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October is Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month. Grocery stores across North America will be promoting products and brands that are working to fix a broken food system.

 

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2020 – This October, brands, non-profits, retailers and shoppers are celebrating Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month. The harvest month of October has become a time when more attention is focused on food quality and sustainability as people begin to prepare for holiday cooking and family gatherings. Together, Fairtrade and Non-GMO Project certifications represent consumers’ rejection of industrial agriculture and the heavy cost it has had on both our planet and our people.

This year more than ever, people understand the importance of working together for a common cause. Fairtrade America and the Non-GMO Project have partnered to help small independent retailers communicate how third-party certifications labels on food are a shortcut to trust for shoppers.

Currently, more than 300 retailers across North America have committed to promoting Fairtrade certified and Non-GMO Project verified products this October. Through training staff and digital and in-store promotions, shoppers will know more about the benefits to people and planet when they shop their values.

Shoppers are more aware than ever where their food comes from and why it matters:

The global pandemic is changing consumer food habits and generating awareness for the connection between all of us. According to The Hartman Group, more people are cooking at home for the majority of their meals, and there is more opportunity to examine food, ingredients and food labels as they shop. When wearing a mask in store, shoppers and staff alike are reminded that their health is linked to the health of others. They’re also reminded that paying a decent price for high quality food respects the family farmers and workers who are growing it during these challenging times. It’s a win-win-win: Consumers eat better, farmers get paid better, and everyone is healthier, while growing a more sustainable future for agriculture.

Retailers interested in participating in October can sign up here, and receive free promotional materials as well as Fairtrade certified, non-GMO, organic cotton face masks with the promotional messaging.

*NGP/Linkage Consumer Survey of 2000 North American Consumers, January 2020

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About Fairtrade America

Fairtrade America betters the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries by inspiring businesses to implement ethical production practices and assisting shoppers in making informed purchasing decisions. Fairtrade America is the US chapter of Fairtrade International, the original and global leader in fair trade certification with over 30 years of experience working to make trade fair, with headquarters in more than 30 countries across the globe. A non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Fairtrade America is the world's largest and most recognized fair trade system—part of a global movement for change. Learn more at www.fairtradeamerica.org.

Fairtrade America contact details:

Mary Linnell-Simmons

Marketing Director

mlinnell-simmons@fairtradeamerica.org

 

About Non-GMO Project

The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to building and protecting a non-GMO food supply. We do this through consumer education and outreach programs, marketing support provided to brands with Non-GMO Project Verified products, and providing training resources and merchandising materials to retailers. The Non-GMO Project Verified seal is the market leader for GMO avoidance and one of the fastest-growing labels in the retail sector. We offer North America’s most trusted third-party verification for non-GMO food and products.

Non-GMO Project contact details:

Hans Eisenbeis

Marketing Director

hans@nongmoproject.org

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Non-GMO Project wants to support participants in their ongoing participation in our Product Verification Program. As such, an interim policy regarding product verification renewals has been developed and was released to the Technical Administrators on March 27th. This policy aims to make accommodations for the ongoing changes in the supply chain due to the current pandemic without compromising the integrity of the Non-GMO Project Standard and verification mark. Should you be experiencing trouble in meeting the requirements of your renewal, please reach out to your technical administrator for guidance. Our Client Experience Team is also here to help — let us know how COVID-19 is impacting your business and if there are ways we can support by emailing us at verification@nongmoproject.org. This information will also be useful as we consider further updates to the interim policy to address the evolving landscape of COVID-19.

Read a letter from our Executive Director here.

Last night, as I sat listening to the exuberant chorus of spring peepers from the pond in my backyard, I was struck by how full of paradox the world feels right now. Here in Bellingham, WA, our daily lives have completely changed. We moved all of our Non-GMO Project staff to virtual work 10 days ago and we are in the strange process of creating new daily rhythms that don’t include offices, schools, restaurants, or any social gatherings.

At the same time that all of this isolation is occurring, our interconnectedness has never been more palpable. When I started the Non-GMO Project nearly 14 years ago, I was driven by a burning desire to empower people with food choices that honor the truth of our dependence on nature, reinstating more respect and integrity into the relational process of eating. Like many of you, I felt incredulous about all of the ways that humans ignore our interconnectedness with each other and with nature, and scared about what that would cost future generations. In recent times there has been such an escalation in wake up calls to come into right relationship with our planet and with all of life. As the messages come through louder and clearer, I believe it is incumbent upon each of us to listen as best we can. What is here to be learned? What is being asked of us? What are the changes we need to make, and the calls we need to heed?

At the Non-GMO Project, this includes work we have been doing for the past year to develop a 10-year strategic plan that challenges us to think bigger about what we can contribute to empowering people to care for themselves, the planet, and future generations. That work feels more urgent than ever, and I look forward to sharing details in the coming months.

At the same time that we all need to attend with more sincerity to the big picture, this pandemic obviously also brings a tremendous amount of urgency to many immediate details of how we need to adapt our daily lives and the running of our businesses. To that end, the Non-GMO Project has formed a COVID-19 task force to assess and mitigate impacts to our Product Verification Program (PVP). We will be following up by publishing interim guidelines and policies to our Technical Administrators next week in order to support our PVP participants in navigating product verification during this unpredictable time. We'll also continue to communicate with our PVP participants directly in order to ensure you're aware of the steps we're taking to weather this storm together.

In the meantime, I hope that you are finding moments in these uncertain days to honor and be nourished by interconnectedness. May we all take good care of each other, and of this beautiful, precious planet.

With Love,

Megan Westgate

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