Sometimes it’s just nice to know where your food comes from, and that the people involved are treated fairly and paid a fair wage.
Our enthusiasm for Fair Trade Certified™ tea leaves and herbs goes back to 2003, when we made Peach Oo-La-Long the first Fair Trade Certified bottled tea, and now all of our teas are fair trade. We’re thrilled to incorporate organic, fair trade cane sugar into our new line of Summer Refreshers, available at Whole Foods Market. To learn more about the source of our fair trade sugar, our co-founder and TeaEO Seth recently traveled to Paraguay to meet farmers who grow organic and fair trade sugar cane. Check out a short video from his trip below; but first, here are 5 reasons we love organic, Fair Trade certified sugar and hope you do too.
1. The cane sugar we source in our Summer Refresher Beverages is both USDA organic and Fair Trade Certified. The fair trade means that when you purchase a lemonade, limeade or Half & Half Lemonade at Whole Foods Market, you are helping fund development projects in communities where fair trade sugar cane is grown. These programs include renovating local schools, increasing access to healthcare or boosting wages.
2. Most sugar farms in Paraguay are small and family-owned. As a result, sugar cane must be processed offsite and within 24 hours of harvesting. Thanks to fair trade premiums, farmers have purchased new equipment which facilitates the ease of transport and boosts overall quality. It has also united farmers, helping them negotiate prices and reach out to more buyers.
3. The C.O.R.A. co-operative we purchase sugar cane from chooses to “green cut” the sugar cane; the stalks are cut by hand, without spraying or burning. The leaves and tops of the sugar cane are left in the field as a nutrient source for soil as well as natural weed control.
4. To control pests, the farmers use natural techniques such as breeding tiny wasps to sting crop-damaging cane worms. The wasps kill the worms by planting their larvae in the worms.
5. Leftover cane (called bagasse) is used to fuel generators that power the mills and surrounding villages.
We hope that when you see “Fair Trade” on the label, you’ll understand there is a closer connection to the components of ecosystem and to the final product. Now that is a just a tad sweet story indeed!