involvement

We now know that we cannot possibly succeed in our goal to transform the food system without the active, deep and committed participation of citizen-consumers like you. An authentic Fair Trade system requires democratic organizing of producers in the South, worker democracy for businesses in the North, and active consumer involvement in the North. 

What Are We Building?

We are taking a powerful, new step in building a democratic brand that connects small farmers in the South to consumers in the North. We believe that in order to be successful in realizing the original Fair Trade vision, we need to deepen involvement and participation in our model. In doing this, we go back to the best that Alternative Trade has always been about: innovation, global solidarity, social imagining and learning, and economic justice. This will be a long, slow process and a great challenge. We need your buying support, your investing support, and your political support. 

Please join us in building this dream. We invite you to help us shape the Equal Exchange Action Forum. 

 

Here are some ways to get involved:

-Educate yourself. See resources on the food system, fair trade coffee, coffee producing in selected Latin American countries, sustainable farming, cooperatives, solidarity economy

-Join the Behind the Barcodes campaign

-Urge Congress to pass the Food Anti-Trust Review Act

-Become a member of the Food Action Forum

-Connect with like-minded folks at monthly Fair Trade Meet-Ups. See more at http://ohiofairtrade.com/