Fair Trade Rosh Hashanah
One of my favorite Rosh Hashanah traditions is dipping apples into honey (and eating them!) as a symbol of starting the Jewish new year with sweetness. Last year I found out about fair trade kosher honey from Wholesome Sweeteners, and knowing that the farmers were paid fair wages and that they were able to preserve a long community tradition, made the enjoyment of the apples and honey even sweeter. Here’s some info on their story:
High in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico 46 beekeepers have formed a Fair Trade Certified cooperative, and the whole community prospers from the honey harvest. The hives have been tended by Mayan communities for generations, creating meaningful employment. The hives are isolated, deep within organic perimeters, and the bees forage only on native plants—wildflowers and, for one brief week every year, organically cultivated coffee blooms. As the season progresses and the flowers change, the honeys’ character changes too, deepening in color and flavor.
Before they formed a fair trade cooperative, middlemen, or “coyotes,” took a majority of the beekeepers’ income. Now, there are no middlemen involved and the cooperative works autonomously and directly with customers. The beekeepers are able to improve standards for their families (like sending their children to school), their communities and protect precious rainforests and habitat.
It’s a win-win for farmer and consumer alike.