WELCOME to Mankato Fair Trade
WELCOME to Mankato - the first Fair Trade Town in Minnesota (declared October 24, 2011)! - and to the work of the Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative.
MAFTTI has, since June 2009, promoted Fair Trade in our part of the Minnesota River Valley, about 83 miles south-west of the Twin Cities. Our main focus has been on the major retail center of Mankato (40,000). MAFTTI also tries to engage those interested in Fair Trade in North Mankato (13,000) and St.Peter (11,000).
This note from Fair Trade International:
We are all connected, not just in our towns and cities but also across the world. Just as new viruses like COVID-19 crisscross the globe, so do supply chains. People are rightly concerned that the most vulnerable, those already living paycheck to paycheck, will be the first and hardest hit by this period of social isolation and economic slowdown. Small business owners and their employees, gig economy workers, and others with precarious employment are living on tight margins already. Small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in the global south struggle every year to earn enough to support their families.
In spite of what is a new reality for all of us, it is so encouraging to see how communities are coming together for mutual protection and support. We’ve been receiving updates from our partners and producer networks around the world, which underscores how this is truly an opportunity for us, as a society, to come together to support each other through this crisis.
Support can be demonstrated in many ways:
- Stay in touch! Video calls to check in on the physical and mental health of our friends, colleagues and family. If you’re working virtually, schedule regular video calls to maintain a sense of teamwork and celebrate progress.
- Socially responsible consumption: consider how you can support your local economy, as well as those who will be directly impacted, like producers in the global south. Make sustainable choices and buy fair: take only what you need for a couple of weeks and leave plenty for others.
- Respect and heed the advice of medical professionals. Rely on information about the virus from reputable global organizations like WHO or your government’s health ministry. If your local authorities say to stay home, stay home! It’s not only your life that’s at stake.
We urge everyone to take responsible steps to minimize the spread of this new virus, while continuing to support your local businesses and communities. And, if you have a choice, please shop for staples like Fairtrade certified coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar and wine as if we were all neighbours, because we are.
CHANGES TO EU ORGANIC RULES THREATEN FARMERS’ LIVELIHOODS
New European Union organic regulations, due to come into force in 2021, will limit the size of organizations, forcing small-scale farmers to restructure their cooperatives, and creating high costs when they are already struggling to make ends meet.
The new EU Organic Regulation includes rules for the certification of organic farmers in a cooperative or producer group. The proposed changes will limit such groups to 1000 members, and individual farm size to five hectares.
Being able to group together in larger cooperatives or associations enables small-scale farmers to reduce costs, make joint investments and, crucially, negotiate from a position that would otherwise be beyond their reach. The proposed changes would force Fairtrade and organic certified cooperatives to split into smaller groups, taking away their right to self-determination and increasing their costs and paperwork.
Fairtrade International CEO, Dario Soto Abril says: “The new organic regulation is completely at odds with the EU’s self-proclaimed commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and promoting sustainable production and consumption. It risks making organic certification too costly and complicated for small-scale farmers, shutting them out of European markets and the sales they need to feed their families.
Together with the international organic movement, Fairtrade and its member organizations are seeking urgent discussions with the Agriculture Ministries of EU Member States to find workable solutions for small-scale farmers and their families.