WASHINGTON, October 12, 2023 – Fairtrade America and Fairtrade Canada today announced plans to co-host a virtual event providing those who share a hope for a better world the opportunity to hear from next generation Fairtrade farmers. The event is timed with the first, joint October Fairtrade Month campaign, “We Are Fairtrade,” that calls attention to the role that we all play – from farmers to brands to grocers to shoppers- in creating a better world; a world where farmers and workers have an equal seat at the table and trade justice is achieved. As part of the month-long campaign, the event specifically aims to provide education and connection between people in the U.S. and Canada with next generation farmers taking agricultural stewardship into the future.
The free and open to the public virtual event, “This is the Future of Farming – A Conversation with the Next Generation of Farmers,” will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 12 p.m. EST, and will feature Fairtrade farmers from Ecuador, Ghana and Guatemala who are carrying the torch of farming into the future. As the farming demographic ages and younger generations seek alternative pursuits, these dynamic young farmers stand as advocates for the well-being of their peers, champions of equitable supply chains, mentors to the next generation of farmers and stewards of the environment. The conversation with farmers will be moderated by Leah Thomas, a celebrated community organizer and eco-communicator known by her followers as @GreenGirlLeah.
“Fairtrade recognizes the invaluable role played by farmers and workers in trade, and it is time their voices are elevated and more deeply respected,” shared Thomas. “I am honored to act as the moderator of this important conversation to help connect the dots between some of the products we enjoy every day and the people who dedicate their lives to not only bringing us those items, but also who hope to create a more sustainable and just approach to farming and trade.”
Meet the Fairtrade Ambassadors
Two of the producers participating in the event are part of Fairtrade’s Ambassador Program. Created in May 2022 to engage and support young individuals from all corners of the Fairtrade agriculture and labor sectors, the Ambassador Program creates space for the next generation of farmers to participate in discussions on global trade issues and advocate for policies that prioritize fairness and sustainability. The three featured Fairtrade Ambassadors include:
- Ana Beatriz Polo Aguilar; Banana Farmer, Ecuador. Ana Beatriz Polo Aguilar, a resident of Pasaje, El Oro, Ecuador, holds a degree in economics and maintains a role within the administrative sector. Her professional journey is deeply intertwined with her dedication to supporting her parents, small-scale banana producers in Ecuador. Polo Aguilar’s familial ties led her to the Association of Small Producers El Guabo, an organization whose mission is a powerful reflection of their collective identity, “We are small and medium-sized banana producers forming an organization that has allowed us to remain united and grow together.” Through the collaborative efforts of this association, small and medium-sized producers have gained access to dignified export opportunities, prioritizing the well-being of all stakeholders and consistently delivering the highest quality bananas to their valued clients and consumers of this exceptional fruit.
- Felix Tetteh; Cocoa Farmer, Ghana. Felix Tetteh, a 26-year-old cocoa farmer hailing from the Eastern Region of Ghana, is making significant strides in the world of agriculture. Managing a two-acre cocoa farm, Tetteh is also a dedicated student, pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science at the University of Ghana. Notably, he holds the position of vice president within the Youth Council of his cooperative, Asetenapa Cocoa Cooperative. Throughout his journey, Tetteh has played a pivotal role as a lead farmer within his cooperative, actively involved in training fellow farmers in agricultural practices and Fairtrade Standards. His commitment extends beyond the field, as he actively engages in lobbying and advocacy efforts to champion issues favoring cocoa producers. Additionally, Tetteh serves as a valued member of the constitutional committee within the Fair Trade Ghana Network, contributing to the ongoing amendment of the network’s constitution. As a Fairtrade Ambassador, Tetteh passionately advocates for pressing challenges faced by producers, including climate change, the high cost of production, insufficient living income and the critical issues of child and forced labor.
- Zuly Granados; Coffee Farmer, Guatemala. Zuly Granados is a fourth generation coffee farmer. She is a mother, and leader in her community in Guatemala. At 27-years-old, Granados is the president of the AWAL NAN “Work of Women” network, in which 600 women participate to defend their rights, find support, improve commercial conditions and visualize the importance of their work in agriculture. They have created their own coffee brand, “I’xkapeh”, which means “women’s coffee.” Granados is part of the Fairtrade certified organization ACODIHUE, which has integrated different organizations like the Women’s Network, has people from different ethnic backgrounds and identifies itself as a pluricultural and multilingual organization. Granados promotes food sovereignty for her family and communities through local and family production of food gardens. She has also promoted the decrease in the use of chemicals, and championed the use of organic fertilizers and bioproducts. She also promotes reforestation and has actively participated in the Fairtrade Tree Challenge.
Registration for the This is the Future of Farming – A Conversation with the Next Generation of Farmers event is now open, and U.S. and Canadian residents who register will automatically be entered to win “We Are Fairtrade” campaign prizes. The event aims to be inclusive of a global audience with content presented in English, French and Spanish, and will span various topics, including the impacts of climate change, the challenges posed by inflation and the future landscape of agriculture.
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