For a Better World

Fair World Project

Behind every single thing you wear, eat, and use, there are countless untold stories. For a Better World is a show about fair trade and the farmer and worker-led movements that are fighting for fair food and farming systems. Each season, we dive into the hidden environmental and social costs behind an everyday item—from chocolate bars to t-shirts. In each episode, we’ll take you around the world to break down the main ingredients and meet some of the farmers, workers, and activists involved along the supply chain. And you’ll hear from people who are building alternative models that are rooted in justice and can heal the earth—building a better world for everyone. Join host Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project on the new podcast, For a Better World. New episodes released every other Tuesday. If you like what you hear, support our work on Patreon at patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. Learn more at FairWorldProject.org

Fair Work for All People: Momentum Builds for Real Change
Mar 1 2022
Fair Work for All People: Momentum Builds for Real Change
Momentum is building across the country and across industries for fair livelihoods and decent work for all people - including farmworkers, who have historically been excluded from too many protections. As this movement for fair work spreads, we catch up with Crispin Hernandez of Workers’ Center of Central New York.   Fair Trade USA’s new “fair trade” dairy label has been on Chobani’s Greek yogurt for nearly a year now, but little has changed for farmworkers. Instead, most of them don’t even know what “fair trade” is and haven’t seen the benefits that are getting sold to ethical consumers. But that’s not stopping Crispin and his allies from pushing for better protections for all farmworkers, including overtime pay at 40 hours/week.  Topics covered include: The history behind a 40-hour work week and how farmworkers have been unjustly excluded from those workplace protections. Growing momentum across the United States for farmworkers to be paid overtime after 40 hours of work. Almost one year after “fair trade dairy” appeared on store shelves, farmworkers’ still don’t know what fair trade is or what benefits and rights they should have. What “fair trade committees” are, how they’re described in the press, and what workers actually experience.   Chobani’s commitment to charity, instead of changing the conditions that force people to depend on that charity.  The real physical consequences of overwork on workers’ health and wellbeing - and how hard it is to get healthcare, even on a farm in the fair trade program. The Farm Laborer Fair Labor Practices Act in New York state and the campaign to lower the overtime threshold to 40 hours for farmworkers.  How fear of retaliation continues under the fair trade program, and has far-reaching consequences Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980. “Milked: Immigrant Farmworkers in New York State” is definitive research into the conditions on dairy farms in New York, presented by Workers’ Center of Central New York to Chobani: ( Magazine article highlighting the ways the new “fair trade” dairy program is failing workers: ( World Project’s report on the “fair trade dairy” label and the standards behind it: ( Gray’s op-ed on why so few farm worker voices were heard at the New York state wage board meeting: ( highlighting the connections between overtime for farm workers and workplace health and safety:  ( on the origins of farmworkers’ exclusion from workplace protections, and the worker-led movements for change: ( Farmer’s Guide to the New York state Department of Labor: (
Milking the Planet: Big Dairy Fuels the Climate Crisis
Dec 14 2021
Milking the Planet: Big Dairy Fuels the Climate Crisis
Industrial animal agriculture is fueling the climate crisis, with food and farming systems accounting for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And while big dairy operations are contributing to climate change, they are also impacting the health and economies of rural communities throughout the United States and globally. And that is the model that Fair Trade USA has dubbed “fair trade dairy.” In this episode, Shefali Sharma of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy joins us to discuss the role of Big Dairy in fueling the climate crisis and hollowing out rural communities. She explains the need for transparency and real policy solutions to address industrial agriculture’s emissions – and protect the planet for future generations. Topics covered include: How industrial animal agriculture is contributing to climate change. How Big Meat and Dairy hide their climate impact behind a lack of transparency. Manure lagoons, dead zones, and other environmental consequences for rural communities. “Net Zero” and other tricky language Big Dairy corporations use to hide their real impact on the planet.  How environmental sustainability is a pillar of how fair trade farmer organizations represent their movement - and how it’s completely omitted from the new “fair trade dairy” label. The disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on communities of color in the U.S. and globally. Regulating emissions, reducing production, and other solutions to address industrial animal agriculture’s disproportionate impact on our planet.  Why worker-led solutions are a key component of climate justice. False solutions to look out for in the news, and in the grocery store. Resources The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s report: Milking the Planet: How Big Dairy is heating up the planet and hollowing rural communities: ( on the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency calling for regulation of industrial dairy and hog farming, citing the disproportionate impacts of industrial animal agriculture on communities of color and rural communities: (  More on false solutions to the problems of industrial dairy: ( of the climate crisis on farmworkers and how organized workers are pushing for new heat protections under the law: ( worker-driven programs are able to respond nimbly to the challenges of a changing planet: (
Get Big or Get Out: Dairy Farmers of America
Nov 30 2021
Get Big or Get Out: Dairy Farmers of America
