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AJWS starts line of kosher fair trade products

The American Jewish World Service is partnering with Equal Exchange to create a line of kosher free exchange products. The line of coffee and chocolate products, called Better Beans will support AJWS’s Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up campaign.

(There is no word as of yet on whether the logo for the line will feature AJWS president Ruth Messinger in a caballero hat leading a burro around Manhattan.)

Here is the press release:

AJWS Launches New Line of Fair Trade, Kosher Products with Equal Exchange

New York, NY; April 21, 2010—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development and human rights organization, and Equal Exchange, a Fair Trade product supplier and worker-owned cooperative, have formed a new partnership, called Better Beans, to sell and distribute fairly traded, kosher coffee and chocolate. The Better Beans line of products allows congregations, community organizations and individuals to order high-quality coffee and chocolate while supporting small growers and community-owned cooperatives in the developing world.

AJWS encourages Jewish communities to live their ethics and advance global justice by serving only Better Beans coffee and chocolate at their synagogues, schools and local events.

Around the world, small- and medium- scale farmers often struggle to compete in a global production and distribution system that favors larger growers and multinational corporations. Big companies can afford to significantly undersell smaller growers, who are then forced to lower their prices to the point where they can no longer remain in business. The farmers who produce Better Beans coffee and chocolate receive fair prices for their crops and enjoy long-term trade relationships with trusted partners.

Equal Exchange and its affiliate programs, such as AJWS’s Better Beans, exist to create a global market for these farmers and provide them with access to the financial resources and assistance that they need to operate. Equal Exchange is a democratically organized, worker-owned co-operative, founded in 1986, to pioneer a new model of trade built upon fairness and stronger relationships between farmers and consumers. Purchasing Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate allows participants to join a network that enables farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia to stay on their land, support their families, plan for the future, and care for the environment. In addition to supporting small farmer co-ops, a portion of every pound of coffee or chocolate purchased through Better Beans will support AJWS’s Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up campaign.

“AJWS is committed to the creation of a more just, equitable food system, where farmers in developing countries can make a fair living off their land and labor,” AJWS President Ruth Messinger said. “The Jewish tradition teaches us that when we buy and sell goods, we must treat our partners fairly and honestly. One product at a time, choosing Fair Trade is a step toward building a global system that treats all producers equitably and embodies the Torah’s vision of a just society.”
All Better Beans products are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU), the Kashruth Council of Canada or Rabbi Abraham Hochwald, Chief Rabbi of the Northern Rhine-Germany.

To order Better Beans products, and for resources on food justice and hunger, visit www.ajws.org/betterbeans .

About Equal Exchange A pioneer and U.S. market leader in Fair Trade since 1986, Equal Exchange is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, chocolate, cocoa, and other products. Customers include grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, schools and places of worship nationwide. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting more than 40 small farmer co-operatives in 22 countries around the world. www.equalexchange.com 

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