Why do you buy Fair Trade?

May 10th was World Fair Trade Day. Fair Trade is one of those categories important to us, right up there with Local, Non-GMO Verified and Organic. Below are some companies who are doing their best to tread lightly.

Equal Exchange

Following the Cooperative Model

“In 1986, Equal Exchange was founded to challenge the existing trade model, which favors large plantations, agri-business, and multi-national corporations; support small farmers; and connect consumers and producers through information, education, and the exchange of products in the marketplace. With our founding, we joined a growing movement of small farmers, alternative traders (ATOs), religious organizations, and non-profits throughout the world with like-minded principles and objectives. Underlying our work is the belief that only through organization, can small farmers survive and thrive. The cooperative model has been essential for building this model of change.”


Maggie’s Functional Organics

Supply Chain Transparency

Maggie’s Functional Organics puts a real focus on transparency throughout their supply chain. For every item that Maggie’s sells, you can look up where the cotton was grown and where the item was made, and to what Fair Trade standards. That kind of transparency is what makes good business, and what makes the Fair Trade label mean something.


Dr. Bronner’s Magical “All-One!”

Supporting Communities

“In 2006, Dr. Bronner’s committed to sourcing our major raw materials from certified Fair Trade and organic projects around the world that ensure fair prices, living wages and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families. Now, when you purchase Dr. Bronner’s products, you are supporting these more just and vibrant producer communities around the world.”

World Fair Trade Day! Saturday May 10th!

wftd_logo_withdateJoin us this May 10 as we celebrate World Fair Trade Day. When you choose a product from committed fair trade brands like Alaffia, Alter Eco, Canaan Fair Trade, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Equal Exchange, Farmer Direct Co-operative, Guayaki Yerba Mate and Maggie’s Organics, each fair trade product you choose supports:

  • Long-term direct trading relationships
  • Prompt payment of fair prices and wages
  • No child, forced or otherwise exploited labor
  • Workplace non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association
  • Safe working conditions and reasonable work hours
  • Investment in community development projects
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Traceability and transparency

Your purchase has power. Learn which of your favorite products are fair trade. Choose them with pride on World Fair Trade Day and throughout the year.

What is World Fair Trade Day

World Fair Trade Day is an annual global celebration occurring each May. Celebrations bring consumers and businesses, nonprofit organizations, churches, student groups, and advocates together to host thousands of events worldwide. This year, World Fair Trade Day is May 10.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is a social movement and market model that aims to empower small-scale farmers and workers in underdeveloped countries to create an alternative trading system that supports equitable trading, sustainable development and long-term trading relationships. Fair trade supports fair prices and wages for producers, safe working conditions, investment in community development projects, and the elimination of child labor, workplace discrimination and exploitation.


We will have a free raffle on Saturday, May 10th. You can win assorted Fair Trade items! Come on in to the Co-op!


Book of the Month!

kingsolverNEW! Check out our Book of the Month!

Did you know that we have a library of sustainable living resources? It’s right upstairs! And in honor of all the great books we have available we’re highlighting a new book each month, with a Book Club discussion for anyone interested.

April’s book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This is a great book for localvores, following one family’s attempt to eat local for a year. Chock full of recipes, anecdotes, and fun facts, you’ll love this book. And don’t forget to join us on April 25th at 5pm or April 28th at 11am to share your thoughts with others!

Update and Invitation from our Antioch Interns

At the First Friday event on April 4, the Antioch Team displayed several different designs for their GMO grading system that will soon be implemented at the Co-op. This Grading system will be in the Grocery Department with some of its products being evaluated and receive an A, B, or C based on their potential presence or absence of GMO ingredients. Customers who stopped by at the table at this month’s First Friday event were asked to choose their top two favorite designs along with their least favorite design. The customers were also asked to provide any additional feedback on the designs, so that the Antioch Team could use the most clear and appropriate design for their GMO grading system at the Co-op.


Overall, customers preferred the designs that were most clear and obvious as to what grade was being selected, meaning those that had letters with size differentiation and a bold font. Also grades that were circled or had bold borders were favored over the others. The color of the background and the color of the letters were also evaluated and most customers selected the design with pastel colors as their favorite. It was also suggested that bright and appealing colors would be the most understandable for the design.

This event was a huge success and helped the Antioch Team understand what customers and employees at the Co-op thought about the designs. This feedback will be factored into the final design of the GMO grading system and soon customers will get to see the results in the store! The purpose of this grading system is to serve the members of the Co-op and help them make more informed choices with regard to GMOs when shopping at the Co-op.

The launch of the GMO grading system will be held at the Co-op from 5:30pm-7:00pm on Earth Day, April 22. Please come to learn more and ask any questions!

The Latest Newsletter is Available In-store & Online!

As you may already know, the current theme is Grafting: Making and Keeping Connections. The newsletter is available in the archive on this website or if you prefer you can pick up a printed copy in-store. Below you will find an article from long-time member Luise Graf. She has a background in and earns a livelihood by growing and caring for plants.
The May/June theme at the Co-op is Cultivation: Nurturing Sustainable Growth. Tune in to find out what your Co-op Community is doing to think ahead and plan conscientiously. If you have a story to tell please send submissions to Chris@uppervalleyfood.coop. Thanks.

Definition: Grafting – to cause (a scion) to unite with a stock; to propagate a plant (by grafting)

Grafting fruit trees is one of my favorite early spring jobs.  The days are longer, the sun stronger, and the urge to plant is great.  It satisfies that urge on a warm spring day either outside or in the greenhouse.  Fruit trees have been grafted for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  This can also be done on shrubs and on greenhouse tomato plants.

Grafting involves taking a piece of scion wood and attaching it to a rootstock.  The scion is a short piece of pencil-sized new growth from a tree with qualities you wish to propagate.  It is then grafted (attached), by any of several ways, to a rootstock, matching up both sides if the two are the same size.  If this is not the case, then both pieces must align the cambium layers on one side to allow for the flow of nutrients.  It is then taped or waxed to hold both pieces together.  This graft can be done on purchased rootstock, which is then planted, or on rootstock already in the ground, or on branches of trees where you want more than one variety.

The waiting period comes next.  As spring progresses, the sap rises from the roots which start to grow and buds from the rootstock will start to send up new branches.  Soon after this happens, perhaps June or July, you may start seeing growth from the grafted piece.  Some years there is a good percentage that “take”.  It is always exciting to know that you have created new life.  Other years, because of weather conditions – late frosts, heavy rains, or poor techniques -­­­- the scion dies.  This is a disappointment but part of the cycle.  The one redeeming feature is that the rootstock can be grafted again the following year.

For three seasons of the year, my life is totally immersed in soil and the plants I tend, and I’ve come to see grafting as a form of birthing.  The egg and sperm unite to grow into a baby.  There is that time of gestation, birth, baby, adolescent, adult (creating new generations), ripening to old age, and recycling.  In the plant there is the union of pollen and ovule to form a seed.  The dormant seed swells with moisture and warmth, bursts out of the ground as a newborn, becomes a seedling, matures to adulthood, flowers, produces fruit that contains the seeds to start the cycle over again, grows old, and recycles itself.

Like the tree that grows in a difficult spot, so we too are challenged in our life cycle.  Some do better than others, and some don’t make it.  Like the grafted tree we are a union of two parts, producing offspring to continue the cycle through the ebb and flow of seasons and the spiral of life.

Luise Graf

© 2014 Upper Valley Food Cooperative