Dairy is big business. And while the workers and small-scale dairy farmers are getting squeezed out, those at the top are reaping the benefits and getting even richer. Farmers originally organized cooperatives to build power and market share. But one of those cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America, has gotten so big and powerful, there are questions about whose interests they are serving.  In this episode, we unpack the growing corporate consolidation in the dairy industry and rise of farmer cooperative Dairy Farmers of America. Claire Kelloway of Open Markets Institute breaks down what the push to“get big or get out” means for farmers, workers, and consumers--and some ways to challenge that growing corporate power. Topics covered include: Bad cafeteria food is a norm that’s hard to escape – and that’s because the system is rigged that way. How the dairy industry is changing with more cows packed onto fewer farms, and driving a crisis of low prices and overproduction. The role of farmer cooperatives in supporting farmers’ livelihoods - and how those structures can go wrong. The rise of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) – and why this powerful mega-cooperative has been sued by the very farmers who own it. How Fair Trade USA’s “fair trade dairy” label is putting its seal of approval on some of the root causes of “Unfair Dairy.” The era of the “Robber Barons” and what that has in common with today’s industrial food system. Anti-trust law, and how it can be a powerful tool to support building a fair food system for farmers, workers, and all of us who eat. Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980. Resources Claire Kelloway’s reporting on cafeteria contractors and how that system is rigged in favor of big food companies: ( by Leah Douglas covering Dairy Farmers of America: (  Learn more about the potential of cooperatives as a tool for farmers to transform their livelihoods and build alternative economic structures from Andres Gonzales of Manduvira Cooperative in Season One of For a Better World: (  More of Claire Kelloway’s writing on Dairy Farmers of America: (  Claire Kelloway and Open Markets Institute piece on how anti-monopoly and anti-trust rules can support worker organizing and a more democratic economy: ( Markets Institute report on “Redeeming the Democratic Promise of Agricultural Cooperatives” (
Squeezed Out: Small Dairy Farmers in Crisis
Nov 16 2021
Squeezed Out: Small Dairy Farmers in Crisis
There’s a crisis in the dairy industry  – shrinking family farms, growing corporate consolidation, and low milk prices. And while the new “fair trade dairy” label depicts rolling green hills and picturesque red barns – that imagery is nothing more than a feel good marketing tactic.  In this episode, we hear how  Jim Goodman – one of the hundreds of dairy farmers impacted by the dairy crisis – struggled to keep his family farm afloat and compete with the big dairy companies. Jim talks about how generations of failed farm policy motivated his current work with the National Family Farm Coalition’s Disparity to Parity project, an effort dedicated to mandating fair pricing and building “a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.” Topics covered include: Corporate consolidation in the dairy industry and the explosion of mega dairies that are squeezing small dairy farmers out of business. The “get big or get out” approach to U.S. farm policy and how it shaped the current state of the dairy industry in the U.S. Organic dairy was originally a solution to match farmers with markets that would pay fairly for milk--what’s changed since the 1990s.  Family Farm Defenders’ idea of domestic fair trade encompassing “worker rights, food sovereignty, and global justice.” Behind the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)’s big promises for dairy farmers. National Family Farm Coalition’s Disparity to Parity project and their vision for fair pricing and “a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.” The long history of global opposition to free trade deals and the commodification of food. How the new “fair trade dairy” label is just another marketing scheme.   Resources National Family Farm Coalition: ( to Parity: ( Farm Defenders: ( Fair Trade Home to the U.S., written by John Peck: ​​ (
Milk with Dignity: Real Change Takes Time
Nov 2 2021
Milk with Dignity: Real Change Takes Time
The products you see at the grocery store with labels that promise to protect people and the planet don’t tell the full story. And oftentimes those labels are full of empty promises. But what if there was another way to ensure products are sourced from farms that put workers’ rights ahead of marketing?  The Vermont-based and worker-led organization Migrant Justice is doing just that. They call their Milk with Dignity program a “new day for human rights in dairy,” and in this episode we talk with organizer Marita Canedo.  Topics covered include: How the struggle for human rights and against corporate exploitation spans the globe. How Migrant Justice was formed and grew to focus on fundamental rights and protections, including freedom of movement, dignified work and safe housing, and freedom from discrimination. Migrant Justice’s successful campaign for driver’s licenses for all people in Vermont, regardless of their immigration status.  What Worker-driven Social Responsibility means and what it looks like for workers to lead in developing standards for enforceable human rights protections on dairy farms. How programs like Milk with Dignity tackle the root causes of exploitation in the food system by addressing the power dynamics.  How the Milk with Dignity program protected essential workers throughout the pandemic. How Milk with Dignity compares to the “ (Fair Trade Dairy” discussed in Episode 2). Migrant Justice’s current campaign calling on Hannafords to join the Milk with Dignity program. Resources: Learn more about Migrant Justice: ( and see (their impact reporting here). On November 8th after a 3 week “Dignity Tour” around Northeast states, Migrant Justice is hosting a big action at Hannaford headquarters to call on them to join the Milk with Dignity program. Join them to show them that farmworkers are not alone, and that there is a national movement for dignity and economic justice in the dairy supply chains. For more information, go to their website, or ( the Northeastern U.S., you can still take action: Call on  Hannafords to join Milk with Dignity online: ( World Project’s report, Label Before Labor compares Milk with Dignity to Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label: (fairworld.info/labelbeforelabor).
