What’s the real science of organic food vs. produce treated with chemicals? Is one clearly better than the other? This video breaks down the debate into practical terms. But if you can count on one thing, the debate is certain to carry one.
Grocery chain Whole Foods announced this week that they would stop selling items provided by vendors who use prison labor. ABC Newsreports that by April, 2016, products provided by prisoners participating in an incarceration-to-work program, will no longer be sold by the company. The move came in response to a proposed protest at one of the Whole Foods’ Texas stores, organized by prison reform activists angry over the chain’s partnership with several vendors who, in turn, use workers from Colorado Correctional Industries, a division of that state’s department of corrections.
Actress America Ferrera meets the artisan women of Anchal.
It's estimated that between 2 and 3 million Indian women are commercial sex workers. Born into poor families, girls as young as 12—many with mothers already in the sex industry—are initiated into this trade as a means of survival. They are often forced to drop out of school, and in essence, society. As a result of their lack of education, they can spend a lifetime at the mercy of clients, pimps, and in worst case scenarios, their own failing health. Economic need, familial coercion, and a lack of employment options in remote areas can often force women into this type of sexual slavery—creating a cycle that can feel unbreakable. While there are several India-based NGOs that seek to help these women, the numbers are overwhelming. Anchal, a Louisville, KY-based clothing line that provides textile careers to commercial sex workers (by partnering with groups like Anoothi/Vatsalya in Ajmer, Rajasthan and New Light in Kolkata, West Bengal), helps these women find alternative ways of creating capital and gaining new skills.
In the fall of 2014 Patagonia will begin selling Fair Trade Certified apparel. We’re starting small, with ten women’s sportswear styles sewn in a factory in India owned by Pratibha, but this is a big move for our company and for me personally. Fair Trade USA ensures that workers are fairly paid, work in safe conditions, and protect the environment. Fair Trade Certification of these ten styles is an important step in the long-term effort to gain a living wage for the people who make Patagonia’s products.