Produce

rainbow chard

Walk into Healthy Living and the first thing you’ll see is our gorgeous Produce Department, a wild and wonderful world of the freshest, highest-quality fruits and veggies you’ll find anywhere! We buy direct from our beloved local farms throughout the year, so our produce is about as fresh as if you’d picked it yourself. We’ve been working with local farmers for over 20 years and love doing business with this amazing community of hard-working people, who form the backbone of Vermont. We have a plethora of local and organic options, produce from ecologically grown and wild-crafted sources, and the cleanest conventional alternatives at the best prices. From local greens and snap peas, to seasonal apples and berries, we have everything a great Produce Department needs, plus a few fun, seasonal surprises! Not sure what celeriac is? Wanna know the best way to prepare morels? Just ask our produce staff – they’re always there to help!

Department News

Fair Trade Bananas: Why Are They So Important?

By Katy Kent  •  Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Healthy Living Market is proud to carry organic Fair Trade bananas. About half of our Fair Trade bananas are sourced from Albert’s Organics, a company which has committed to procuring them from farms and co-ops in Ecuador. The funds generated by purchases of Albert’s Organics Fair Trade fruits and vegetables, like these bananas, are helping to raise the standard of living for farmers and workers through community development projects that support educational opportunities for children, access to medical care, and trainings and workshops to teach growers critical skills. In 2013, Fair Trade premiums from bananas alone amounted to $67,000 for such incredible projects!!

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Isn’t that amazing? Every time you purchase our Fair Trade bananas, you’re improving the lives of farming families and communities in Ecuador, (and of course getting a tasty, nutritious snack at the same time)! Here are some examples of your banana-buying dollars at work…

Union Regional de Organizaciones Campesinas del Litoral (UROCAL)
UROCAL is a “co-op of co-ops” located in Machala, Ecuador in the banana-producing southwestern region Ecuador called of El Oro. It consists of 10 separate cooperatives, with approximately 600 total producers, and provides various services to support small banana and cacao producers.

What are the Producers’ Greatest Needs? Educational support, especially for younger children, health care and emergency medical services in the rural communities where many producers live, as well as improvements in productivity and increased knowledge of organic production.

What is the Fair Trade Impact? Fair Trade funds continue to support scholarships for children of member producers, with a focus on primary- and secondary-level students. Additionally, workshops are being offered to members on topics like certification and marketing. After voting last year to use Fair Trade funds to improve medical care, a variety of medical services are now provided to producers and their families, including vouchers to cover health care costs, first aid kits, and trainings on health topics. Producers also receive trainings on sustainable fertilizer use, organic production, water use, and other conservation practices!

$24,000 in premiums generated for UROCAL from Albert’s Organics purchases!

Asociacion Regional de Pequeños Productores Bananeros Cerro Azul
Cerro Azul is located in Pasaje, Ecuador, which is also located in Ecuador’s El Oro region. It consists of 147 producers who have been working together since the co-op was founded in 2002.

What are the Producers’ Greatest Needs? Increased agricultural productivity including the materials and expertise needed to make it happen, improved local roads to help transport the banana harvest, repairs to local schools, and increased access to affordable health care.

What is the Fair Trade Impact? To boost productivity, all 147 members of Cerro Azul attended technical assistance workshops and received fertilizer and other important supplies. A major road repair project was completed, which will help both producers and the greater community. Premiums also funded much-needed repairs for a school in the community. And finally, thanks Fair Trade funds earned from all coop sales, all members and employees of Cerro Azul now have access to doctors, dentists, and vision care providers!

$24,000 in premiums generated for Cerro Azul from Albert’s Organics purchases!

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Tropical Agro
Tropical Agro is located in Valencia in Ecuador’s southwestern province of Los Rios. It’s an organic banana farm consisting of 29 workers and was founded in 2001, achieving organic certification in 2012. It began selling to Albert’s Organics in 2013.

What are the Producers’ Greatest Needs? Increased access to public services like healthcare and emergency medical assistance which is limited due to the remote area of the farms, as well as assistance funding minor home repairs and affording basic home appliances.

What is the Fair Trade Impact? An ongoing worker health and safety training program has been established, which includes first aid training for workers and families – a safety necessity in this remote community where emergency medical care is not close at hand. A micro-loan program has also been established to help workers make home improvements and purchase basic home appliances like refrigerators – significant quality-of-life improvements which would be out of reach if workers had to face the high interest rates and collateral required for traditional bank loans.

$18,960 in premiums generated for Tropical Agro from Albert’s Organics purchases!

Supporting human rights while nourishing yourself and your family simply couldn’t be easier and each banana truly makes a difference. Stop by our Produce Department today and do some good today!


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