Whichever organic, Fair Trade coffee you choose the subtle taste of justice comes with knowing that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified coffees were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and earn community development premiums to empower and improve their communities. Though organic certification is not a requirement for Fair Trade certification, the two do go hand-in-hand.

Fair Trade’s rigorous environmental standards protect water resources, promote agricultural diversification, require proper waste management, restrict the use of synthetic inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Support for a whole industry

Through these standards the Fair Trade model supports organic farming, and then goes a step further with training for farmers and additional revenue for organic products. Many farmer organizations also invest portions of the Fair Trade premiums they receive into converting to organic farming. Fair Trade USA, the largest third-party certifier of Fair Trade goods in the U.S., recently reported that over half of all Fair Trade farmers invest the development premiums they receive through Fair Trade into organic conversion and 62 percent of Fair Trade Certified products are also certified organic.

“For consumers, people are looking to align their purchases with their values.”

“Products that are both certified organic and Fair Trade Certified show a profound commitment to environmental responsibility and ethical sourcing,” said Mary Jo Cook, Chief Impact Officer at Fair Trade USA. “For consumers, people are looking to align their purchases with their values.” The Fair Trade premiums used for community development, which in coffee are an additional 20 cents per pound, 30 cents for coffee that is also certified organic, help level the playing field. Farming coops invest their premiums from the more than 100 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified coffee beans imported into the U.S. each year into education, health care, environmental initiatives, infrastructure, training and other programs that drive dreams forward.

Create a long-term impact

Beyond coffee, Fair Trade USA also certifies tea, cocoa, sugar, spices, honey, produce, body care products, and even apparel, linens and sports equipment. These Fair Trade Certified products are produced by more than 1.5 million farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and distributed in the U.S. through more than 60,000 retail outlets across the country. Pedro Hu Ortega, a farmer from the Asociacion Chajulense Val Vaq Quyol cooperative in Guatemala, which produces Fair Trade and organic coffee and honey, expresses it this way, “With Fair Trade premiums, we have more possibilities to improve our lives and create more opportunities for our children.”

At the end of the day it’s all about this impact—it’s about quality products that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable for us, the earth and for the farmers that work so hard to bring delicious products to our tables; Fair Trade and organic work hand-in-hand towards making this a reality.

1. Organic delivers meaningful health results.

It is hard to miss the problems arising in the wake of the conventional food system—toxic exposures, birth defects, learning disabilities, obesity, water pollution, unacceptable suffering by farm animals, to name a few. The certified organic label stands apart in consistently delivering what people care most deeply about—more nutritious food, grown using methods that minimize the use of toxins, while building soil quality and protecting water quality.

2. Organic reduces your exposure to harmful synthetic pesticides.

Conventional farmers apply 2-12+ synthetic pesticides to their crops. residues of some widely used pesticides can trigger subtle changes in a child’s development, and may lead to a wide range of health problems including ADHD, autism, obesity, and certain forms of cancer.

3. Organic boosts the nutritional quality of your food.

Organic crops are grown in healthier, biologically active soils. While crops on organic farms often take longer to grow than crops on conventional farms, plants nurtured by soil on organic farms produce crops that contain higher levels of important antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

4. Organic does not support genetically engineered food.

Most of today’s genetically engineered (GE) foods were approved over 15 years ago during a period when the government was aggressively promoting biotechnology. The prevailing “wisdom” was that GE foods were “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods. We have since learned that even small differences in the genetic makeup of food can lead to unexpected human health risks. Because organic farmers cannot plant GE seeds, nor use GE crop inputs, choosing organic is the only sure way to avoid GE food risks.

5. Organic decreases your intake of unnecessary hormones and antibiotics.

Most conventional livestock farmers use a combination of growth hormones, drugs, feed supplements, and high-grain diets to push their animals to grow faster, get bigger, and produce more milk and eggs per day. The NOP (National Organic Program) rule prohibits the use of virtually all synthetic animal drugs. At the end of the day, healthy animals produce healthier meat, milk and dairy products, and eggs.

6. Organic gives farm animals a healthy measure of respect.

A significant share of the livestock raised on conventional farms live in crowded, stressful conditions that erode animal health, increase drug dependency, and take away any chance of carrying out natural behaviors. However, the NOP rule states that organically raised animals must have access to the outdoors, including pasture, and ample space to carry out natural behaviors.

7. Organic improves water quality.

Rainfall landing on a field of crops will carry a certain amount of soil, nutrients, and chemicals downstream or into underground aquifers. The more chemicals applied per acre, the greater the challenge in preserving water quality. The Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the most graphic example of the enormous harm caused when farm chemicals flowing off of millions of acres congregate in the mighty Mississippi.

8. Organic promotes biodiversity and beauty in rural landscapes.

Organic farmers not only encourage biodiversity, they depend on it – both above and below the ground. Experienced organic farmers have learned over many decades that combining multiple crops with livestock and other animals is the best way to promote soil health and fully utilize the rainfall and sunlight that falls on an acre in any given year.

9. Organic food delivers more intense flavors.

Organic fruits and vegetables more often than not have higher levels of flavor-enhancing nutrients, coupled with lower concentrations of water and sugars. The end result—typically more intense and complex flavors. Plus, no artificial food colors or preservatives are added to any organic foods.

10. Organic helps to create healthier working environments for farm workers in rural neighborhoods.

Farming is second only to mining on the list of the most hazardous occupations. Unless great care is exercised, exposures to toxic pesticides, caustic fertilizers, and other chemicals will pose risks for many people working on or living near farms. Organic farmers simply do not use high-risk chemical materials, and so workers, and rural neighbors, have one less health risk to worry about.