( File photo )

As more produce is offered with a fair trade label and more consumer seek it out, sales are greatly increasing, with Fair Trade USA reporting a 30% jump in 2018.

Fair Trade USA. which certifies fair trade products in North America, showcased the growing variety of fresh produce in the programs at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit expo Oct. 18-19 in Anaheim, Calif.

Fresh produce joining the fair trade ranks in 2018 were:

Fair trade certified produce sold in 2018 raised nearly $8 million in Community Development Funds, according to a Fair Trade USA news release.

“It’s not just issues on the farm, there are structural deficiencies in Baja,” John Erb, vice president of social and environmental impact at Driscoll’s, said in the release. “Bringing that extra (fair trade) premium to workers to help address some of those community issues is more than we could do from just implementing our own standards on the ranches.”

Fair Trade USA coordinated four regional training workshops in Latin America to train the growers new to the program. There are more than 200 growers from nine countries in the program, which is in its fourth year, according to the release.

The fair trade program provides a “framework through the application of the Agricultural Production Standard that helps farms meet and exceed the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh’s Ethical Charter,” according to the release.

“We continue to be encouraged by the brands and retailers that are dramatically increasing their support for farmworkers through fair trade certification,” Nathalie Marin-Gest, head of fresh goods at Fair Trade USA, said in the release. “They have realized that it’s more than just a (Corporate Social Responsibility) move, it's an important investment in their infrastructure and supply chains, further supporting farms in their efforts to retain and attract employees.”

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