DiscoverThe Stories Behind Our Food | An Equal Exchange Podcast
The Stories Behind Our Food | An Equal Exchange Podcast
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The Stories Behind Our Food | An Equal Exchange Podcast

Author: Equal Exchange Inc.

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The Stories Behind Our Food podcast explores what we eat and how it gets to us. What are the human stories beyond the labels at a grocery store? Equal Exchange is one of the largest and most successful worker co-ops in the US and one of the largest Alternative Trade Organizations in the world. Listen to farmers, traders, activists and other experts talk about their work ... and expand your palate!
13 Episodes
Dreaming about quitting your day job? Food blogger and photographer Chelsea Colbath decided to pursue her passion for food full time. She joined us to talk about Baked Greens, her food-focused blog and photography business. A participant in Equal Exchange's organizing work, she's engaged in exploring the importance of community and what it means to be an engaged citizen staying authentic in a world dominated by corporations. Chelsea also shared some of the fun sides of her work -- including how she creates simple, affordable, and socially conscious recipes for her followers.You can learn more about Chelsea and Baked Greens at www.bakedgreens.comAnd remember to share this episode with a friend who might enjoy it. This episode was produced by Gary Goodman with hosts Danielle Robidoux & Gary Goodman. For additional information about this podcast, please visit
Local Meat, Lower Impact

Local Meat, Lower Impact


Did you know that pasture-raised beef can be carbon-negative? Neither did we! Charley Cummings, the founder and CEO of Walden Local Meat, started his business to help New England farmers bring their best cuts right to customers’ doors. His model shows that regenerative agriculture can benefit animal welfare, local economies and the environment, all at the same time. To kick off the second season of The Stories Behind Our Food, we traveled to snowy Billerica, MA to record this episode and find out how the folks at Walden do what they do – and why. Charley believes the industrial food system contributes to an estrangement between rural and urban, but our growing interest in good food pushes back against that. Can high-quality, sustainably raised meat bring neighbors closer together?Visit Walden Local Meat online: remember to share this episode with a friend who might enjoy it. This episode was produced by Gary Goodman with host Kate Chess. For additional information about this podcast, please visit
Where do you go to find the most unusual spices? Former chef Ethan Frisch travels all over the world. More specifically, he seeks out farmers who are growing herbs and seasonings of exceptional quality, and through his company, Burlap & Barrel, he helps them connect with a global market. This month on The Stories Behind Our Food, Ethan joined us for a conversation about fair trade and the entrepreneurial spirit.You’ll hear how modern technology can allow a farmer in Vietnam to help a farmer in Tanzania. You’ll learn what’s wrong with the spices in your cabinet (hint: your cinnamon is probably very old!) And if you’re like us, you’ll be inspired to look at those jars in a whole new way.Visit Burlap & Barrel online: www.burlapandbarrel.comThis episode was produced by Gary Goodman with hosts Kate Chess and Danielle Robidoux. For additional information about this podcast, please visit you like this episode? Please help us by sharing it with one person you think would enjoy it.
This month Shirley Sherrod joined us on The Stories Behind Our Food to talk about the half century she’s spent seeking justice for Black farmers. New Communities Inc. in Georgia was the first community land trust in the United States. Weathering discrimination, drought and outright sabotage, this organization has worked nonstop to build a better life for farmers. As the members of New Communities celebrate their 50th anniversary this year on land once owned by the largest slaveholder in the state, they’re looking to the future, planting new trees and bringing younger people into agriculture.Many of the challenges discussed in this episode are specific to Black farmers due to the racism they’ve faced from their white neighbors and from government entities. But there is a lot they have in common with small-scale family farmers around the world. And as New Communities grows, Ms. Sherrod says, “we’ll bring everyone else along with us.” We feel lucky to have had this chance to host Ms. Sherrod who, in addition to her work as an organizer and as former Director of Rural Development for the state of Georgia, is a storyteller with a powerful vision.This episode was produced by Gary Goodman with hosts Kate Chess and Danielle Robidoux. For additional information about this podcast, please visit you like this episode? Please help us by sharing it with one person you think would enjoy it.
Wine for Everyone!

Wine for Everyone!


