Collaborative Excellence and Accountability

February 2017

FairTSA is Attending Biofach & Natural Products Expo West 2017

If you wish to make an appointment for Biofach, please email Winfried Fuchshofen at wfuchshofen@fairtsa.org

For an appointment at Expo West please email Jake@fairtsp.com

We hope to see you there!

How FairTSA Supports Producers

Dear Producers,

The longer we work with small and medium-sized producers, the better we understand their needs. Preparing for Fair Trade Inspections and even remaining in compliance is often no small task. This is primarily a problem of information and knowledge - being knowledgeable about, complying with and properly documenting all Fair Trade requirements, including those that concern workers' contracts, appropriate minimum wages, and occupational health and safety. 

While big producers and processors can handle additional social and Fair Trade requirements relatively easily, for the smaller producers, compliance can be a substantial hurdle. Acknowledging this fact has led us to increased emphasis on supporting our producers with a variety of tools, which we have described below in detail.
Documents to Download

First, there is the "Basic Compliance Requirements" document that details the requirements for the first inspection and ongoing requirements. An important part of that is employment and wage documentation. A simple employment contract can be downloaded and custom-tailored for the specific needs of a producer. There is also an "Umbrella Contract" for download that can be used for seasonal workers for example. It allows operations to list many workers on one basic contract agreement, when they are only employed during harvest or other peak work situations.

We also have a document called "Simple Occupational Health and Safety Policy" that is applicable to both post-harvesting and processing facilities specifying necessary steps for implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.

There is a template for an Internal Control (ICS) Manual, which producers working with a group of farmers in such a setting can use and modify to integrate FairTSA requirements into their organic ICS program.

We strongly recommend looking at these documents before the free producer seminars, as it will inform the discussion and the questions, making them more relevant.

All documents mentioned are downloadable from http://fairtsa.org/producers/producer-info/.

We are committed to adding necessary documentation and improving the existing ones on an ongoing basis. 

Producer Seminars

We offer free producer seminars in both Spanish and English. Click here for dates and times.

These seminars serve to give an introduction into our program, prepare you for the first and ongoing inspections, and most importantly, answer any questions you may have about FairTSA.

Please note this change in policy: Starting April 1, 2017, all producers must have at least one representative who has attended a free producer seminar BEFORE the first FairTSA inspection! We will send all attendees a simple email after the training with the headline: "Confirmed FairTSA Producer Seminar Attendee" and the date and time of the seminar in the body of the email. Show this to the inspector in question as proof of participation.

Support for Marketing and Sales

Part of FairTSA's mission is to support producers in their marketing efforts, and there are several things we can do:
1. We cannot emphasize this enough: we would like to get in contact with ALL your current buyers and introduce our Fair Trade program to them. This will help you to establish meaningful community projects for the farmers and workers of your operation much quicker and will enable us to do a much better effort at publishing in community development and thereby attract new buyers. We will soon provide you with a concise document that you can send to all your existing buyers so that they understand better the value of the program and how we work.
If we have the contact information for the existing buyers, we can approach those buyers, present the program to them and possibly convince them to buy your products as Fair Trade. We can do this even before the first inspection, if we have the related information.
Of course, we will also help you search for new clients (see below).
2. We get requests for products on a consistent basis, and we connect buyers and sellers. This is an effort that we are intensifying, and many of you will be contacted by my colleagues Loreto, Jake and Eileen to find out how we can better support you in your marketing and sales efforts.
3. We present our producers and their projects in our newsletters on a regular basis. If you would like to be presented there, we are happy to oblige. However, what we need for this is timely and appropriate information about your farm/company, the community project and any other activities that may be interesting to the readers of the newsletter.
4. We also enter certified products and producers in our database to make them searchable for potential buyers. Click here to access the list and inform us if you do not find your products there. We will update the database on a regular basis.

Support for Community Development
Community Development Projects are at the heart of our program. We have therefore developed several simple tools to support you in this endeavor: A Community Development Proposal that needs to be sent to the FairTSA office before the first community project starts, and then needs to be updated on an annual basis. There is also the Community Project Evaluation form that allows you and us to document project progress. Both forms are downloadable here.  
In addition, we can also train community facilitators with our specifically designed training.  The facilitation process is based on "Future Search" principles, a well-respected participatory project planning method.  Please let us know if training a facilitator would be helpful for your organization and we will arrange for this.  For more information on Future Search go to their website

Timelines for FairTSA Certification and Renewal
The two graphs below depict the timelines for initial certification and renewal of certification. Please use them in your planning activities so that we're all on the same page. If you have questions regarding the below timelines, any of the documents, or if you need help with the community project, email our Producer Relations Manager, Jake Makin, at  Jake@fairtsp.com.

For the FairTSA Team

Winfried Fuchshofen