When Equal Exchange was established in 1986, its founders knew they were embarking on transformational change to connect the public and food producers. They shouted, "¡Adelante!" (rough Spanish translation "No turning back!").
Equal Exchange is not only a social change organization that helps farmers and their families gain control over their economic futures. It is also a worker-owned cooperative (over 100 worker-owners strong!) and an educational resource about fair trade and other issues affecting farmers.
Win Win Solutions: An Introduction to Fair Trade and Cooperative Economics
Win Win Solutions offers a comprehensive curriculum that will give grades 4-9 students the basics of contemporary fair trade education.
Composed of four units with lesson flexibility, Win Win Solutions will help your students understand essential issues of food production and trade, and establish a connection between their personal choices and actions to help create a more just and sustainable world.
Here are two sample units:
Unit Two: Understanding Fair Trade
Through fair trade education, students can become more familiar with the lives of farmers, and the challenges they face to bring their harvest to our kitchens.
EXPLORE Understanding Fair Trade
Unit Three: Understanding Cooperatives
Farmers, workers, consumers, service providers, and small businesses form cooperatives to meet their members’ needs. Cooperatives help create an economy that spreads benefits across the communities they serve. They also build community.
EXPLORE Understanding Cooperatives
To download the entire Win Win curriculum, click here
Babson College-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum for Graduate Schools
Through a grant from Equal Exchange, Professor John Whitman (formerly with Babson College, now at Georgetown University), created the Babson-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum for Graduate Students. Like Win Win Solutions, this curriculum aims to raise awareness and understanding of cooperatives, but is enhanced to reach higher education students from any field.
Professor Whitman sees this “wiki-style” curriculum as a dynamic collective work in progress. Whitman built the course and its objectives from the insights and advice of leading experts and practitioners in the cooperative field. Its Creative Commons license allows educators to use and modify the curriculum for noncommercial purposes.
EXPLORE Babson-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum
Go Bananas! with Beyond the Peel Infographic
Equal Exchange is known for its Fair Trade chocolate, coffee, and tea. Now they’re offering bananas from cooperatives in Peru and Ecuador. This infographic shows the positive impact buying Equal Exchange bananas has for small-scale farmers.
EXPLORE Beyond the Peel Infographic
To learn more about banana farmers, visit Beyond the Peel
Fair Trade Resources
Fair trade is becoming a more recognizable term to the average consumer. But what does fair trade really mean, and how is it practiced?
Here are some resources that give you Equal Exchange’s take on this democratic food movement.
Does fair trade coffee cost more? What is the impact of fair trade on farmers? This FAQ will answer these questions and more.
- Equal Exchange and Fair Trade
Fair trade is not immune from controversy. Read Equal Exchange's perspective on the essentials of fair trade, and why it's currently being threatened.
- A Question of Fairness (NY Times, 11/24/2011
Will bringing large plantations into the fair trade arena enhance or destroy the definition of fair trade?
Like what you see? Here’s more from Equal Exchange:
- What is a Worker-Owned Cooperative?
Learn about worker-owner rights and the principles behind a worker-owned cooperative..
- Fair Trade Chocolate Power Point
Designed for younger students, this PowerPoint brings awareness to where chocolate comes from and how fair trade can help create a better world.
- Resources on Food System, Fair Trade & Coffee, Sustainable Farming, Cooperatives
Here's a treasure trove of current articles, documentaries, websites, and other resources that will help your students be more educated about our food system and the food they consume.
Equal Exchange is committed to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound; to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers; and to demonstrate, through its success, the contribution of worker cooperatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.