Collaborative Excellence and Accountability
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We're enjoying the summer in the Northeast, although it has definitely been on the wet side. Despite the heat and the humidity, we have focused on improving our community project procedures, and we'll be issuing an updated guidance document on community development very soon. At the same time, we are also working on improving our support system.

We would like to remind our Certified Producers to provide us with annual progress reports on your community development projects. Informing consumers and members in the supply chain about the activities not only improves credibility, it also helps us promote your business through newsletters and other social media.

For the FairTSA team
Winfried Fuchshofen

Community Development at CEDAC

We were glad to hear about the updates for the Community Development projects at the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in AgricultureCEDAC, a non-profit organization which supports several FairTSA Fair Trade certified Cambodian rice farming cooperatives. Their work educating farmers and implementing community infrastructure projects funded by FairTSA Fair Trade sales is admirable, and it's a joy to see their project's impact grow year to year. 

The Cambodia Organic Rice Producer Association with CEDAC organized general meetings in August 2016 and January 2017 to further the Community Development plan. The meetings took place at the central organic rice mill cooperative, a previous Community Development construction project. The topics included improvements to the cooperative's organic rice production system, and investments into the central organic mill cooperative. In the second meeting, a democratically selected group of rice farmers presented on the current investment and projects at the rice mill, and prepared the new Community Development Plan for year 2017. This meeting also elected new committee members.
Some great decisions were reached during these meetings. First, it was agreed that the purchasing of a forklift was a priority to aid worker's labor. They also decided that installing a water pump at the community pond to harvest rainwater for the whole community would be very helpful. Lastly, the construction of a worker house at the central rice mill was also agreed upon. Reinforcing and expanding the support and education of their farmers in organic agriculture has always been a priority for CEDAC, and this year it is exciting to hear they are reaching out to assist promising young farmers in developing their commercial organic farm enterprises. Through intergenerational education, farmers young and old are brought together in strength through community. CEDAC's support in the development of self-reliant villages through the integration of responsible, organic rice practices and through networks of these villages not only backs more gainful harvests but a more sustainable, connected network.
We are once again delighted and impressed with the recent community development projects with CEDAC, seeing firsthand the benefits to the people in the local community, and of the FairTSA system.
Congrats SoloCoco!

SoloCoco recently competed in Chivas Regal's "Ventures" competition socially conscious enterprises. In the "Second Phase" 30 finalists were each allocated a share of the $250,000 pot based on Facebook voting. We are proud to announce that SoloCoco finished in 3rd place, earning them over $17,000!!! This is a great recognition of their work and the money will contribute to their supporting single mothers in the Dominican Republic, a group which comprises the majority of their workforce. 

We look forward to seeing how their co-founder, Daniel Dalet, fares in the final phase where he will present a business pitch in front of a live audience to win the remaining $750,000 prize.  

Check out the inspiring 90 second video about SoloCoco!

Update on Biotropic SRL / Finca Villa Lobo

As you may remember, we reported in our December edition about Finca Villa Lobo, an organic banana plantation in the Dominican Republic, that was hit by weeklong heavy rainfalls in November 2016. The plantation, located in the northern province of Valverde, was flooded by the Yaque del Norte River and more than 50% of the banana plants were lost. We are now happy to report that the bananas have been completely replanted, though it's still more than half a year away from the first harvest. What is more,  Biotropic, was able to retain more than half of their work force, and the workers they had to let go of, where supported by food vouchers financed through the FairTSA social premium. Now Biotropic is in a position to slowly hire back its workers and Finca Villa Lobo should be back in full production in early spring of 2018!
New Licensees
Valor Spirits, Inc., Cedar Park, Texas, USA is a veteran owned brand of premium agave products that are made using the best raw material from the blue weber agave plant, and handcrafted from the highlands of Jiquilpan Michoacan in Mexico. Rich in flavor, their organic agave can be used in moderation, compared to other sweeteners, for delicious recipes from drinks to baked goods. Valor agave nectar is also vegan, kosher, non-GMO and gluten free. A  portion of product sales will directly support veteran charities.
BONABIO S.A.S (formerly Jules Brochenin), located in Chevilly Larue, France, have been a team of pioneers in organic fair trade fruits, oils and seeds in Europe since 1980. They import primarily from Latin America and Western Africa. The seeds are kept in silos, then analyzed in order to check their conformity with organic and food quality standards. Their Fair Trade Certified Chia Seed is high in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, calcium, minerals and vegetable proteins.