Equal Exchange sells a variety of fairly traded goods, including coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts, and more. Per the company site, the US still had an embargo against Nicaragua when founders Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Micahel Rozyne started importing fairly traded coffee from the country in 1986. While they could not import the beans directly from Nicaragua, they were permitted to import the beans after they were roasted in another country. So, that’s what they did. As their site explains, “Importing coffee beans from Nicaragua would demonstrate solidarity with the fledgling people’s movement and would challenge US trade policies.”
Today, the co-op-owned company continues to support small farmers around the globe, and they’ve stuck to the mission statement they established in the ’80s. As a rep for Equal Exchange told Willy Street Co-op in 2015, “Fair trade, when it’s practiced well, provides better prices, access to information, and opportunities for collaboration. Those are very important first steps to economic sustainability for a small farmer . “
You can find their coffee in grocery stores across the country, as well as online. They offer a variety of whole bean and ground coffees, ranging from their popular French Roast to special editions like their Organic Ray of Light, a part of their Women in Coffee Series. They even offer varieties that are organic and kosher, as well as single-serve cups and pillow packs for use in Keurigs or commercial coffee makers.