It seems like there's so many choices when we're shopping for wine. It's easy to get dazzled, confused ... or intimidated. Join our guest Molly Madden, founder of RedHen Collective, who says it's time to take the elitism out of wine culture.RedHen is a cooperative feminist wine import and distribution company that's challenging the status quo. Right now, wine industry undermines its most valuable stakeholders: farmers, women, and people of color. Learn about how RedHen Collective is forging deep and meaningful relationships and pushing back against the snobby reputation of the industry. Wine is for everyone --  boxed, canned, or bottled! 
The Afterlife of Food

The Afterlife of Food


Composting seems simple. Just throw your food scraps in a bin and let them decompose, right? It turns out there’s a lot more to it. We went to an expert, Igor Kharitonenkov, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Boston-based pick-up service Bootstrap Compost, to answer all our questions about what happens to our food once we’re done with it.  Listen in as Igor explains the scientific difference between landfill and compost, reveals some of the most disgusting things he’s found in strangers’ buckets, and explains what it means to run a business that's a social enterprise. Bootstrap turns a city’s unwanted leftovers into food for farms and gardens. That adds up to a big impact. But by thinking more carefully about what we toss, any one of us can made a difference. 
Want to hear some activist war stories? After Rob Everts dropped out of college in 1975, he helped organize consumer boycotts of Gallo wine, Purina Dog Chow and Folgers coffee, building people power. Rob joins us on The Stories Behind Our Food to share some of what he’s learned in the last few decades from his mentors and from the young activists who inspire him today. Rob believes that there are still meaningful steps that average people can take -- beyond likes and clicks and "vote with your dollar" -- to get involved with the causes they care about. As we consider what solidarity looks like in a time of overwhelming challenges, he passes on practical tactics that stand the test of time and lets listeners know how they can involve themselves directly with Equal Exchange's organizing work.
Bad news -- independent family farms are going extinct. Corporations control everything from seeds to supply and prices while chipping away at regulations that inform and protect consumers. It has left the independent food economy especially farmers, devoid of oxygen. How can we change the rules of the game? In this episode, join Joe Maxwell, executive director of the Organization for Competitive Markets as he explains how Big Food hurts American farmers, workers, and shoppers. We discuss how Joe’s history as a hog farmer and legislator has shaped his work in the food system. Learn about how Equal Exchange is working with OCM on a bill to support the independent food economy and how you can get involved, too.
Lots of us like to fantasize about what a career in chocolate might be like. In this episode, Dary Goodrich gets real with us about his job as Chocolate Products Manager. Learn about the process for developing delicious new bars, like the intense 92% cacao Total Eclipse Dark Chocolate, and about the challenge of sourcing cacao from small-scale farmers in West Africa for the first time.
Cristina Liberati's job is to support farmers who are working to improve their crops and make their co-ops as stable as possible. She visits farmer cooperatives in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, coordinating projects funded by the US Agency for International Development. We talked with Cristina about what her routine is like on the day-to-day, how a co-op business can be kind of like a family, and how farmers can learn from each other!
In conflict zones around the world, sexual violence is a tool of power and intimidation. 2018 Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, works tirelessly for the physical and emotional healing of survivors. But what does this have to do with food? And how can people in the US help? In this episode, Beth Ann Caspersen provides an overview of decades of conflict in the DRC, explains how the Congo Coffee Project helps survivors of rape and violence move on with their lives, and provides ways for listeners to get involved.
You get excited about a cool new food company that offers ethical and healthy products. But the next thing you know, they’re out of business – or worse, they’ve been bought up by a giant global conglomerate that doesn’t share your values. If you’ve wondered why this happens again and again, Daniel Fireside can answer your questions. In this episode, Daniel explains how companies can be set up to avoid this trap – and how ethical investment can help.
Back to the Food Co-op

Back to the Food Co-op


In the 1970s, at the dawn of the natural foods movement, Americans were moving from Jello molds and canned vegetables to raw ginger and bulk whole grains. Co-op grocery stores made these new foods accessible -- and their democratic organization structure empowered consumers. In the first-ever 30 minute episode of our storytelling podcast, Susan Sklar takes us back to those days, and shows us how we’ve come full circle.
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