16 episodes

Behind every single thing you wear, eat, and use, there are countless untold stories. For a Better World is a show about fair trade and the farmer and worker-led movements that are fighting for fair food and farming systems.

Each season, we dive into the hidden environmental and social costs behind an everyday item—from chocolate bars to t-shirts. In each episode, we’ll take you around the world to break down the main ingredients and meet some of the farmers, workers, and activists involved along the supply chain. And you’ll hear from people who are building alternative models that are rooted in justice and can heal the earth—building a better world for everyone.

Join host Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project on the new podcast, For a Better World. New episodes released every other Tuesday. If you like what you hear, support our work on Patreon at patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. Learn more at FairWorldProject.org

For a Better World Fair World Project

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 47 Ratings

Behind every single thing you wear, eat, and use, there are countless untold stories. For a Better World is a show about fair trade and the farmer and worker-led movements that are fighting for fair food and farming systems.

Each season, we dive into the hidden environmental and social costs behind an everyday item—from chocolate bars to t-shirts. In each episode, we’ll take you around the world to break down the main ingredients and meet some of the farmers, workers, and activists involved along the supply chain. And you’ll hear from people who are building alternative models that are rooted in justice and can heal the earth—building a better world for everyone.

Join host Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project on the new podcast, For a Better World. New episodes released every other Tuesday. If you like what you hear, support our work on Patreon at patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. Learn more at FairWorldProject.org

    Fair Work for All People: Momentum Builds for Real Change

    Fair Work for All People: Momentum Builds for Real Change

    Momentum is building across the country and across industries for fair livelihoods and decent work for all people - including farmworkers, who have historically been excluded from too many protections. As this movement for fair work spreads, we catch up with Crispin Hernandez of Workers’ Center of Central New York.
    Fair Trade USA’s new “fair trade” dairy label has been on Chobani’s Greek yogurt for nearly a year now, but little has changed for farmworkers. Instead, most of them don’t even know what “fair trade” is and haven’t seen the benefits that are getting sold to ethical consumers. But that’s not stopping Crispin and his allies from pushing for better protections for all farmworkers, including overtime pay at 40 hours/week.
    Topics covered include:
    The history behind a 40-hour work week and how farmworkers have been unjustly excluded from those workplace protections.
    Growing momentum across the United States for farmworkers to be paid overtime after 40 hours of work.
    Almost one year after “fair trade dairy” appeared on store shelves, farmworkers’ still don’t know what fair trade is or what benefits and rights they should have.
    What “fair trade committees” are, how they’re described in the press, and what workers actually experience.
    Chobani’s commitment to charity, instead of changing the conditions that force people to depend on that charity.
    The real physical consequences of overwork on workers’ health and wellbeing - and how hard it is to get healthcare, even on a farm in the fair trade program.
    The Farm Laborer Fair Labor Practices Act in New York state and the campaign to lower the overtime threshold to 40 hours for farmworkers.
    How fear of retaliation continues under the fair trade program, and has far-reaching consequences

    Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980.


    “Milked: Immigrant Farmworkers in New York State” is definitive research into the conditions on dairy farms in New York, presented by Workers’ Center of Central New York to Chobani: https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf (https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf)
    Jacobin Magazine article highlighting the ways the new “fair trade” dairy program is failing workers: https://jacobinmag.com/2022/01/dairy-farmworkers-unions-safety-new-york-rwdsu-ufcw (https://jacobinmag.com/2022/01/dairy-farmworkers-unions-safety-new-york-rwdsu-ufcw)
    Fair World Project’s report on the “fair trade dairy” label and the standards behind it: https://fairworldproject.org/choose-fair/certifier-analysis/fair-trade-usa-fair-trade-dairy-chobani-failings/ (https://fairworldproject.org/choose-fair/certifier-analysis/fair-trade-usa-fair-trade-dairy-chobani-failings/)
    Margaret Gray’s op-ed on why so few farm worker voices were heard at the New York state wage board meeting: https://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/farmworkers-1.50487280 (https://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/farmworkers-1.50487280)
    Report highlighting the connections between overtime for farm workers and workplace health and safety: https://oregonfarmworkerovertime.org/ (https://oregonfarmworkerovertime.org/)
    More on the origins of farmworkers’ exclusion from workplace protections, and the worker-led movements for change: https://www.feministfoodjournal.com/post/power-to-the-people-how-worker-led-movements-are-changing-the-dairy-industry (https://www.feministfoodjournal.com/post/power-to-the-people-how-worker-led-movements-are-changing-the-dairy-industry)
    A Farmer’s Guide to the New York state Department of Labor: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/07/p130.pdf (https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/07/p130.pdf)

    • 45 min
    Milking the Planet: Big Dairy Fuels the Climate Crisis

    Milking the Planet: Big Dairy Fuels the Climate Crisis

    Industrial animal agriculture is fueling the climate crisis, with food and farming systems accounting for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And while big dairy operations are contributing to climate change, they are also impacting the health and economies of rural communities throughout the United States and globally.
    And that is the model that Fair Trade USA has dubbed “fair trade dairy.”


