At Equal Exchange, we believe that “Fair Trade” means “small farmer,” and our relationships with tea growers reflect that. Our tea comes from democratically organized small farmer groups, not plantations or estates. We work directly with farmer groups to pay them a fair price for their tea, offer affordable credit and solve problems collaboratively. The traditional tea market favors large plantations and their wealthy owners, and puts workers in poverty, without agency and with little hope for their futures. Check out this infographic to see how our alternative model is better for farmers – and how the typical tea market (including the Fair Trade tea market!) is hurting them.
Adapted from Epicurious
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Take a journey through the Equal Exchange Coffee Roasting process and learn what goes into making your morning brew.
Last year, new federal rules on school fundraisers and snacks went into effect nationwide. These guidelines regulate the food available to kids throughout the school day, from the cafeteria to the vending machines. This includes – you guessed it – food fundraisers like bake sales and candy bar sales.
The goal is to curb the amount of sugar or unhealthy foods that kids may be consuming at school without their parents’ knowledge, which is something most parents can get behind!
Still, the new rules have left some groups at a loss for fundraising tactics. After all, bake sales and candy bar sales have been a reliable way to raise money for years. But this is actually a great opportunity to reexamine our school fundraisers in general, from the nutrition, to the quality, to the sourcing of the products we sell.
Let’s face it: the conventional candy bars we used to love are poor quality, and filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives. Worse, many conventional chocolate products are part of a problematic supply chain that includes forced child labor on cacao plantations in West Africa. When I stop to think about that one, I have to ask: shouldn’t there be federal school rules that ban any products made by exploited children?
It will probably take some time for regulation to catch up with those standards, but in the meantime, you can set a high bar for your school and your community by choosing organic, fairly traded products for your next school fundraiser. Equal Exchange’s catalog fundraiser contains real, organic, delicious chocolates made with high quality ingredients. My favorite, the Panama Extra Dark, contains a total of four ingredients (and I recognize them!): organic chocolate liquor, organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa butter and organic ground vanilla beans. It’s that simple.
The best part about it? Each ingredient was ethically sourced from small-scale farmer co-ops, grown by adults who were paid a fair price for their crop and who are able to improve their communities through Fair Trade premiums. That means that their kids can go to school, too – not to work on a cacao plantation.
Don’t worry – an Equal Exchange fundraiser does fit in to the new federal rules. Food fundraisers are allowed as long as the food is “not intended to be consumed in school.” Because our products are ordered from a catalog by adults, kids aren’t selling candy to other kids who are hungry for a school snack. It’s safe to say our chocolates are “not intended to be consumed in school” – that is, unless you’re a teacher who orders a box of Organic Chocolate Minis for your desk drawer!
Organic chocolate bars are just the beginning of our fundraising selection. Our catalog is also filled with organic, Fair Trade coffees, teas, cocoas, nutritious snacks and even handmade artisan crafts! Let’s embrace these new federal school fundraising rules and try something that is healthier, tastier, better for the planet and better for our kids.
Learn More about Equal Exchange School Fundraising
How many families participated in your last catalog fundraiser? If you’re like most communities, participation probably ranged from 20-50%. It’s disappointing when you work hard to run a school fundraiser and don’t see the support you expected. Sometimes this happens because parents get sidetracked or feel too busy, and sometimes the catalog simply never makes it out of their child’s backpack!
That’s why Back-to-School Night is the perfect time to kick off your school fundraiser. With parents, teachers and students all gathered together and excited for the coming year, you can make an impression and generate enthusiasm for the fundraising weeks ahead.
1. Prepare your pitch. Be ready to tell folks what you’re raising money for, why it’s important to the kids and the community and how much you’re hoping to raise. Envisioning the goal helps people feel motivated and committed.
2. Display products. Order a few of our products and arrange them on a table to give parents a chance to see and hold the items in the catalog.
3. Offer samples. Break up a few chocolate bars and brew some coffee, tea and cocoa to give parents a delicious taste of what’s to come in the fundraiser. You can order Equal Exchange-branded cups online or by calling Customer Service at 774-776-7366.
4. Make something yummy. Bake cookies or other treats with Equal Exchange ingredients to show their versatility (and deliciousness)!
5. Start selling. Offer packaged coffees and chocolate bars at your table to get some products into the hands and homes of parents and teachers. It’ll help get folks talking about how great the products are and will get them excited to order more!
6. Distribute catalogs. Make sure parents have a catalog! Keep a stack on hand in case they want to bring one to the office or share with a friend. (This is a great opportunity to encourage folks to share your school fundraiser with your wider community, too.)
These are just a few of the ways you can get people excited about your school fundraiser – try them all, choose a few or get creative in your own way. Good luck!
Adapted from Inspired Taste