Fair Trade on the Move in Israel

From Israel’s Haaretz, a story about activists’ attempts to establish Fair Trade products in that country’s markets.

In Israel, the Green Action organization recently organized, together with the local branch of Oxfam, the sale of olive oil and coffee that have been produced by fair trade methods. The products that Green Action is marketing are currently available at 14 sales points, and others are slated to open later. In Tel Aviv-Jaffa, places that sell the products include Salon Mazal, Cafe Orna and Ella, Bistro Joe and Lo, Comme il faut and Cafe Yafa and in Jerusalem at the offices of Bat Shalom. (The full list can be found at http://www.greenaction.org.il).

The story gives a solid overview of the Fair Trade movement, and notes how it’s caught on in Europe. The question, then, is “…will the battle-weary Israelis also be persuaded to overcome their indifference and support fair trade?” Israel’s Middle Eastern location would seem to mean that Fair Trade items from Africa could actually be sold cheaper than in Europe or the US. We’ll have to see what happens…

Along these lines, I got to thinking about Fair Trade in the context of peak oil. I think the Fair Trade concept is an important one, but global trade will certainly become more difficult and expensive with rising oil prices. Even if conditions don’t progress to the point of a “long emergency,” shouldn’t we also be helping farmers in impoverished nations develop agricultural products that will feed local populations, too?

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