    In this episode, Shefali Sharma of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy joins us to discuss the role of Big Dairy in fueling the climate crisis and hollowing out rural communities. She explains the need for transparency and real policy solutions to address industrial agriculture’s emissions – and protect the planet for future generations.
    Topics covered include:
    How industrial animal agriculture is contributing to climate change.
    How Big Meat and Dairy hide their climate impact behind a lack of transparency.
    Manure lagoons, dead zones, and other environmental consequences for rural communities.
    “Net Zero” and other tricky language Big Dairy corporations use to hide their real impact on the planet.
    How environmental sustainability is a pillar of how fair trade farmer organizations represent their movement - and how it’s completely omitted from the new “fair trade dairy” label.
    The disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on communities of color in the U.S. and globally.
    Regulating emissions, reducing production, and other solutions to address industrial animal agriculture’s disproportionate impact on our planet.
    Why worker-led solutions are a key component of climate justice.
    False solutions to look out for in the news, and in the grocery store.



    Resources
    The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s report: Milking the Planet: How Big Dairy is heating up the planet and hollowing rural communities: https://www.iatp.org/milking-planet (https://www.iatp.org/milking-planet)
    More on the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency calling for regulation of industrial dairy and hog farming, citing the disproportionate impacts of industrial animal agriculture on communities of color and rural communities: https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/food-ej-groups-epa-hog-dairy-methane-petition (https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/food-ej-groups-epa-hog-dairy-methane-petition)
    More on false solutions to the problems of industrial dairy: https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/blog/6457/the-dairy-digester-dilemma-a-false-climate-solution (https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/blog/6457/the-dairy-digester-dilemma-a-false-climate-solution)
    Impacts of the climate crisis on farmworkers and how organized workers are pushing for new heat protections under the law: https://inthesetimes.com/article/climate-change-heat-wave-pacific-northwest-workers-rights-unions-farm-construction (https://inthesetimes.com/article/climate-change-heat-wave-pacific-northwest-workers-rights-unions-farm-construction)
    How worker-driven programs are able to respond nimbly to the challenges of a changing planet: https://ciw-online.org/blog/2021/08/relief-from-the-heat/ (https://ciw-online.org/blog/2021/08/relief-from-the-heat/)

    • 29 min
    Get Big or Get Out: Dairy Farmers of America

    Get Big or Get Out: Dairy Farmers of America

    Dairy is big business. And while the workers and small-scale dairy farmers are getting squeezed out, those at the top are reaping the benefits and getting even richer. Farmers originally organized cooperatives to build power and market share. But one of those cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America, has gotten so big and powerful, there are questions about whose interests they are serving.
    In this episode, we unpack the growing corporate consolidation in the dairy industry and rise of farmer cooperative Dairy Farmers of America. Claire Kelloway of Open Markets Institute breaks down what the push to“get big or get out” means for farmers, workers, and consumers--and some ways to challenge that growing corporate power.
    Topics covered include:
    Bad cafeteria food is a norm that’s hard to escape – and that’s because the system is rigged that way.
    How the dairy industry is changing with more cows packed onto fewer farms, and driving a crisis of low prices and overproduction.
    The role of farmer cooperatives in supporting farmers’ livelihoods - and how those structures can go wrong.
    The rise of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) – and why this powerful mega-cooperative has been sued by the very farmers who own it.
    How Fair Trade USA’s “fair trade dairy” label is putting its seal of approval on some of the root causes of “Unfair Dairy.”
    The era of the “Robber Barons” and what that has in common with today’s industrial food system.
    Anti-trust law, and how it can be a powerful tool to support building a fair food system for farmers, workers, and all of us who eat.

    Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980.
    Resources
    Claire Kelloway’s reporting on cafeteria contractors and how that system is rigged in favor of big food companies: https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/2020/05/20/report-exposes-system-of-big-food-kickbacks-to-cafeteria-contractors-cutting-out-local-producers (https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/2020/05/20/report-exposes-system-of-big-food-kickbacks-to-cafeteria-contractors-cutting-out-local-producers).
    Article by Leah Douglas covering Dairy Farmers of America: https://thecounter.org/how-rural-america-got-milked/ (https://thecounter.org/how-rural-america-got-milked/)
    Learn more about the potential of cooperatives as a tool for farmers to transform their livelihoods and build alternative economic structures from Andres Gonzales of Manduvira Cooperative in Season One of For a Better World: https://fairworldproject.org/podcast/season-1/episode-2/ (https://fairworldproject.org/podcast/season-1/episode-2/).
    More of Claire Kelloway’s writing on Dairy Farmers of America: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/09/14/milking-profits-the-dairy-monopolies-that-are-hurting-farmers/ (https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/09/14/milking-profits-the-dairy-monopolies-that-are-hurting-farmers/)
    Claire Kelloway and Open Markets Institute piece on how anti-monopoly and anti-trust rules can support worker organizing and a more democratic economy: https://lpeproject.org/blog/antimonopoly-is-about-democratizing-the-food-system-and-the-rest-of-the-economy/ (https://lpeproject.org/blog/antimonopoly-is-about-democratizing-the-food-system-and-the-rest-of-the-economy/)


    Open Markets Institute report on “Redeeming the Democratic Promise of Agricultural Cooperatives” https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/publications/redeeming-the-democratic-promise-of-agricultural-cooperatives (https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/publications/redeeming-the-democratic-promise-of-agricultural-cooperatives)

    • 45 min
    Squeezed Out: Small Dairy Farmers in Crisis

    Squeezed Out: Small Dairy Farmers in Crisis

    There’s a crisis in the dairy industry – shrinking family farms, growing corporate consolidation, and low milk prices. And while the new “fair trade dairy” label depicts rolling green hills and picturesque red barns – that imagery is nothing more than a feel good marketing tactic.
    In this episode, we hear how Jim Goodman – one of the hundreds of dairy farmers impacted by the dairy crisis – struggled to keep his family farm afloat and compete with the big dairy companies. Jim talks about how generations of failed farm policy motivated his current work with the National Family Farm Coalition’s Disparity to Parity project, an effort dedicated to mandating fair pricing and building “a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.”
    Topics covered include:
    Corporate consolidation in the dairy industry and the explosion of mega dairies that are squeezing small dairy farmers out of business.
    The “get big or get out” approach to U.S. farm policy and how it shaped the current state of the dairy industry in the U.S.
    Organic dairy was originally a solution to match farmers with markets that would pay fairly for milk--what’s changed since the 1990s.
    Family Farm Defenders’ idea of domestic fair trade encompassing “worker rights, food sovereignty, and global justice.”
    Behind the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)’s big promises for dairy farmers.
    National Family Farm Coalition’s Disparity to Parity project and their vision for fair pricing and “a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.”
    The long history of global opposition to free trade deals and the commodification of food.
    How the new “fair trade dairy” label is just another marketing scheme.



    Resources
    National Family Farm Coalition: https://nffc.net/ (https://nffc.net/)
    Disparity to Parity: https://disparitytoparity.org/ (https://disparitytoparity.org/)
    Family Farm Defenders: https://familyfarmers.org/ (https://familyfarmers.org/)
    Bringing Fair Trade Home to the U.S., written by John Peck: ​​https://familyfarmers.org/?page_id=653 (https://familyfarmers.org/?page_id=653)

    • 39 min
    Milk with Dignity: Real Change Takes Time

    Milk with Dignity: Real Change Takes Time

    The products you see at the grocery store with labels that promise to protect people and the planet don’t tell the full story. And oftentimes those labels are full of empty promises. But what if there was another way to ensure products are sourced from farms that put workers’ rights ahead of marketing?
    The Vermont-based and worker-led organization Migrant Justice is doing just that. They call their Milk with Dignity program a “new day for human rights in dairy,” and in this episode we talk with organizer Marita Canedo.
    Topics covered include:
    How the struggle for human rights and against corporate exploitation spans the globe.
    How Migrant Justice was formed and grew to focus on fundamental rights and protections, including freedom of movement, dignified work and safe housing, and freedom from discrimination.
    Migrant Justice’s successful campaign for driver’s licenses for all people in Vermont, regardless of their immigration status.
    What Worker-driven Social Responsibility means and what it looks like for workers to lead in developing standards for enforceable human rights protections on dairy farms.
    How programs like Milk with Dignity tackle the root causes of exploitation in the food system by addressing the power dynamics.
    How the Milk with Dignity program protected essential workers throughout the pandemic.
    How Milk with Dignity compares to the “https://fairworldproject.org/podcast/season-2/season-2-episode-2/ (Fair Trade Dairy” discussed in Episode 2).
    Migrant Justice’s current campaign calling on Hannafords to join the Milk with Dignity program.



