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BOULDER, Colo. - Natural and organic foods retailer Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is planning several promotions to better educate its shoppers about the value of Fair Trade, in recognition of Fair Trade Month.
During the month of October, Wild Oats will provide educational in-store materials that direct customers to Fair Trade Certified products, Fair Trade food and beverage tastings, deals on Fair Trade products, and other in-store activities. The retailer sells more than 230 Fair Trade Certified items in its stores, including bananas, coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, quinoa, rice, pineapples, and mangoes.
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"At Wild Oats, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure the people who grow and manufacture our products are treated fairly and equitably," said Perry Odak, President and c.e.o. of Wild Oats. "By helping to educate consumers about the Fair Trade movement, and by making a commitment to selling only organic Fair Trade coffee in our bulk and foodservice departments, we are not only bolstering the socioeconomic stature of these farmers, but we are helping to preserve the environment by supporting sustainable organic agricultural practices."
This year, customers can enter the Discover Fair Trade Sweepstakes for a chance to win a guided tour of Costa Rica and Fair Trade Certified farms, the company said. This is a chance to see first-hand how responsible purchasing decisions transform the lives of farmers, enabling them to invest in their future.
The Fair Trade system encompasses inspecting farms, monitoring social and environmental practices, and auditing the trade of certified products. It benefits small-scale farmers and plantation workers. Fair Trade certification ensures that wages meet or exceed the legal minimum wage, and that child labor laws are adhered to. These minimum prices vary by country and organic status, and are designed to cover the costs of sustainable production and provide a decent standard of living for farming families. In Fair Trade, small-scale Fair Trade producers are organized into democratically run cooperatives and receive a fair price for their crop, no matter how low the market price falls.
Fair Trade certification requires that producers use sustainable agricultural practices, which protect workers and the health of the environment. It also ensures that farmers adhere to all national and international legislation regarding the use and handling of chemicals, and that the most dangerous chemicals are not used at all.
Wild Oats operates 113 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The retailer's banners include Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest, and Capers Community Markets.