Fair Trade Dairy: A False Solution
Oct 19 2021
Fair Trade Dairy: A False Solution
Crispin Hernandez and the Workers' Center of Central New York won historic legal protections for farmworkers in Episode 1. Now they take their demands to Chobani’s doorstep, backed by a detailed report.  But instead of negotiating with workers, Chobani chose a different path. They partnered with Fair Trade USA to develop a new “Fair Trade Dairy” standard, and rolled out a “Milk Matters” platform. But they aren’t engaging with workers.  Topics covered include: The massive growth of the industrial dairy industry at the expense of farm workers’ health and wellbeing. Workers’ Center of Central New York’s research into conditions on dairy farms in New York State, including those selling to Chobani.  Crispin and organizers deliver their demands straight to Chobani’s doorstep, calling for recognition of their rights and negotiations.  Farm workers’ demand for an alternative to Chobai and Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label that requires Chobani to work with dairy farms that respect workers’ rights How Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Dairy” label was developed without farmworkers, a clear contrast from the farmworkers’ demands of Chobani What has (and hasn’t) changed since Workers Center of Central New York brought their demands to Chobani’s door.  Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear about your experiences. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980. Resources: Learn more about Crispin’s work and the Workers’ Center of Central New York at ( the Milked report, detailing conditions on New York dairy farms written by Workers Center of Central New York and allies and presented to Chobani: (  See the open letter to Chobani from New York worker groups detailing their demands and opposition to “Fair Trade Dairy”: ( out where farm workers are organizing around the country and learn more about the work of Food Chain Workers’ Alliance: ( to For a Better World and be the first to know when new episodes drop: ( Fair World Project’s email list to stay in the loop about efforts big and small you can be a part of to create a better world: (
“No Blood for Milk” - Dairy Workers Call on Chobani for Justice
Oct 19 2021
“No Blood for Milk” - Dairy Workers Call on Chobani for Justice
There’s an idyllic, pastoral image that runs through dairy marketing. Green hills, red barns, black and white cows: that’s the image that the new “Fair Trade Dairy” label is selling. But that label papers over a long history of exploitation.  This episode, we talk to Crispin Hernandez of the Workers’ Center of Central New York. He’s milked cows and put in long hours on farms selling to Chobani and he knows that the conditions are far from “fair.” He describes the real victories that farmworkers and human rights activists have won through organizing - and why Fair Trade USA’s new “Fair Trade Dairy” label is being opposed by the very people it claims to benefit. Topics covered include: Chobani and Fair Trade USA’s new partnership in the “Fair Trade Dairy” label that claims to promote “Worker Wellbeing.” What a typical day looks like from the perspective of someone who has milked cows on farms selling to Chobani. Just because the pay is low, doesn’t mean it’s low skilled work - the skill and care that goes into working in a dairy barn.  Crispin and his fellow farm workers organize for better working conditions and recognition of their fundamental rights. “No Blood in Milk,” how farmworkers and allies take action against workplace abuses. How plantation agriculture and outdated laws leave farmworkers vulnerable to exploitation.  Crispin and the Workers' Center of Central New York win a historic case that grants new protections for all farmworkers in New York State. Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear about your experiences. Send a message to info@fairworldproject.org or call (800) 631-9980. Resources Learn more about Crispin’s work and the Workers’ Center of Central New York at ( to For a Better World and be the first to know when new episodes drop: ( Fair World Project’s email list to stay in the loop about efforts big and small you can be a part of to create a better world: (
How We Hold Corporations Accountable
Apr 27 2021
How We Hold Corporations Accountable