    Resources:
    Learn more about Migrant Justice: https://migrantjustice.net/ (https://migrantjustice.net/) and see https://migrantjustice.net/milk-with-dignity-reports-0 (their impact reporting here).
    On November 8th after a 3 week “Dignity Tour” around Northeast states, Migrant Justice is hosting a big action at Hannaford headquarters to call on them to join the Milk with Dignity program. Join them to show them that farmworkers are not alone, and that there is a national movement for dignity and economic justice in the dairy supply chains. For more information, go to their website, or https://www.facebook.com/events/441419114257654 (https://www.facebook.com/events/441419114257654).
    Outside the Northeastern U.S., you can still take action: Call on Hannafords to join Milk with Dignity online: https://migrantjustice.net/Hannaford-action-toolkit (https://migrantjustice.net/Hannaford-action-toolkit).
    Fair World Project’s report, Label Before Labor compares Milk with Dignity to Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label: http://fairworld.info/labelbeforelabor (fairworld.info/labelbeforelabor).

    • 42 min
    Fair Trade Dairy: A False Solution

    Fair Trade Dairy: A False Solution

    Crispin Hernandez and the Workers' Center of Central New York won historic legal protections for farmworkers in Episode 1. Now they take their demands to Chobani’s doorstep, backed by a detailed report.
    But instead of negotiating with workers, Chobani chose a different path. They partnered with Fair Trade USA to develop a new “Fair Trade Dairy” standard, and rolled out a “Milk Matters” platform. But they aren’t engaging with workers.
    Topics covered include:
    The massive growth of the industrial dairy industry at the expense of farm workers’ health and wellbeing.
    Workers’ Center of Central New York’s research into conditions on dairy farms in New York State, including those selling to Chobani.
    Crispin and organizers deliver their demands straight to Chobani’s doorstep, calling for recognition of their rights and negotiations.
    Farm workers’ demand for an alternative to Chobai and Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label that requires Chobani to work with dairy farms that respect workers’ rights
    How Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label was developed without farmworkers, a clear contrast from the farmworkers’ demands of Chobani
    What has (and hasn’t) changed since Workers Center of Central New York brought their demands to Chobani’s door.



    Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear about your experiences. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980.


    Resources:
    Learn more about Crispin’s work and the Workers’ Center of Central New York at https://www.workerscny.org/en/home/ (https://www.workerscny.org/en/home/)
    Read the Milked report, detailing conditions on New York dairy farms written by Workers Center of Central New York and allies and presented to Chobani: https://milkedny.wordpress.com/ (https://milkedny.wordpress.com/)
    See the open letter to Chobani from New York worker groups detailing their demands and opposition to “Fair Trade Dairy”: https://www.workerscny.org/en/chobani-respect-workers-organizing-rights/ (https://www.workerscny.org/en/chobani-respect-workers-organizing-rights/)
    Find out where farm workers are organizing around the country and learn more about the work of Food Chain Workers’ Alliance: https://foodchainworkers.org/ (https://foodchainworkers.org/)
    Subscribe to For a Better World and be the first to know when new episodes drop: https://forabetterworld.captivate.fm/ (https://forabetterworld.captivate.fm/)
    Join Fair World Project’s email list to stay in the loop about efforts big and small you can be a part of to create a better world: https://fairworldproject.salsalabs.org/subscribe/index.html (https://fairworldproject.salsalabs.org/subscribe/index.html)

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
47 Ratings

47 Ratings

JennyGrows ,

A Much-Needed Look Behind The Curtain!!

This podcast is so well-done, so timely, and so relevant. A big thank you to everyone at Fair World Project who works on putting these episodes together so that we can hear the real stories behind the pictures on our milk carton. More inspiration to learn as much as we can about the food we purchase and how it was produced before we buy!

Saddha1 ,

Going behind the labels, Getting to the root

This podcast is well done, goes deep, and amplifies the voices of the people who’s lives are most impacted by our food system. A must listen for anyone who cares about where their food comes, and what impacts it has on humans, animals and the planet.

Jackaltack ,

Undiscovered gem

This podcast gets information out that could be transformational to how business is done in the United States and the rest of the world. I'm excited for the impact it will have when it reaches a bigger audience.