On Tuesday we traveled to the Boaco region to visit a family coffee farm that is part of the Tierra Nueva co-op group. Co-ops give small farmers a way to join together to help each other stay in business and compete with large corporations. Co-ops can help the farmers secure the distribution to get their products to market. They also reinvest profits back into their own communities. After some bumpy rides and a few hours we made it to the farm. Dana, the executive director of Fair World Project (the group that brought us here), and Ryan (who runs a public relations company) filmed some interviews with the president of the co-op and the manager of the farm we were visiting. They will use the footage to help educate consumers about Fair Trade.
Part of what we are learning is that, unfortunately, many large companies have taken on fair trade certification as a way to get us to buy their products (just like organic), without practicing the true principles of fair trade. These principles include keeping farms small-scale, producing organically, and local reinvestment of profits. Tierra Nueva sells a lot of its coffee to Equal Exchange, so they are an excellent brand to support!