October: National Fair Trade Month

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

October is National Fair Trade Month! Throughout the month, The Kitchn will be exploring different Fair Trade products such as cocoa, honey, vanilla, and wine. To kick things off, we thought we’d take a look at the meaning of Fair Trade and Fair Trade Certified.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The Fair Trade movement strives to empower and offer better conditions to marginalized farmers and workers throughout the world. It is a partnership between producers, manufacturers, importers, and consumers. As described by TransFair USA, the principles of Fair Trade include:

Fair prices: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.

Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.

Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.

Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.

Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.

An international group called Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) certifies Fair Trade products by tracking them from farm to finished product and verifying compliance with standards set by producers, workers, traders, and other labor specialists. In the United States, FLO member TransFair USA monitors suppliers and manufacturers of coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, sugar, rice, vanilla, flowers, honey, and wine. Items that meet economic, social, and environmental standards may display the Fair Trade Certified label. Labels vary by country; the one shown here is used in the US.

For more information about Fair Trade Month and Fair Trade Certified, visit:

• TransFair USA’s Fair Trade Month site

And let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to know about Fair Trade products this month!

(Tea image: Kaare Viemose, Fair Trade Certified image: TransFair USA)