Category: Fair Trade

Be Good, Do Good, Feel Good!

Most of us go grocery shopping at least once a week, and usually, as we wander through the aisles, we focus on nutrition labels and the ingredients of the products we pick up. Every once in a while, I am lucky to go to the store all by myself (yep, when you have kids even a trip to the grocery store alone seems like a mini- vacation). That’s when I do most of my research. I take my time reading labels and looking for new products to try.   I add new recipes to enhance my list of basic meals to get us through our many busy weeks!

But how often do we stop to think about how those products arrived on the shelves of our grocery stores? How many people did it take to get the products there?  How far did they have to travel?  For example, how many lives were impacted during the production of that single jar of honey or fresh coffee you can’t live without?

Injustice is an unfortunate certainty of our times.  The age of technology and industrialization has left this generation often disconnected from the behind- the- scenes realities of food production. Most of us know that honey comes from bees — and yes, not all know this basic fact — but only a few know how honey is harvested.  Few know where the bees collect their honey, or how many people it takes to bottle it.  In short, not many comprehend how the honey makes it from the hives into the neatly packaged bottles on grocery store shelves.

All people involved in the process are crucial in making sure we have a quality product to enjoy at our convenience, and for that, we are so very thankful. Likewise, we assume those involved in production are all being treated fairly and with ultimate equanimity.

I’m sorry to reveal that this simply isn’t always true.   Often, growers, small-scale farmers, international workers, and members of isolated communities endure unfair work conditions so that we can benefit from the goods they produce.

WFTD2014_POSTCARD_front-212x300And so, because of this, Fair Trade organizations have become a necessity.  Fair Trade organizations tell us that the word “fair” can mean many things to many people. Yes, it is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; prices paid to producers reflect the work they do; workers have the right to organize; national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced, and products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources. (Fair Trade Resource Website)

The study of nutrition has taught me so much about the human body, and it has also highlighted my personal sense of our collective connection to this Earth. We have a profound social responsibility to treat this Earth — and each other– with respect and kindness; therefore, when I have the choice of purchasing a product that bears the Fair Trade seal,  I consider this, a win-win situation. I know I’m getting the best product, and I can feel good about it!

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The next time you go grocery shopping, look for the Fair Trade seal: teach your kids about it, and feel good about giving importance to a practice that will ensure a better tomorrow, starting today.

May 10th was World Fair Trade Day, with worldwide events taking place during a full week of awareness celebration. To learn more about Fair Trade, visit the website: http://www.ftrn.org/ .

Once Again Nut Butters is the nut butter that “spreads integrity,” and is a major sponsor of WFTD this year!

… be good, do good, feel good!

Carolina

Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LDN

Want to help the cause? You can be involved and or donate here: http://store.fairtraderesourcenetwork.org/collections/donate

Once Again Provides Funds for a Vision-Saving Project

 Farm work is one of the most dangerous professions. Farming puts workers at risk of serious  illnesses and injuries, many of which can be prevented through education and information.  Farmworker Legal Services of New York, Inc. ( FLSNY) received a grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide outreach to farm workers and disseminate information and conduct training.  FLSNY first conducted a needs assessment so that the training would target the safety issues faced by the farm workers in Monroe and Livingston Counties.  What was learned during this process is that eye health and safety represent a severe risk for farm workers.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 90% of eye injuries and symptoms can be prevented by proper use of eye protection.  However, studies have shown that a very low percentage of farm workers use eye protection.

 

Farm Worker Legal Services of New York developed eye health and safety training to help farm workers recognize the risk and strategies to prevent eye injuries and health risks.  The farm workers participating in the trainings talked about their experiences and it was clear that every farm worker had experienced some eye injury or had witnessed a serious injury or illness.  When discussing prevention, they reported that even if they worked with caustic chemicals and pesticides they weren’t provided adequate protection.

