Fair trade

All Camino products come from ingredients harvested through fair trade practices. Positive fair trade practices are key to building vibrant sustainable communities, through good food for you, and abroad, through greater prosperity and health for family farmers.

How is Camino different?

Direct relationships. Camino prides itself in building direct relationships with our partner co-operatives of family farmers. We speak with those who harvest the goods. They are our business partners. We also strive to bring you products where possible that are produced, transformed and packaged in their country of origin, creating greater value for the communities of family farmers.

What’s a fair deal?

The purchase of Camino products ensures a fair deal for family farmers by:

  • Guaranteeing fair prices to family farmers;
  • Paying premiums to improve social conditions in communities of family farmers;
  • Paying family farmers in advance to assist in long-term planning and pre-harvest financing;
  • Supporting democratic participation in farmer-owned co-operatives;
  • Ensuring that there is no forced labour; and
    Supporting sustainable farming practices.

Who certifies our products?

All Camino products are Fairtrade certified under the Fairtrade International certification system by Fairtrade Canada, a non-profit certification and public education organization promoting fair trade to improve communities of family farmers. Fairtrade Canada is the only Canadian affiliate of Fairtrade International and works to create and maintain consumer awareness and confidence in fair trade. La Siembra is licensed by Fairtrade Canada and we are regularly audited as part of the certification requirements.

The Small Producer Symbol: What Does It Stand For?

The Small Producer Symbol (SPP – the acronym of the Spanish name, Simbolo de Pequeños Productores) is a relatively new fair trade certification label that has been gaining momentum in Canada.

At first glance, the SPP symbol may seem like another logo in a sea of logos – but the movement behind it is unique and profound. The SPP is the first fair trade farmer-owned certification system, representing the emerging leadership of small farmers in global trade. In a world where certification systems have been defined and controlled by people in the global north, it’s exciting and important that farmers in Latin America are taking control and defining what a just trade system looks like to them.

The need for the SPP emerged as a response to changing fair trade certification standards, which have broadened to include coffee and cacao plantations. Many people find this move to be counter to the founding principles that focus on small-scale farmers, who have trouble competing with plantations on the conventional market. In response, the Coordinating Body of Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAC) began strategizing a way to keep fair trade fair for small farmers – and the SPP was born. The certification system is run by the nonprofit group the Foundation of Organized Small Producers (FUNDEPPO), who best understand the needs and goals of small farmers like themselves.

So what exactly does the Small Producer Symbol mean for farmers, and how are its standards different from other certifications? SPP standards are comprehensive, and include 50 criteria for small farmer member organizations, including maximum individual farm sizes and a maximum percentage of farm work performed by hired help. This means that plantations and large-scale operations are excluded from SPP certification. Buyers who use the SPP label, like La Siembra (Camino), must meet nearly three dozen criteria, including a minimum of five percent annual volume growth in program purchases. This means that buyers are committed to supporting the farmers of the SPP long-term. And most importantly, the SPP is run and governed by farmers themselves.
Certification labels help consumers to better understand their food choices, allowing them to make informed decisions about what businesses they want to support based on their practices.
La Siembra is proud and excited to support the Small Producer Symbol and the farmer-led movement it represents. We hope you’ll join us in supporting the SPP by spreading the word, seeking out the logo when you shop and choosing options that represent authentic fair trade.

With contribution from Sara Fiore, Equal Exchange