With the modernization of agriculture, farming has become an industry instead of a small-scale, community effort. All over the world, small-scale farmers who have retained traditional (and many times organic) methods of agriculture have been pushed out by larger, industrial farms. And in cases where small-scale farms have managed to exist, they often have to compete with the cheaper prices of larger farmers and reduce their prices below the point of fair trade.
Canaan Fair Trade has formed a cooperative of around family farms in Palestine, enabling them to continue their sustainable, small-scale and largely organic farming efforts.
The company is devoted to sustainable agriculture, which it considers to combine both organic farming and fair trade practices. In Canaan Fair Trade’s own words,
“Only by keeping our environment healthy can we truly have sustainable agriculture. Yet if we nourish the soil without respecting the human beings who farm it, then we are still compromising our future. By combining a Fair Trade structure that works on all levels of our community with organic practices, we hope to serve as a model for genuine sustainability.”
While the company focuses on forming a cooperative of local West Bank farmers, it does not, however, attempt to sell its products locally and appeals to an international market instead. The products (which include olive oil, condiments, nuts, seeds, cereals, spices, and cosmetics) seem to be geared towards an American market and are labeled with USDA organic certification.
But Canaan Fair Trade nevertheless brings a community feel to the global village. Purchasers of Canaan Fair Trade products can get to know members of the partner cooperatives through the company’s website, where photos and interviews are published. In the future, olive oil purchasers will be able to type in their package code and learn exactly where their oil came from.
Read more about sustainable Palestinian farming in the West Bank:
Marda Permaculture Farm Plants Sustainable Seeds in Palestine
EcoBaladi Sprouts Organic Vegetables from the West Bank Valley of Thorns (Wadi Fuqin)
Bustan Qaraaqa: Permaculture and Empowerment for Palestinians in the West Bank
Image via: Whewes