 

It was then that FLSNY reached out to Once Again Nut Butter.  Once Again provided FLSNY with a donation that was used to purchase 120 pairs of glasses that had safety glass and provided 99% UV protection.  Each farm worker who participated in the training received the glasses.  In follow-up training they were asked if they were using the safety glasses and they said they were.   Successful training with appropriate safety equipment equals a vision-saving project!

 

National Honey Bee Awareness Day

Building a sustainable future, one flower at a time.

National Honey Bee Awareness Day was August 20th.  Once Again is a member of the National Honey Bee Day Association. The association works to educate the public on steps it can take to help the honey bee. They work cooperatively with the public, bee keepers, and other interested groups to protect honey bees and the environment. You can get more information online at: http://www.nationalhoneybeeday.net/helpthebees.html

 

Killer Bee Honey

 What is the first thing you think of when you hear someone say “killer bees”? Fear, dangerous, and scary may be some of the first words that come to mind. How about honey? Yes, killer bees make honey. In fact they were originally engineered to be honey producers. The intention was for these bees to be better honey producers than your everyday honey bee, but what resulted instead was a bee that was a better pollinator that actually produces less honey overall. But this doesn’t mean that killer bees can’t make some good honey. Once Again has beekeepers in South America collecting some unique honey that you must experience. Not just for the taste, but for the experience of telling your family and friends you are serving up killer bee honey!

The first thing you need to know about the Once Again Killer Bee Honey is that it has been certified as Fair Trade through IBD Social (a certification organization). These means the beekeepers are making a fair wage for their work. Their certification system also examines the environment and the social responsibility of the beekeepers.

Not only is this fair trade honey, it is also organic. For honey to be considered organic there can be no pesticides of any sort used within a 5 mile radius of the hives. Also no chemicals whatsoever are used on the bees.

Once Again offers two kinds of killer bee honey. Their original honey was gathered in Brazil. Their new Jubilee Bee Honey, comes from Nicaragua, which will be introduced this fall. Why bother with another source? Honey is much like wine. Grapes grown in different regions produce different flavor profiles, thus different wines. The flowers the bees use as a source to make their honey are going to vary from region to region. A honey made in Brazil won’t taste quite the same as one made in Nicaragua.

An interesting fact about how the Jubilee Bee honey is collected – the bee keeper, dressed in a traditional bee keeper suit, will always bring a buddy with him. Their buddy will sit in a running pickup truck, so that if the bees begin to swarm, the bee keeper can quickly get in the truck and take off. Killer bees are more aggressive when protecting their hives, which is how they got the name “killer”. Their stings aren’t necessarily more dangerous, it’s their aggressiveness.

So, for your next get-together why not have a honey tasting party? Have guests bring their favorite breads, maybe some cheese, and have some Once Again honey on hand. People will be amazed at the difference. Besides the killer bee honey, Once Again also sells Organic Fair Trade Rain Flower, and natural Clover, Wildflower honey.

Submitted by, Eric Samuelson, Author of Blog: Eat Like No One Else http://www.eatlikenoone.com

 

Domestic Fair Trade Association

Once Again is an active participant in the Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA).  The DFTA works together with organizations representing farmers, farm-workers, retail stores, manufacturers and the like, to engage in addressing justice issues surrounding food and consumer goods.  Specifically, the Domestic Fair Trade movement is working to address issues in rural communities supporting family-scale farming and farmer-led initiatives and co-ops.  The goal is to address sustainable agriculture in North America as well as protect human rights.  The DFTA has important goals relating to helping protect family-run farms from big agribusiness, protecting indigenous people’s rights and also marginalized people’s rights.   

 

Once Again Certified Domestic Fair

 Labor  Once Again was recently awarded Domestic Fair Labor Certification through the Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).  We underwent the Fair Labor Certification process for our Organic Tahini and in that process we were audited for Domestic Fair Labor Certification.  Fair labor differs from fair trade in that, often fair trade looks at the farmer specifically, without much consideration of the entire supply chain. In other words, fair labor looks at each step in the process of making a product and insures that each step is engaged in fair practices, such as the farmer, the processor, and the manufacturer.

