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This Holiday Season, Fight Global Poverty at the Dinner Table

As the holidays approach, many people’s thoughts turn to opportunities to donate to those in need. Those who wish to fight global poverty over the holidays can do so by cooking dinner with ingredients certified by Fair Trade USA.

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that acts as a third party between consumers and international suppliers. It uses “a market-based approach that gives farmers fair prices, workers safe conditions and entire communities resources for fair, healthy and sustainable lives,” according to the group’s website.

Fair Trade USA began in 1998 under the leadership of founder Paul Rice, and now operates in 80 countries across the globe.

When consumers buy Fair Trade USA-certified products, the proceeds aid the organization’s campaign to promote equality, dignity and self-sufficiency among farming communities that are mired in poverty.

According to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the solution to poverty and hunger around the world is not plowing more land and increasing crop production, but farming smarter.

In 2009, Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR, suggested reducing agriculture-based poverty by developing methods to achieve greater crop output from existing land and delivering this research to farmers in developing countries.

Fair Trade USA exemplifies Rijsberman’s advice, as it helps farmers generate their crops as efficiently as possible. Imports from developing countries are targets of exploitation because the producers lack the resources and knowledge to barter fair trade.

Fair Trade USA monitors the business transactions of farmers and their consumer clients to ensure the farmers aren’t disadvantaged.

When farmers receive fair prices for their crops, they have the means to improve their livelihood, send their children to school and afford medicine.

More than 570 million farms exist in the world, with 90 percent relying on family labor, so relieving agriculture-based poverty helps children get their education and significantly reduces poverty across the globe.

In addition to its poverty-reduction tactics, Fair Trade USA’s website offers a multitude of recipes involving its certified ingredients. Every turkey, cheesecake and bowl of sorbet helps fight global poverty by enabling a family to put food on its table.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Fair Trade USA, Global Agriculture, VOA News, WDRB, WSJ
Photo: Wheatsville Co-op