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The Rainbow Road: Thoughts on Life, Health, and Good Food

In this weekly blog, we explore health, food, and other topics related to the pursuit of a healthier, happier and more sustainable future.  Your comments and feedback on any of our posts are appreciated and highly encouraged. 


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May is Fairtrade Month

May 19, 2017

Today’s global-minded citizen often looks for products that are sustainable and fairttrade. But what does that really mean? May is Fair Trade Month so let’s take a look at what the real deal is with fair trade.


What Does Fairtrade Certified Mean? 

Fairtrade is a global organization that works to help farmers and other agriculture producers around the world. In many cases, foods and products we find in the grocery store are made or grown in developing countries. This organization helps improve working and living conditions in these areas by making sure farmers receive a stable income for their produce. 


Why is Fairtrade Needed?

Take coffee farmers, for example. Coffee farmers produce coffee beans in developing countries where they are paid very little for their beans. This is because they have little influence over the price of the beans. Other contributing factors include unstable growing seasons caused by climate change and a shaky economic market. All of these factors cause coffee farmers to live in poverty, not being able to support their families and get a fair deal in their business. 


How Does it Work?

Fairtrade farmers are part of a democratic co-operative. This is helpful because it gives farmers more negotiating power and helps them work together and learn from each other. Fairtrade farmers also have access to credit and set an important minimum price for their product, which is the minimum price that they will accept for the goods. 

Fairtrade farmers also receive a Fairtrade Premium, which can be used however they wish. Whether it’s investing in community-building features or spending the money to improve their operations, the Fairtrade Premium helps more than just the farmers. 


What are the Benefits? 

The stable income created by Fairtrade is good for everyone. It helps families and communities thrive while also preventing exploitative child labour practices. There are also environmental benefits since natural habitats are preserved, water is used efficiently, and the use of GMO products is forbidden. This means that consumers can shop Fairtrade products with confidence, knowing they are being produced ethically and sustainably. 


What Does the Future Hold? 

With more consumers becoming more globally conscious, the demand for Fairtrade products is sure to rise. Coffee is certainly the most famous example of a Fairtrade product, but today’s consumer can also get Fair trade bananas, chocolate, fruits and nuts, fruit juices, and, even, wine. 


As demand increases, more retailers and third-party companies will also start to incorporate more Fairtrade products into their businesses, which is a positive change for everyone. 

In late 2016, Rainbow Foods became Ontario’s first Fair Trade Workplace, a designation we are proud to hold since the Fair Trade goals and core values line up with our own. Ask our team about Fairtrade today and find out how you can get involved!

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