News Update

Organic Planet Worker Co-op: Manitobans ‘Go Bananas’ for Fair Trade Produce!

Posted March 16th 2010

Organic Planet Worker Co-op could be seen as a trailblazer on a variety of paths. Founded as a worker-owned co-operative in 2003, the grocery, vegan deli and health product retailer has been a leader in providing organic and locally-sourced food products to customers—and recently, they’ve added ‘fair trade’ to their list of sustainable contributions. Located in the heart of Winnipeg’s Wolseley area, at 877 Westminster Avenue, Organic Planet Worker Co-op has committed to building a strong neighbourhood through adhering to the principles of Community Economic Development, while running on a non-hierarchical system of consensus and worker equality. However, you don’t have to have a ‘membership’ to shop at Organic Planet—their sales are open to the public!

Organic Planet has been offering Transfair Canada-certified bananas for six months, fair trade avocados for four months, and now also carries mangoes and blueberries. Andy Blum, the store’s Produce Manager, is proud of the move towards offering fair trade, organic produce: “I feel like [fair trade] is a really important part of our business. Every so often we get updates on the growers from the different regions, on how they’re treated, the benefits they receive from some of the products directly. It’s great that we’re a part of that process…it really makes you feel good.” Andy also mentions that Organic Planet has carried fair trade grapefruit in the past, and is hoping to be selling more leafy vegetables, like fair trade chard and kale in the near future. He notes that the fair trade produce they’ve been carrying has been quite popular, and that prices are very comparable to the regular organic produce on their shelves.

Andy also expresses appreciation for the quality of their fair trade produce. He comments that it only takes about five days from the time the blueberries are picked in Chile, to when they arrive at their store (from their Vancouver supplier, Discovery Organics). He also acknowledges the long-term support these direct-trading relationships have on producers; for example, despite the recent earthquake in Chile affecting blueberry growers, they have assistance provided through their fair trade certification to recover and continue their livelihoods.

Aside from the produce, Organic Planet Worker Co-op also sells both packaged and prepared fair trade coffee, tea and hot chocolate, fair trade chocolate bars, cocoa and sugar. Andy hopes to see even more fair trade products on the shelves in the future, stating, “We get fair trade whenever possible. If the choice is there, it’s kind of a no-brainer, that’s what we’re going to go for”. It’s easy to see how the folks at Organic Planet Worker Co-op are leaders in providing fresh, healthy and ethically-produced food in Manitoba, supporting communities at home and abroad.

See more information about Organic Planet in our consumer guide listing: Organic Planet Worker Co-op

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This program was made possible with financial support of the Government of Manitoba,
and was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

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