Nicaragua, January 2011

Lloyd Kirwan, Linda Zangerle, Sandi Alexander and Esther Hinrich all traveled to Nicaragua this past   January to visit our new sesame seed processors and our friends at the Jubilee House.   Their only hiccup was their lost luggage. Traveling from  freezing –22 degrees  into 85 degree sunny weather meant our team arrived in Nicaragua wearing winter attire.   Donned in wool socks and long sleeve shirts,  our team visited the  medical clinic, established by  501c3 Jubilee House.  They were impressed with the work that the Jubilee House has been doing for the people of Nicaragua,   instead of giving them a hand-out, they are teaching them life skills so that they can support themselves and their families.  They were able to meet with the sesame  co-ops and negotiate fair seed prices.  We are working to get our Nicaragua sesame Tahini Certified as Fair Trade.

Back from Nicaragua

This past August, Lloyd Kirwan, Deb Willett and Scott Allen went to visit 501c3 charity, Jubilee House in Nicaragua.  This was a return visit from when we were there last January.  They met with our sesame growers and a couple of processing plants to determine who would be hulling our seeds this year.  We are hoping to bring in Nicaraguan sesame seed to make our Tahini in the near future. The vision is get our Tahini fair trade certified by the year 2011.
 
We have been working with the Jubilee House and what has now become 11 co-ops for more than a decade.  We started out planting 4 acres of test plots, today this project has grown into the sustainability of 2,000 sesame farmers. In fact, this year we will be donating a portion of our Tahini sales to the Jubilee House for their hard work.

Jubilee House Sewing Co-op

About 12 years ago, Once Again Nut Butter Founder, Jeremy Thaler arranged for the purchase of sewing machines to help kick start a sewing co-op in Nicaragua. Years later, another sewing co-op is being started and we are excited to tell you all about it.

The organization called, Jubilee House is located in Managua, Nicaragua. They are a group of humanitarians and missionaries living in an intentional community. With a passion for co-ops they started a women’s sewing cooperative. This group of 18 women and 4 men have been working on the construction of their sewing and spinning facility for the last 3 years. The sewing co-op workers have volunteered their time investing about 40 hours a week per person. The women have hand made the concrete bricks, poured the concrete floor and have even climbed up on the roof structure to fasten the metal roofing.

The ceiling was constructed by a contract company, however all the metal sheets were assembled by the women.

Of the 18 women in this co-op all but four are also single mothers. They spend spare time making tortillas or collecting fire wood and selling those items to support themselves and their children. Nearby Once Again Nut Butter resides a school supply manufacturer, Shapes, Etc., who generously donated about 150 pounds of school supplies to these women for their children so they would have the supplies they need for school.

Gael Orr, Branded SalesA Coordinator, passes out school supplies to delighted single moms.
Mike Woodard, Executive Director of Jubilee House described to, Lloyd, Bob and Gael how the women have constructed this building which will soon hold all the spinning equipment and sewing machines.

Fair Labor and Fair Trade

Once Again has always acted as a fair trade company paying world prices for commodities and caring for our small farms and bee keepers. As you know, we have spent a decade working with our partnering co-ops in Nicaragua, but it is time to make it official!

With our growing organic foods customer base, we realize our need to communicate our fair labor practices. Our customers want to know when they are buying organic products from us, they are also supporting good business practices.

In addition, we are excited to move forward with fair trade and labor certification of our honey products. Our domestic honey comes from small and rural bee keepers from some of the poorest counties in Upstate New York. Often when people think of New York, they immediately think of New York City and forget that New York is a whole lot bigger than “The City.” In fact, you may be surprised to learn that New York State enjoys the reputation of being one of America’s lead suppliers of food and agricultural products. Once Again is about 7 hours from Broadway! So, “Start spreading the news…” Once Again Nut Butter is on the edge of the Southern Tier. Our Once Again Dawes Hill brand supports a number of family bee keepers and hobby farmers.