RwadaKader-TMRwada Kader is an educated woman, having earned a degree in Islamic Law and then went on to study Public Law before she returned to her village of Nos Ijbeel in the Nablus district, a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank. Despite her education, she found herself needing to find a way to survive so she started raising chickens in her village.

With the help of Canaan Fair Trade, she has grown her chicken coop into a fully sustainable farm that she and others in her community, and around the world, can now enjoy. When asked how Canaan Fair Trade has impacted her life, Rwada says, “I am a survivor and I will do what it takes to make ends meet but with the situation being so hard I almost lost hope in ever being able to market my olive oil. When Canaan Fair Trade approached me, I asked my brother to help me buy more land and I planted two acres of olive trees. Now I feel at ease, I know that every year someone will come and buy all my crops and that gives me so much emotional and economical stability.”

Canaan is the marketing member of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA), and benefits 2500 farm families in Palestine by selling their certified organic, certified fair trade olive oil and foods, produced in the traditional, sustainable Palestinian farming methods of cultivating and harvesting. Canaan Fair Trade, LLC is the United States sister company of Canaan Palestine. Canaan also brought the first fair-trade certified olive oil to the world market.

My mother is of Mediterranean descent and, growing up, olive oil was a staple in our diets. And not just any, off-your-shelf at the grocery store olive oil – this was top-grade olive oil imported from Greece farmed by farmers my family members knew. This was the good stuff that most Americans, sadly, never taste because we do not live in a climate where olive trees can really grow and thrive. So unless Americans seek out good olive oil (and there are plenty from which to choose…you just need to do your research or ask at some better grocery stores), they are stuck with “the other” stuff. Another option now exists – seek out Canaan Fair Trade olive oil at your local grocery store or fair trade shop or purchase it online: http://www.canaanusa.com/.

I’ve purchased Canaan Fair Trade Olive Oil for my mother in the past and she loved it. It’s not inexpensive but you really do get what you pay for and if you’ve never tasted really good olive oil, I highly recommend it. Trust me, your taste buds will love you for it since the food you make using good olive oil will taste that much better.

What an inspiring story of how fair trade can really make a difference in the lives of women and how we can also be part of that change. Do you have a similar story to share? Let me know…I’d love to hear it!

-Megy Karydes
World Shoppe

Megy Karydes is the founder of World Shoppe, a wholesale importing company that works with artisans in South Africa and Pakistan to deisgn and develop fair trade and handmade jewelry, women’s accessories and greeting cards.  She often writes about fair trade for local and national consumer and trade press. To learn more about fair trade or World Shoppe, visit www.World-Shoppe.com.  
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