Fair Trade Goes Domestic
Many people today are familiar with International Fair Trade, as it applies to the importing of items such as coffee, tea and cocoa. However, as the movement has grown, it has become apparent that many of the challenges facing producers in developing countries are also shared by North America’s family farmers. Big agribusiness continues to thrive, while small farmers have gone out of business. Consumers pay more, while farmers receive less. Meanwhile, farm workers are often denied fair wages and basic rights.
So, a group of Canadian farmers, convinced that organics had been co-opted by large corporate-style interests and that cheap organic grain imports were undercutting their homegrown organic production, have given birth to Domestic Fair Trade certification. To aid organic food shoppers, they have developed the fairDeal food label. It will most likely show up in the organic bins of local food co-ops. Initial products include flax, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, lentils, hemp seeds and mustard.
Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA) members include farm workers and their organizations; farmers and farmer groups; retailers; non-governmental organizations; marketers; and processors and manufacturers. Qualifying standards commit members to the principles of Domestic Fair Trade and continual improvement of their day-to-day practices.
For more information, visit thedfta.org.