Teach-In & Expo 2018

Mark your calendars!
Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In & Expo – October 20, 2018.

Teach-In & Expo 2018 — Registration Form

The Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo, initiated in 2005, brings people of all ages together from across the state to learn about and become more involved in supporting fair trade—a model for socially and environmentally conscious consumerism.

The Teach-In & Expo 2018—hosted by the Ohio Fair Trade Network and John Carroll University—is scheduled for October 20, 2018, at the Dolan Center on the JCU campus in University Heights, Ohio.  We have a range of presentations and discussions from basics of fair trade principles to fair trade certification. 

Main sponsors include the Ohio Fair Trade Network, John Carroll University, InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia, Revy Fair Trade, and more to come.

The educational component of the event will feature three presenters who will be speaking about how the fair trade movement is changing the banana industry.

Nicole Vitello, President of Oke USA Fruit Company, a 100% fair trade fruit importer and partner of Equal Exchange. She is proud to be part of that model in fresh produce by promoting the connection between small farmers in Latin America and consumers in the United States.

Katherine Nagasawa is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She will be showing clips of her web documentary, Beyond The Seal, about fair trade bananas and the people behind the movement to change the banana industry.

Dan Koeppel is an author and columnist. His second book, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, was released in 2007.

Fair trade items will be available for sale all day, provided by 40 fair trade vendors from across Ohio and neighboring states.

Lunch is available for purchase from a food truck and from adjacent eateries. All attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks.

To see what we did last year, check out the Teach-In & Expo 2017 page!

OCT 20, 2018

9:30-3:30 International Fair Trade Vendor Expo & Info Tabling

10:00-11:30 Equal Exchange Bananas, “Small Farmers, Big Change”

In the first half of the twentieth century, governments of entire Central American nations- aptly named “banana republics”- rose and fell over the crop as the companies now known as Chiquita and Dole conquered the marketplace. The biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. Every banana we eat is a genetic duplicate of the next, it’s the sameness that makes the fruit so easy to grow and transport but it’s also what makes the fruit so frail. Our supermarket banana, the Cavendish, is rapidly succumbing to a malady- Panama disease- and there’s no cure in sight. This talk will help to expose the treacherous history of an iconic American business enterprise and the global quest to overcome the disease that now threatens to eradicate the fruit.

Nicole Vitello is the president of Oke USA, Equal Exchange’s produce arm.  Each major commodity that fair trade has made some headway in (coffee, cocoa, sugar, and bananas) has done so under similar pressures of citizen-consumer and producer organizing against multinational corporations, corporate consolidation, and the contradiction of trying to ensure business profits while at the same time supporting ethical supply chains and small farmers. It is important as activists to understand how these contradictions play out so  we can best use our leverage.  The banana and produce experience that Equal Exchange has gained in the last ten years is important new learning as we try to build a more fair food system. 

11:30-12:00: Q&A with Nicole – The fate of the fruit that changed the world

11:00-1:30: Lunch Available via Food Truck or local restaurants

1:00-3:00: Beyond the Seal Documentary Panel Discussion

Join us for a screening of Beyond the Seal, a documentary created by two Northwestern alums about Fair Trade bananas and the people behind a movement to change the banana industry. The documentary profiles the lives of banana farmers in Ecuador, whose struggle with poverty and the hazardous health conditions of banana farming inspired Katherine Nagasawa and Leah Varjacques to make the film as students at Northwestern. Over the course of 2015 and with funding from the Buffett Institute, they produced Beyond the Seal to tell the farmers’ stories and to reveal the conflicts and hidden consequences of the US public’s ongoing demand for cheap bananas.

Afterward, there will be a panel discussion with Nicole Vitello, Katherine Nagasawa, Nely Rodriguez and Ximena Pedroza.

Katherine Nagasawa is a multimedia journalist and documentary filmmaker with a passion for community-driven storytelling. Katherine has produced several documentary film projects including Beyond the Seal, a web documentary about Fair Trade bananas and the people behind a movement to change the banana industry.

Nely Rodriguez, farmworker leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Ximena Pedroza of the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA), are part of a farmworker human rights organization and an ally group based in Immokalee, Florida, and will be joining us. The CIW’s Fair Food Program (FFP) guarantees rights never before seen for farmworkers, such as rights to shade and rest breaks from their grueling work, and zero tolerance for sexual harassment and modern slavery. Since 2011, participating buyers have paid more than $25 million through the FFP, constituting the first real pay increase for farmworkers in over 30 years. The FFP was called “one of the great human rights success stories of our day” in The Washington Post, “the best workplace monitoring program in the US” on the front page of The New York Times.