We are committed to ‘organic’ cheese production and the general Fair Trade principles as outlined below. We have taken the liberty to copy the text from Wikipedea, as they have a very good definition and explain things well. However, as we are not yet accredited to be called organic, we will call ourselves ‘natural’.
Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards. For crops, it means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or foodanimals, it means they were reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified. Yellow Valley:We check our milk for antibiotics and our farmers do not use it unless really needed, in case of extreme disease outbreak. Our cows do not get routinely antibiotics in their feed at any given time. No preventative treatment like on all big farms in China and many Western countries, we do not use growth hormones. As for the feed: the main feed used in our area is corn and corn stalks. These crops do not get sprayed or treated with pesticides or herbicides so one can rest assured that we fulfill the standards.
Increasingly, organic food production is legally regulated. Currently, the United States, the European Union, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain organic certification in order to market food as organic. (Yellow Valley -we are trying to get accredited in China, however, it is hard to get this accreditation, but we will be working on it. Up to that time: please trust us!)
Historically, organic farms have been relatively small family-run farms— which is why organic food was once only available in small stores or farmers’ markets. Now, organic foods are becoming much more widely available — organic food sales within the United States have grown by 17 to 20 percent a year for the past few years while sales of conventional food have grown at only about 2 to 3 percent a year. This large growth is predicted to continue, and many companies are jumping into the market, and this is also causing a very commercialized organic certification process which is not benefitting small operations. Because of this situation, small scale producers like ourselves, have had a hard time getting accreditation, because the costs do not off-set the extra value (not enough volume), therefore a movement has been set-up called ‘natural’ in a reaction to the commercialized ‘organic’ movement.
Fair trade is an organized social movement which promotes standards for international labor, environmentalism, and social policy in areas related to production of Fairtrade labeled and unlabeled goods. The movement focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries.
Fair trade’s strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalised producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade.
Cheese is not part of the range of products that is sold under the Fair Trade Label as milk has not been a large product in developing countries. Therefore, we can not get accredited to officially use this label, since there is no protocol for ‘milk’. However, we continue to keep to the Fair Trade principles and practices.
Fair trade advocates generally support the following principles and practices in trading relationships:
- Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
- Fair trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system.
- Transparency and accountability
- Fair trade involves transparent management and commercial relations to deal fairly and respectfully with trading partners.
- Capacity building
- Fair trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. Fair trade relationships provide continuity, during which producers and their marketing organizations can improve their management skills and their access to new markets.
- Payment of a fair price
- A fair price in the regional or local context is one that has been agreed through dialogue and participation. It covers not only the costs of production but enables production which is socially just and environmentally sound. It provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fairtraders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing. (Yellow Valley Cheese pays over 20% more than the average market price for the milk, farmers are paid on time and on agreed terms).
- Gender equality
- Fair trade means that the work of men and women is properly valued and rewarded. Each person is always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organizations, regardless of gender.
- Working conditions
- Fair trade means a safe and healthy working environment for producers. The participation of children (if any) does not adversely affect their well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play and conforms to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the law and norms in the local context.
- Environmental protection
- Fair trade actively encourages better environmental practices and the application of responsible methods of production.