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Fairtrade America Partners With Acclaimed Artists to Spotlight Farmers

October Fairtrade Month campaign features public art at grocery stores dedicated to sustainable sourcing
Fairtrade America Mariana Cobos Main Image
A mural of Ecuadorian banana farmer Mariana Cobos by artist Betsy Casañas, was installed at the Riverwards Produce Fishtown store, in Philadelphia, in honor of October Fairtrade Month.

Fairtrade America is launching its fourth annual celebration of October Fairtrade Month, this year with a new title: “We Are Fairtrade.” The campaign aims to highlight the role that everyone can play – brands, grocers and shoppers – in creating a more equitable world. Through three new murals at local grocery stores in Lawrence, Kan.; Philadelphia; and Providence, R.I., Fairtrade America will once more leverage public art to spotlight some of the people behind some such popular items as cocoa, coffee and bananas.

“This Fairtrade Month, we are inviting shoppers, retailers and brands to not only choose Fairtrade, but to also go deeper in learning about and celebrating their role in creating a food system built around justice for farmers and workers,” explained Amanda Archila, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Fairtrade America. “We must all stand with the people who grow our food to make fairer pay a reality.” 

[Read more: “How Fair Trade Makes the Supply Chain Safer”]

The farmers depicted in the murals represent the more than 2 million Fairtrade farmers and workers who grow and produce goods in accordance with stringent economic, social and environmental Fairtrade Standards. Fairtrade enables shoppers to easily identify products that align with their values. The Fairtrade Mark denotes that a product is certified with Fairtrade International, the most globally recognized ethical label, according to the organization. In the past five years, awareness of the Fairtrade Mark among U.S. consumers has more than doubled, with 61% of U.S. shoppers recognizing the label in 2023, trust in the label having increased 26% to 71% since 20211, Fairtrade America research found. Further, 92% of respondents to the organization’s survey expressed interest in learning more about the farmers who grow the ingredients in their favorite products.

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Fairtrade America Bengaly Bourama Main Image
Ivorian cocoa farmer Bengaly Bourama is the subject of an October Fairtrade Month mural by AGONZA ART at the Urban Green Co-op Market, in Providence, R.I.

This year’s mural subjects are Honduran coffee farmer Joselinda Manueles by artists Isaac Tapia and Rodrigo Alvarez, known collectively as IT-RA Icons, located at the Merc Co+Op, in Lawrence, Kan.; Ecuadorian banana farmer Mariana Cobos by artist Betsy Casañas, located at the Riverwards Produce Fishtown store, in Philadelphia; and Ivorian cocoa farmer Bengaly Bourama by AGONZA ART, located at the Urban Green Co-op Market, in Providence, R.I. 

Fairtrade’s local retail partners in all three locations share the organization’s commitment to fairer pricing, the environment, gender equality and better working conditions. Each store will hold events during October that will enable shoppers to try Fairtrade certified products and learn more about the mural, artist, farmer and Fairtrade.

“When you choose Fairtrade, you are actively choosing a better world – a world where farmers and workers have a seat at the table,” added Archila. “Together, we are part of a movement for change that makes a tangible impact. We are Fairtrade.”

Additionally, this year’s campaign marks the first time that Fairtrade America and Ottawa, Ontario-based Fairtrade Canada are teaming up to celebrate Fairtrade Month in both countries. The collaboration will include a free virtual event, “This is the Future of Farming – A Conversation with the Next Generation of Farmers,” hosted by environmental activist Leah Thomas and featuring candid conversations with three young Fairtrade farmers.

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