In honor of October as Fair Trade Month, Fairtrade America has launched a national campaign to generate broader awareness for how a simple action, like purchasing a Fairtrade certified product, can be a powerful way to make a difference in the lives of the almost 2 million farmers and workers participating in Fairtrade across the globe. The ‘Choose Fairtrade: Choose the World You Want,’ campaign features murals in three major U.S. cities — Denver, Los Angeles and Nashville — that connect stories of the people who produce the things we count on every day, such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, tea and more, to the positive impacts of Fairtrade. The campaign also includes online giveaways and Fairtrade resources for consumers. When shoppers see the Fairtrade America label on a product, it means farmers were fairly compensated and in compliance with gender equality, fair wage, climate change and child labor standards.
Fairtrade America partnered with notable mural artists and key retailers in three major metropolitan cities where mural art is already a prominent part of the culture. Each mural features a real farmer’s image and a key benefit of choosing Fairtrade. While consumer awareness and purchase intent of Fairtrade products is increasing in the U.S., this campaign is intended to educate more Americans about the value of purchasing Fairtrade certified products.
“For generations, art has inspired conversation of issues and hope for change. Fairtrade America is proud to commission murals that celebrate the men and women who work hard to produce staple goods we enjoy,” said Peg Willingham, executive director, Fairtrade America. “We hope this campaign connects the dots between the choices we have as consumers to purchase Fairtrade certified products and the differences made in the lives of people who produce and grow our food, and our planet. Fairtrade envisions a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfill their potential and decide on their future.”
Fairtrade is an alternative approach to trade based on partnership instead of exploitation, a partnership between those who grow our food and we who consume it. The producers featured in murals represent millions of farmers in the Fairtrade system who receive fair compensation for their goods and assistance producing them in compliance with gender equality, climate change and child labor standards. Fairtrade’s unique model includes a Premium fund that farming cooperatives receive on top of the price of the product. Co-op members vote to determine how the money is spent, typically on community programs such as access to education or healthcare. In 2019, the Fairtrade Premium paid more than $208M to Fairtrade farming communities.
About the ‘Choose Fairtrade: Choose the World You Want’ Murals
Natividad Vallejos Mural, by Giovannie “Just” Dixon, located at the East Evans Avenue Kaladi Coffee Roasters, Denver
In Denver, Fairtrade America partnered with Kaladi Coffee Roasters, a coffee brand dedicated to sourcing the highest quality Fairtrade coffee beans from farmers who demonstrate sustainable growing practices and respect workers rights, to depict its mural. The local mural artist Giovannie “Just” Dixon, portrayed Natividad Vallejos, who has been a Fairtrade certified coffee farmer for 15 years. She and her fellow farmers have collectively invested in community projects, such as children’s libraries, schools, health and nutritional education, and programs that build self-esteem, human rights awareness, and literacy. Giovannie hopes the mural will help to raise the voices of women and elevate the importance of gender equality.
Segundo Alejandro Guerrero Mondragón Mural, by Levi Ponce, located at the Sunset Boulevard Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins, Los Angeles
Fairtrade America joined with Lassens, a local institution in Los Angeles known for high quality, ethically sourced food. Local mural artist Levi Ponce honored Fairtrade coffee farmer Alejandro Guerrero in the mural. Alejandro has been a Fairtrade farmer for 27 years and recognizes Fairtrade’s important role in maintaining a fair price for his coffee beans in critical times. The current price of coffee has been at a historically low level. In comparison, Fairtrade coffee offers a higher price when markets are low, allowing farmers to farm sustainably. Levi’s mural is intended to build a bridge between farmers and consumers, highlighting the connection to the workers who grow our food.
Rosine Bekoin Mural, by Tarabella Aversa, located at the Charlotte Avenue Turnip Truck, Nashville
The Nashville mural is located at Turnip Truck, Music City’s only full-service, locally owned natural foods grocer. Local mural artist Tarabella Aversa captured African farmer Rosine Bekoin’s strength as an independently employed woman. Rosine owns and operates the cocoa farm she inherited from her mother, an unusual circumstance in Côte d’Ivoire where men usually run farms. As secretary of her cooperative’s Women’s Society and a graduate of the Fairtrade Africa Women’s School of Leadership, Rosine believes women are central to eliminating poverty in communities.
Fairtrade’s local retail partners donated wall space for the murals because of a shared passion for ensuring producers are paid fairly for their crops, as well as the other socioeconomic and environmental benefits of Fairtrade. During Fair Trade Month, each store will offer special promotions on Fairtrade certified goods. The acclaimed mural artists commissioned to create the murals are all committed to cause-based art.
Fairtrade Areas of Impact
Farming is the single largest employer in the world — two out of every five people farm. Purchasing goods with the Fairtrade America logo is an easy way to make a difference in the lives of people who grow our food. The Choose Fairtrade: Choose the World You Want campaign highlights a couple of Fairtrade’s key areas of impact: fighting poverty and promoting gender equality. Fairtrade’s work also impacts ending child labor, combating climate change, and supporting workers’ rights.
- Fighting Poverty: The Los Angeles mural emphasizes Fairtrade’s commitment to fighting poverty. Many farmers and workers around the world live on less than $2 per day. Fairtrade breaks down the systems that trap producers in cycles of poverty. The Fairtrade Minimum Price acts as a safety net when prices fall below a sustainable level. Fairtrade producers also earn the additional Fairtrade Premium to reinvest in the organization or community initiatives.
- Gender Equality: The Denver and Nashville murals are themed around Fairtrade’s focus on promoting gender equality. An estimated 60-80% of the world’s food is produced by women, yet gender inequality remains prevalent in farming communities worldwide. Fairtrade America tackles unequal power relationships by strengthening women’s and girls’ human, social, financial and physical capital. Because the Fairtrade standards require all cooperative members to vote on how to use their Premium funds, female Fairtrade producers often have a greater voice in their communities.
In addition to the murals, Fairtrade will offer 20 giveaways in October. Follow @fairtrademarkus on Instagram and visit choosefairtrade.org to learn more and participate in Fairtrade certified product giveaways. The prize pack includes one mural art print of the winners’ choosing, a bag of Kaladi’s Peru Andes Gold coffee (sourced from Vallejos’ cooperative), a Fairtrade tote bag, and a gift card to spend at a local grocer. Winner selection is randomized.
“When consumers look for and choose to buy Fairtrade products, they are helping to empower farmers and workers, enabling them to strengthen their communities,” continued Willingham.