Posts Tagged ‘guatemala’

Fair Trade

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

If you have ever seen the term “Fair Trade” on labels, you may have wondered what that meant.

fair trade






It isn’t about guns and Pomeranians.  It is actually a marvelous system of guaranteeing the buyer that the product they are buying is not harming life or the planet.  For example: In Papua New Guinea the farmers grow cocoa on land they own.  The cocoa was sold to middle-men that in turn sold it to chocolate makers who in turn sold it to us.  The farmers profits were miniscule in comparison to the middle man.   Logging Companies wanted to buy these lands from the farmers and since the farmers weren’t making much money growing cocoa they were willing to sell.  The Nature Conservancy came along and explained to the farmers that the sale would be a short lived income.  With Fair Trade certification their profits would be greater and last as long as they were willing to farm sustainably.    Keeping their lands to sell Fair Trade cocoa will provide income forever (or until we stop loving chocolate).

The farmers were granted the fair trade certification after a long (three years I think) and arduous process of sustainable growing and marketing education.  The middle man was removed so they had to find their own fair trade buyers.  You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find buyers for this wonderful cocoa; it helps to understand these farmers have limited sources of communication and funds for travel.  These photos might help explain.

Papua New Guinea - Tari Mountain kids send greetings beyond borders
Dancing villagers near the Karawari River, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Intro, photo, picture, image
The purchase of a fair trade product means paying a fair price to the producer, and creating lasting trade relationships that can guarantee the financing environmental development.  When you buy fair trade product you establish a more direct and concrete partnership with the producer.
So remember when you buy fair trade certified products you are participating in saving families, forests, and ways of life we can never enjoy.
If you think fair trade clothing is ugly hippy crap take a look at Colin Firth’s wife Livia in a gown designed by Jeff Garner who used fair trade Ahimsa Silk for the beautiful gown she wore to the Golden Globe awards.

Livia Firth, Colin Firth, Prophetik, Jeff Garner, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Golden Globes, eco-celebrities, green celebrities


So to summarize, fair trade and rain-forest alliance are providing decent wages for countries like India, Mexico, Guatemala and Ethiopia.  If you complain about immigration then buy fair trade products.  The immigrants will go home and grow stuff for us to buy rather than coming here and taking our jobs cleaning hotels and picking tomatoes.


leaving the chicken factory town

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

poultry workersCan you imagine living in rural America almost your entire life and then someone knocks on your door and tells you you have to go live in Guatemala.  My friend (I’ll call her Maria) and co-worker had that very thing happen to her.  She grew up in a small southern town after her mother came here from Guatemala to work in a chicken factory.  The chicken factory paid for her mother to come here with her two kids, Maria and her little brother.

Ok, so Maria grows up, goes to school, graduates and gets a job in a hospital while trying to put herself through nursing school.  She falls in love with the wrong man and has two children. (it happens)  Going to school is even more difficult, so she just concentrates on working to provide for her little ones and buys a house and a car and pays taxes on all of it.

Now, I think I need to add, that I had no idea that Maria wasn’t American, she looks American, talks American and puts ketchup on her french fries and ranch dressing on her salad.

The hospital loves her because she is able to wear many hats.  Nurses aide, unit secretary and pharmaceutical tech as well as Spanish language  interpreter.  When the hospital finds out that they are going to lose their beloved Maria, they write letters, and raise money and call Senators and Congressman.  None of this seems to help.  Lawyers have taken her money and the Senators and Congressmen say they can’t interfere with the deportation “process”.  The hospital has lost a wonderful employee and a wonderful, kind person.  I lost my Spanish teacher.

Maria told me she didn’t even know where Guatemala was and we looked it up on the internet.  I exclaimed, Guatemala is beautiful!  Why would you want to stay in a chicken factory town when you could live on the beach?  She said, “because this is my home, I’ve never been anywhere else.”  So many American kids would give anything to get out of their chicken factory towns.  But — would they really give anything? pier Antiqua

So I guess my idea is.  Why don’t we go to Guatemala and open hospitals and resorts  so Maria will want to live there  and she won’t even miss the chicken factory town.   Americans will be able to work in the chicken factory instead of Maria’s mother.  Maria will be working at a posh American resort in Guatemala on the beach and we can have our chicken factory jobs back.  Then everyone is happy right?

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