Tomorrow is World Fair Trade Day, so we wanted to highlight an international small business being supported by fair trade policies.
P6 founding member Equal Exchange launched the Grow Together program in 2014 to support Aprainores Co-op, a cooperative of small cashew farmers in El Salvador. Six participating retail co-ops, including P6 members Seward Co-op and Eastside Co-op, are matching Equal Exchange’s commitment to donate $0.50 per pound of cashews sold to support Aprainores. That $1 per pound is adding up! In 2014, the project raised $22,000 for the cooperative. This seed money allows the cooperative to make small loans to its members to support their growth.
This year, Aprainores was able to incorporate 15 new members from a surrounding area. We visited the group (they were part of another coop but decided to join Aprainores instead as their fair trade status and relationship with us creates better opportunities) along with the local mayor who was particularly excited about this relationship. They also were busy planting new cashew trees in anticipation of their “new found market” in the U.S.
Equal Exchange’s work is a great example of how we can support small businesses in other countries. The relationship-building and direct support that they offer is crucial to helping small businesses international to survive.