Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Spices

By Paige Brady, November 13, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Brady
KaiMuch of the delicious cooking of the season depends on the wonderful aroma and zing added by familiar spices. It wouldn't quite be the holidays without cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, etc. And now you can do good for others while you are cooking great things for your family. Frontier has recently introduced Fair Trade Certified spices in bulk and bottles. Here's the Whole Story from Frontier's Kai Stark. Spices are a deeply personal business here at Frontier; personal because all of our products trace their origins back to the land and to the people who work it - farmers and their families. spicesHaving spent years traveling the world and visiting small, marginalized producers, I can attest to the impact ethical sourcing and socially just business practices can make. This is the reason why I am so proud that we, at Frontier, are the first company to introduce Fair Trade Certified™ spices in the United States. A few months ago, I spent a week in Sri Lanka visiting one of our premiere producer groups, a Well Earth certified partner who we've been working with for over a year and who is now supplying our Fair Trade Certified spices. It is a cooperative made up of some two thousand marginalized farmers like Mr. N.G. Wijethilaka, a father of four who owns just 0.75 acres, and also like Mr. K.B. Udamgamuina, who has worked the land for eight years now and who prides himself on his devotion to organics. Having spent time with these farmers and many others in Sri Lanka - sitting in their homes drinking tea with them, touring their farms, meeting their families, hiking for hours into the mountains with them to reach remote cinnamon growing areas - I have seen first hand the impact that socially just business practices can have. Kids.in.Sri.LankaMany of these small producers, like Mr. Wijethilaka, earn the equivalent of just $900 per year. For them, a Fair Trade social premium is an opportunity at a better standard of life for their families. For them, a little truly is a lot. Quality and sustainability start at the source, and our farmer partners in Sri Lanka understand this better than anyone. For them, farming is not just a matter of paying the bills - it's something deeper. It's about a relationship with the Earth, about being a good steward and about ensuring that their children inherit a world that's a little bit better than the one they entered. From composting to erosion control, rain-harvesting techniques to small-scale bio gas production, our producer group in Sri Lanka exhibits some of the finest sustainability practices I have witnessed. nutmeg-in-basketNearly three decades ago, Frontier began pioneering what is now called sustainability when it introduced the first certified organic herbs and spices to the market. Like a tiny seed, this idea of ours started out small - but through the devotion and continued dedication and commitment of people at Frontier, we've grown our sustainability model into an industry leading sustainable sourcing standard called Well Earth. Today, our new organic, Fair Trade (and Well Earth) certified spices are the latest extension of our commitment to ethical business and social values. Kai Stark, Frontier's Commodity Manager, has worked for over 8 years to help make them the leading supplier of organic spices in the United States. When he is not traveling to remote regions of the world in search of spices, he enjoys spending time with his family in Iowa.
Category: Holidays 2009

 

4 Comments

Comments

Sharon says ...
Along with spices, make sure that you are familiar with the varying Organic levels. Although some marketers write Organic, there are certain wording techniques used to confuse consumers. For more information on the different levels to look out for, visit: http://www.shar-on-nutrition.com/?p=352
11/18/2009 3:01:14 PM CST
Florida Herb House says ...
Hats off to you Mr. Stark. You have done much good in our world!
03/08/2010 3:36:29 AM CST
Susan says ...
Looking for a organic cinnamon and honey can you recommend? Also a good tea we've never been to whole foods and were planning to visit today Thanks
03/23/2014 10:29:49 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SUSAN - Since our exact product options differ between stores, I hope the store you visited yesterday was able to help find the items for you!
03/24/2014 1:43:34 PM CDT