In the course of this series, we’ve seen the ways that corporate goodwill alone is not enough to ensure fair livelihoods for farmers, or to protect the planet that we all share. Nestle, and so many other corporations, are ready to dodge commitments in order to protect their profits. In this episode, we delve into the change needed to end exploitation as usual—and create space to thrive for the inspiring farmer- and community-led projects we’ve heard from throughout this series.   In our final episode of the season, we’re unwrapping our own thoughts on those questions and joining us is Charity Ryerson, Executive Director and founder of Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL). She’s suing Nestle and other big chocolate brands for their continued use of child labor—and a business model that is built on exploitation. This conversation explores creative strategies to raise the cost of business-as-usual, and the political change we need to build true corporate accountability. Listen for more ways to take action—not just as consumers, but as global citizens. Take Action Beyond of the Episode: Add your name to our (petition) and tell Nestlé, Cargill, and other big chocolate companies to STOP using child labor in their supply chains. Then, join us on May 7, 2021 at 10 AM PST for a webinar in celebration of World Fair Trade Day: Building a Fair, Ethical Chocolate Trade. Featuring panelists from Alter Eco, Dr. Bronner’s, Norandino Cooperative, Equal Exchange, and Serendipalm—plus a live Q&A to follow! Seats are limited, so (register now) to reserve your spot!
Money and Power: The Unnamed Ingredients
Apr 13 2021
Money and Power: The Unnamed Ingredients
The world’s biggest chocolate companies have been promising to end child labor in their supply chains for decades. In that time, they’ve thrown their support behind shiny public relations campaigns to gloss over the problem. They’ve set deadlines, missed them, and moved the finish line, all while they continue business-as-usual. And for over a decade, two of those companies, Nestlé and Cargill, have also been in court with International Rights Advocates (IRA), the organization whose sole focus is to sue multinational companies for violating human rights in their global operations.  In December of 2020, Nestlé and Cargill landed in the Supreme Court for a lawsuit filed by six people who were forced into child labor in their cocoa supply chains. In this episode, we speak with Terry Collingsworth, the Executive Director and attorney at International Rights Advocates that’s representing the six plaintiffs. Are corporations above the law? Do money and power trump human rights? Those are the questions at stake in this case that has the potential to change corporate accountability in the U.S. The conversation marks a turning point as we shift our focus from voluntary certification to the fight to hold corporations responsible in ways that they can’t just walk away from.  Take Action: Add your name to the (petition) and tell Nestlé, Cargill, and other big chocolate companies to STOP using child labor in their supply chains. Then, join us on May 7, 2021 at 10 AM PST for a live, online conversation about building a more ethical future in the chocolate industry. (Register now) to reserve your spot!
Building the Campaign Against Nestle
Mar 30 2021
Building the Campaign Against Nestle
In this episode, we head to York, England, where Nestle’s UK KitKat bars are manufactured. Here, we speak with the campaigner who successfully brought international attention to Nestle’s decision to drop Fairtrade certification.  When Nestle first announced the decision, Joanna Pollard, Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire, sent Nestle a letter urging them to change course. She received no response. So, Joanna wrote another letter to Nestle—except this one also included the signatures of over 300,000 people from around the world who were joining in solidarity with cocoa farmers. That letter received a response from Nestle—and it also brought them to the negotiating table. While the fight is far from over, Joanna’s organizing efforts serve as a reminder of our collective strength when we join together in solidarity. When it comes to holding multinational corporations accountable, not one of us is powerful enough on our own, but when we organize together we can build that power.  Feeling inspired to take action? Add your name to our petition and help us send a resounding message to the world’s biggest chocolate companies: it’s time to end the systemic exploitation of cocoa farmers and address the root causes of child labor in West African cocoa: the show? Rate, review, subscribe and support our work on Patreon: patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. For a Better World is a show by Fair World Project. Learn more about our work and sign up for our newsletter at FairWorldProject.org. Stay in touch with us between episodes by following us on Twitter and Instagram: @fairworldprj and on Facebook: @fairworldproject.
