Sneaking out of the office

December 31, 2009

Though we’re gearing up for our market launch I was able to sneak out of the office this week for a quick visit to our friends at Zameen Organic.  As Shop for Change’s CEO, I’m lucky enough to meet with lots of different people and organisations.  But there’s nothing like visiting with farmers to really understand the importance of fair trade.  For this trip my destination was Amravati, Maharashtra where we’re working with 541 farmers who are members of Zameen.  My guide, Zameen’s Amit Dhote, took me to visit a handful of villages where I met with farmers who talked about the challenges they face and the reasons why Zameen is important to them.  Times are tough for farmers and all stressed the need to continually adjust to changing conditions in the market, the rise in household expenses, and even unseasonable weather patterns (it rained on us – in December – that shouldn’t be happening!).   Yet from village to village, the farmers I met stressed the power in numbers that has helped navigate the challenges since they joined Zameen.  It’s meant new markets, training in cost-saving growing techniques, ability to negotiate for inclusion in beneficial government schemes, and a sense of solidarity that didn’t exist before.  As one farmer summed it up, “Before I used to make decisions about farming as an individual.  But now we all think as a group.  I’m not alone anymore.”

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One Response to “Sneaking out of the office”

  1. Nitisha Agrawal said

    Hey!!

    My name is Nitisha Agrawal. I actually worked with ICICI Foundation’s crafts NEF called Sandhi Foundation for a while were i got some amount of exposure to Fair Trade & Indian crafts sector.

    I am very keenly following your efforts here. Is there any way I could help??

    Look forward to hear from you,

    Regards,
    Nitisha

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