The mindful among us turn to local farmers for seasonal fruit and vegetable delights—both for freshness and to be kind to the Earth. Still, so many foods that we consume come from thousands of miles away. What’s a fall stew if not followed by a strong cup of coffee or pot of tea? How often does banana bread or chocolate cake feature in holiday feasts? Indeed, many of us are daily consumers of these and other items that only grow in tropical climates. Let’s take a moment to honor those who grow our food and steward the land thousands of miles away.
"This farm is our life. At the Rainforest Alliance farmer field school, we learned to decrease our plucking intervals, and consequently my yield has increased substantially. We also learned how to conserve water and how to safely manage the different types of wastes generated at the farm. Tea is our main source of income, helping us pay school fees and fund further development of the farm." --Simon Langat, smallholder tea farmer in Kenya
"They do things differently here. The farm provides benefits like social security, paid vacations, holidays, Christmas bonus, and overtime pay. I really like my job, the farm, and the people who work here." --Eriberto Ruiz, worker on Finca Santa Marta, a Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM banana farm in Costa Rica
"In my field, I don’t cut down trees, I plant them—to protect my cocoa, to protect the environment, to protect the land. When you follow the training of the Rainforest Alliance, your cocoa will grow and flourish. It can bring you a better life." --Adrien Kouadio, cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire
"As a mother, I want to say that this has improved the well-being of our children. Because before we joined this program, there was a lot of pollution—everything went into the streams. Today, everything has changed. The wastewater goes into sedimentation pools. Inorganic garbage goes into an adequate pit, and the organic garbage is properly handled. We’re improving on all levels." --Leticia Monzon, coffee farmer in Guatemala
"Since I started practicing what I had been taught during the training sessions, my yield in cocoa production keeps improving and has increased from about three bags per acre to about 10 bags per acre. Most women in the program would testify to that fact. Our children are also now happily in school." --Vida Tsatso Boaful, cocoa farmer in Ghana