Fair Trade: From Movement to Market
Mar 16 2021
Fair Trade: From Movement to Market
With so many companies making fair trade, ethical, and sustainability claims, it can be difficult to navigate the nuance from one label to the next. In this episode, we’re taking a break from the ingredients in the KitKat bar to look at the label that wraps them all together.  Before a fair trade label became just one of many ethical labels in the marketplace, fair trade was a movement, built by and for small-scale farmers. A movement rooted in democracy, transparency, equity, and long-term trade relationships. As for the labels themselves? Those are just a tool. The real goal is to get companies to commit to trading fairly with the people who grow their ingredients. When Nestle’s UK KitKat bar became fair trade certified, some wondered if this could be a turning point. Instead, in the middle of a global pandemic, they dropped fair trade for Rainforest Alliance—a labeling scheme with no minimum price guarantee. In this episode, we head to the coffee fields of Nicaragua to speak with Merling Preza, one of the original leaders of the fair trade movement and the General Manager of PRODECOOP. Merling helps us wrap up the first half of this season by bringing together fair trade’s history with a vision for its future. And together, we find out how we can all support small-scale farmers and their vision for a more fair economy.  Enjoyed the show? Rate, review, subscribe and support our work on Patreon: patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. For a Better World is a show by Fair World Project. Learn more about our work and sign up for our newsletter at FairWorldProject.org. Stay in touch with us between episodes by following us on Twitter and Instagram: @fairworldprj and on Facebook: @fairworldproject.
Palm Oil: Industrial Destruction, Regenerative Promise
Mar 2 2021
Palm Oil: Industrial Destruction, Regenerative Promise
Palm oil is everywhere—it’s in chocolate bars, packaged foods, even beauty care products and biofuels. But its ubiquity has come at the expense of forest communities whose lands have been stolen and subsequently destroyed, fueling human rights abuses and the climate crisis. This is episode 3 of Nestle’s KitKat Unwrapped, and in it we’re exploring the slippery business of palm oil. In this episode, we speak with Robin Averbeck, Forest Program Director at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), as they describe how Nestle and other Big Food companies have turned palm oil into one of the leading global drivers of deforestation. Then, we speak with Safianu Moro, Managing Director of Serendipalm Company Limited in Ghana. Here, small-scale farmers are growing palm oil regeneratively, on small plots of land that are rich in biodiversity. Taken together, their stories provide a striking contrast and a strong reminder: like most crops, palm oil is not inherently destructive or exploitative—the industrialized food system is. For a Better World is a show by Fair World Project. Learn more about the show at FairWorldProject.org. If you like what you hear, support our work on Patreon: patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. Enjoyed the show? Rate, review, and subscribe! Stay in touch with us between episodes by following us on Twitter and Instagram: @fairworldprj and on Facebook: @fairworldproject, or sign-up for our newsletter:
Sugar: Building a Sweeter Future
Feb 16 2021
Sugar: Building a Sweeter Future
From the trans-Atlantic slave trade to present-day trade policies, sugar is a crop that has shaped a lot of the world—and it continues to have very big, real-life consequences for the communities that grow it. This is episode 2 of Nestle’s KitKat Unwrapped, and we’re diving into the world of sugar. Before sugar made it to Nestle’s (formerly) fair trade certified UK KitKat bar, it was grown, harvested, and shipped from Fiji, a small island nation nearly 10,000 miles away from the English factory where it would be used. Why was Nestle going to such great lengths for Fijian sugar? The answer is tangled in the bitter history of both countries. Karen Mapasua of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) helps us understand how this history continues to impact the island today. Then we speak with Andres Gonzales of the Manduvira sugar cooperative in Paraguay. Here, cooperatively organized, small-scale sugar farmers are bucking the global sugar establishment and making history with a farmer-owned sugar growing and milling operation. The success in their community shows an inspiring alternative to business-as-usual and lights the way toward a sweeter future in sugar.  Since we originally recorded this episode, the island of Fiji was hit by Cyclone Yasa, a category five tropical cyclone. Winds reached 160 mph and heavy rains destroyed food and sugarcane crops for 90-100% of Fijian households. The consequences of the climate crisis continue to disproportionately impact those least responsible. To learn more and support relief efforts, follow the link in this episode's transcript. For a Better World is a show by Fair World Project. Learn more about the show at FairWorldProject.org. If you like what you hear, support our work on Patreon: patreon.com/ForABetterWorldPodcast. Enjoyed the show? Rate, review, and subscribe! Stay in touch with us between episodes by following us on Twitter and Instagram: @fairworldprj and on Facebook: @fairworldproject, or sign-up for our newsletter: