What Is Fair Trade

Fair Trade is an economic strategy for reducing poverty in developing nations. It is a form of trade that builds equitable and long-term partnerships between producers in developing regions of the world and consumers in wealthier nations.

Of course trade should always be equitable but unfortunately that is just not the case. In the Fair Trade system, which tries to correct these inequities, the process is regulated by certification agencies or Direct Fair Trade which is based on agreements between buyers and farmers. There are also many agencies and they have different rules about what constitutes Fair Trade. These agencies regulate themselves without government oversight.

Fair trade has a long history, dating back to the sixteenth century. The movement owes much to faith-based movements that were fighting slavery, colonialism and poverty. Modern fair trade began in 1988 and its origins are in an economic crisis in which the coffee market collapsed. Coffee farmers seeking a decent price for thier crops entered into agreements with organizations that assured a floor price for coffee.

Product Review

Palestinian Fair Trade Olive Oil and Za'Atar. Bread is first dipped in the olive oil and then in the Za'Atar which is a blend of thyme, toasted sesame seeds, sumac and sea salt.

Purchased at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco.

The first taste of the olive oil you'll notice is bitter but that fades quickly and a buttery flavor come through on the finish. The Za-Atar would probably have been better paired with a mellower olive oil because it is bitter as well but combined with the nuttiness of the sesame seeds and the salt it was an interesting experience, an insight into the food of another culture.