Meet Agnes Senesie

Agnes Senesie, cocoa farmerAgnes is a cocoa farmer from Mofindor in Sierra Leone. She inherited her cocoa farm from her husband when he died in the Sierra Leone civil war that lasted from 1991-2002. During the war, Agnes lived in Guinea with her siblings and her children.

Since returning to Sierra Leone, it’s been challenging for war widows like Agnes to find help doing the physical labor that farm work requires. Agnes often must pay for help with farm labor – in general, this makes farming more expensive for women than it is for men who do the labor themselves. She’s the breadwinner of her family and responsible for taking care of her elderly mother, as well as ensuring her children receive an education.

Tapping into Fairtrade

Since joining Fairtade, Agnes has received technical assistance including establishing a nursery for cocoa seedlings, organic fertilizer distribution and best practices training, as well as financial assistance for planting, farm renovations and tools. Agnes has also diversified her income by growing potatoes and vegetables during the off seasons. Agnes is the breadwinner for her family and runs the farm while her three children attend school. Her community supplies some of the cocoa that is used in Navitas Organics’ cacao products.

Agnes is one of over 440,000 farmers around the globe that grow cocoa following the Fairtrade Standards. We are inspired by her fortitude and perseverance and are proud to highlight her through a mural located at the Sevananda Natural Foods Market in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cans of paint used by Austin Muralist, J Muzacz
Muhammad Yungia in front of his mural of Agnes Senesie at Sevananda co-op

Muhammad Yungai

Muhammad Yungai is a self-taught artist who was introduced to painting in high school by acclaimed New Orleans artist Richard Thomas. After working for years as an art teacher, Muhammad began adding warmth and color to the school where he worked with small murals. As a result, other principals in the area began asking him to paint murals at their schools. Now you can step inside most of the acclaimed KIPP Charter schools in the Metro Atlanta area and see Muhammad’s murals. His vibrantly colored murals depicting inspirational and diverse images of people of color adorn the walls in the hallways, classrooms and lobbies.

Muhammad’s artistry at Sevananada is particularly special, as his mother previously worked at the co-op.

Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op

Sevananda logoSevananda Natural Foods Market located in Atlanta, Georgia in the Little Five Points area was founded in 1974 by a small group of like-minded people searching for a way to buy whole and organic foods in bulk. The name Sevananda means “the joy of service” and the team there is happy to serve the thousands of people who visit and shop. With over 4,500 active members, Sevananda Co-Op is a natural foods grocery store that is entirely vegan and vegetarian. Its mission is to empower the community to improve its health and wellbeing by offering food with integrity that is ethically and sustainably sourced.