Celebrating Fairtrade farmers in Atlanta, Milwaukee and Portland – through art!
Fairtrade America is celebrating Fair Trade Month (October) by installing murals of farmers’ portraits around the country for the third year in a row. “Choose Fairtrade. Choose the world you want,” is a campaign to reconnect consumers with the people who grow and produce our food. This year, Fairtrade America has partnered with three co-ops in three cities. Those co-ops are Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee, WI, People’s Food Co-op in Portland, Oregon, and Sevananda Natural Foods Market in Atlanta, GA. Each mural is working with a local artist, Nova Czarnecki, Alex Chiu, and Muhammad Yungai, respectively. Each artist is painting the portrait of a Fairtrade farmer.
3 murals. 3 farmers. 3 cities.
Nova Czarnecki is painting the portrait of Ranjana Maurya, a Tulsi (Holy Basil) farmer from the Haripur village of Azmargh in India. Ranjana lives with her husband, Arjun, and their five children. In addition to Tulsi, they also grow wheat and corn and raise dairy cows.
Muhammad Yungai is painting the portrait of Agnes Senesie, a cocoa farmer from Mofindor in Sierra Leone. Agnes is the breadwinner for her mother and five children. She has diversified her crops to bolster her income and has applied technical assistance to farming innovations on her farm.
Alex Chiu is painting the portrait of Deborah Osei-Mensah, a cocoa farmer and Operations Manager with the Asunafo Cocoa Cooperative in Ghana. She is also in a Masters’ program studying the environment, water and sustainability.
I loved everything about the training because I realized [Fairtrade] was an organization that gives so much power to the farmers to decide.Deborah Osei-Mensah
Agnes, Deborah and Ranjana are the faces behind the food that we eat. For too long, consumers have been disconnected from the reality of the work that goes into putting the food on our grocery store shelves. These three women are a reminder of the work that goes into convenient access to chocolate, tea and many other goods we may take for granted.
Fairtrade America is proud to feature three women farmers this year. The standards we set in partnership with producers strive toward greater gender equity. Agnes, Deborah and Ranjana are reminders of the work that women bear in families and wider communities and how their contributions and ownership are integral to healthy societies.
Nova Czarnecki, Alex Chiu and Muhammad Yungai are all artists local to their cities. It is through their work and creativity that Fairtrade America is able to reconnect shoppers with farmers. Each artist has a history of contributions to their own community. You can find their work throughout Milwaukee, Portland and Atlanta, respectively.
Outpost Natural Foods, People’s Food Co-op, Sevananda Natural Foods Market, Organic India, Navitas Organics and Tony’s Chocolonely are all critical partners not only in this project, but in the fair trade movement. Supply chains can often be complex and span thousands of miles, passing through countless hands before ending in a shopping cart or on someone’s dining room table. These partners have taken a proactive approach in addressing the inequities that can occur due to this distance and complexity. Each partner has made a conscious decision to build values into the very foundation of their businesses. That, in turn, helps to rebalance trade.
The Choose Fairtrade. Choose the world you want. campaign spans Fair Trade Month, the entire month of October. Take some time this month to consider the people behind your food. Check out our product finder, and perhaps you’ll find an item that reconnects you with a farmer. Choose Fairtrade.
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