In honor of October as Fair Trade Month, Fairtrade America is launching its third annual “Choose Fairtrade. Choose the world you want.” campaign to generate broader awareness of how a simple everyday action, like choosing a Fairtrade certified product, is a powerful way to prioritize the people who grow our food.
Fairtrade America and National Co+op Grocers (NCG) are closing the gap between American shoppers and the nearly two million Fairtrade farmers and workers around the world through new murals in three major U.S. cities – Atlanta, Milwaukee and Portland.
The murals will connect the stories of the people who produce the goods we enjoy every day, like cocoa and tea, to the positive impacts of Fairtrade.
Now in its third year, this campaign brought inspiring murals to Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville and Tacoma in previous years. Throughout October, consumers can participate in an online giveaway and learn more about Fairtrade at ChooseFairTrade.org.
To make the murals a reality, Fairtrade America partnered with notable mural artists and key retailers in three major metropolitan cities where mural art is already a prominent part of the culture. This year, all three murals will feature women farmers and raise awareness of several key areas of impact for Fairtrade, including promoting gender equality and building resilience to climate change.
According to Fairtrade America, this campaign is more important than ever as farmers face inflation, worsening climate change and lingering effects of COVID-19. Without intervention, studies show by 2050 as much as 50 percent of the global surface area currently used for coffee farming may no longer be available (see footnote one), many cocoa growing regions will become too hot to grow cocoa (footnote two) and adverse climate conditions will trigger a drastic decline in banana yields (footnote three).
“Now, more than ever, we must all do our part to prioritize a fairer deal for farmers,” said Kate Stritzinger, director of marketing and external relations for Fairtrade America. “With these stunning mural portraits of Fairtrade farmers, we hope to remind people across the U.S. that every trip to the grocery store is an extraordinary opportunity to choose the world you want. Business-leaders and shoppers alike have an incredible chance to choose a world where the people who grow the food we use and enjoy everyday, like cocoa, coffee and tea, get a fairer deal on their goods.”
An Alternative Approach
Fairtrade is an alternative approach to trade based on partnership instead of exploitation, a partnership between those who grow our food and we who consume it. The producers featured in the murals represent millions of farmers in the Fairtrade system who produce their goods following Fairtrade's rigorous economic, social and environmental Standards.Fairtrade's model includes a premium that farming organizations receive on top of the price of the product. Members vote to determine how the money is spent; typically investing in farm improvements or community programs such as increasing access to education or healthcare.
In 2020, Fairtrade farming communities earned more than $204 million in Fairtrade Premium in the top seven commodities alone.
One Mural Represents an Organic India Partner Farmer
One of the three murals a part of this month's Fairtrade campaign – of farmer Ranjana Maurya by Nova Czarnecki, located at the Outpost Natural Foods Bay View store in Milwaukee – is notable for the tea industry because it ties into Organic India and their Tulsi Holy Basil tea.
The artist, Czarnecki, felt a connection to Maurya’s story and hopes others are equally inspired by this mural to commit to making ethical shopping choices.
After growing up in Mumbai, Maurya returned to her ancestral Haripur village of Azmargh with her husband, Arjun who was a farmer. At the time, many grew wheat, rice, peas and gram through conventional farming methods – which can involve a lot of chemical pesticides. After Arjun was injured, Maurya had to take over her family’s agricultural activities, starting with 1.4 acres. She took up organic farming practices – growing Holy Basil (Tulsi) – and joined the Organic India Farmer Producer Company Limited.
Since then, Arjun and Maurya have had five children and have continued to deepen their organic farming techniques and diversified their business to include raising dairy cows and growing other crops like wheat and corn. By converting to organic practices, Maurya and her community earn a higher Fairtrade Minimum and also receive an added Fairtrade Premium, that they can invest in initiatives that are meaningful to their communities.
Tulsi Holy Basil, grown by Organic India's partnered farmers, is the base of Organic India teas and infusions, including varieties available at Outpost Natural Foods.
“Organic India represents a community dedicated to healthy, conscious living and true wellness solutions,” shared Ori Ornstein, vice president of sales for Organic India USA. “We are honored to partner with farmers like Ranjana to make Tulsi teas and Ayurvedic-based herbal supplements that are ethically grown using biodynamic, regenerative agriculture practices.”
Overall, nearly two million farmers and workers in 71 countries are members of 1,880 Fairtrade certified Producer Organizations. The murals in this year's “Choose Fairtrade. Choose the world you want.” campaign highlight two of Fairtrade's key areas of impact: increasing resilience to climate change and promoting gender equality.
“The women featured in our murals this year are facing even greater challenges as they navigate the effects of climate change, inflation and the lingering impacts of the COVID pandemic. It is essential that we make choices that will create an environment where farmers can thrive, not just survive. We hope these murals help connect people across the U.S. to the real people behind our food and provide motivation to choose the world we want,” urged Stritzinger.
Special Giveaway This Month
In addition to the murals, Fairtrade will offer a giveaway in October where three winners will receive a compelling prize package for showing their support of Fairtrade, including: one mural art print of the winners’ choosing from this year's murals, a Vitamix blender, a Fairtrade Yeti tumbler and a year's supply of products from Navitas Organics, Organic India and Tony's Chocolonely. Follow @fairtrademarkus on Instagram and visit ChooseFairTrade.org to learn more and participate in the giveaway.
Learn more at FairTradeAmerica.org.
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2. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2016), Climate and Chocolate, www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-chocolate.
3. Source: V Varma and DP Bebber (2019), Climate change impacts on banana yields around the world, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0559-9