Friday, August 12, 2016, UMASS Amherst

By Elizabeth Henderson and Louis H. Battalen

The Northeast Gathering on Domestic Fair Trade, held during NOFA’s Summer Conference, was a great chance to renew networking from last summer’s Gathering and to engage in a multi-stakeholder assessment of current programs that aim to improve conditions for farmworkers.  Participants included farmers, farmworkers, advocates for both groups, not-for-profit and coop staffers, and academics studying the issues. The major focus of the meeting identified various certification and worker models and explored ways to strengthen the movement through collaboration and mutual support. An intensive go-around of introductions of attendees and their work, provided the space and time to engage full participation by all attendees and served as a preface to the presentations on the various certification and standards approaches and to domestic fair trade.

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Alyssa Bauer, Audi Gonzalez, Jess Culley, Gabriella della Croce, Martin Dagoberto, Diana Robinson, Gideon Burdick and David Arnold at the August 12 gathering

Following a warm welcoming greeting by NOFA Domestic Fair Trade Committee member Louis Battalen, Elizabeth Henderson, organic farmer and NOFA-NY Board member, gave context to the morning’s proceedings with her introductory remarks, suggesting that because it is still in its infancy, domestic fair trade in the Northeast is a history yet to be written.  The people who are working for change, she said, are “making the path as we go forward.” (The power point slides from this presentation are available upon request.) As an organic farmer who has been involved with organic certification for decades, Liz has observed that there is general agreement in this country and abroad on what organic certification covers but no such understanding exists for ‘fair trade.’ Continue reading “Northeast Gathering on Domestic Fair Trade”