Learning with Liberation on National Nut Day

Learning with Liberation on National Nut Day
19 octobre 2023

Liberation are a pioneering social enterprise and Community Interest Company that is majority owned by smallholder nut farmers from around the world. They share an ethos of people over profit, and this is achieved by the sustainable sourcing of their products by farmers that are paid a fair wage. On Sunday 22nd October, we celebrated National Nut Day, which was developed in 2015 by Liberation Foods to spotlight and support the efforts of these farmers and all of the actors throughout the supply chain. Since it’s conception, the event has gained popularity worldwide and particularly in the United States.

Our Coffee and Learn Session

On Wednesday 27th September, the Shared Interest team participated in a Coffee and Learn Workshop with Liberation, hosted by Managing Director Dan Binks. Amidst the global pandemic of 2021, which spawned a challenging market in the UK, Liberation defied the odds to end the year with a profit, securing incomes for over 35,000 smallholder farmers, gatherers and their communities. During our session, Dan shared with us the steadfast mission and ambition of Liberation – the UK’s only Fairtrade, farmer-owned nut company: ‘We are sustainable. We work with smallholder farmers. We are ethical. We put the people first.’

Dan joined Liberation in early 2013 as Technical Manager, bringing extensive commodity sector experience in organic, conventional and Fairtrade, and a solid technical and manufacturing background. Through his time at the company, he has worked in collaboration with producer organisations, both on projects and technical strategy. Dan was also the driver and instigator behind Liberation gaining BRC accreditation in 2017 (pertaining to food safety, quality and sustainability). 

In June 2020, the Board invited Dan to step up into the leadership role for an interim period, which concluded in Dan being offered the permanent role of Managing Director in December 2020. Dan holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Food Quality from Bournemouth University.

“It is inspiring to start the day connecting with a member of this amazing community of Fair Trade. We share the same values and work for the same purpose of improving the life of producers around the world. It reminds me where our heart is, and it is with all producers who are looking for better conditions. Having the opportunity to contribute to this mission is amazing.”

Karolina Jimenez, Shared Interest Colleague, Central America

Feed Me Fairtrade: Making Thai Peanut and Butternut Curry Inspired by Liberation 

In our new Feed Me Fairtrade video, our Partnerships Manager Sally takes inspiration from our recent Coffee and Learn session and celebrates the long-lasting, far-reaching relationship between Shared Interest and Liberation by having a go at creating a warming Thai Peanut and Butternut Squash Curry, using Liberation peanut butter and cashew nuts. Through our series, we hope to inspire you with ways you can contribute to the Fairtrade movement, whether it be living, buying or investing ethically. Read on to learn more about Liberation and their transformational approach to fair enterprise. 

You can check out the video below:

Equitable Supply Chains mean Exceptional Products

Liberation have a flat supply chain wherein stakeholders decide equitable remuneration on the basis of value: ensuring as much value as possible is retained by the farmers themselves. Dan told us that one of the ways value is retained within the supply chain is by adding value at origin, and that their first packed-at-origin cashews are expected to arrive soon from India, with more of these products planned in the future.

With regards to their product range, Liberation boast an inventive selection of nuts inspired by flavors from around the world, reflective of their global impact, such as peri-peri and wasabi. Whilst they have concentrated on nuts to date, Liberation plan to diversify into other commodity areas such as sesame, tahini, sesame oil and nut and seed oils. The organization is also committed to helping the producers they work with develop into other areas and diversify, such as bringing acai berries and coconut oil into producer enterprises in case of crop failure of the brazil nut in the future.

Liberation and Del Campo

Since the establishment of Liberation in 2006, they have been working with Del Campo, an umbrella for eight co-operative members located in the Pacific of Nicaragua, in the departments of Rivas, Leon and Chinandega. The co-operatives are dedicated to the production of peanuts, grains, honey and livestock, whilst their primary crop is sesame and they have worked closely with The Body Shop, providing sesame oils to go into their products. In 2022, Liberation purchased 487.48 tonnes of Fairtrade nuts and dried fruits in total. This includes 220 tonnes of peanuts from Nicaragua.

Liberation and Fair Trade Alliance Kerala

Liberation have also worked with Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) since 2010, another co-operative with a strong focus on gender equality and regenerative agricultural practices. FTAK are a farmer-led movement formed in 2006 and based in South India. Their mission is to enable farmers to access the global market and improve their income through Fairtrade. FTAK joins 11 producer co-operatives in Malawi, Nicaragua and Bolivia in ownership of a 44% share in Liberation Foods, meaning they also have an active role in its governance and more power within their supply chain.

"Organic, Fairtrade principles are vital for upholding producer interests. If there had been more relationships like the one between FTAK and Liberation, many farmers futures may have been saved during the pandemic."

Tomy Mathews ~ Director of Elements, Kerala

Dan told us that FTAK are in the process of becoming RegenAgri certified. RegenAgri is an international regenerative agriculture program for securing the health of the land and the wealth of those who live on it. The program supports farms and organisations transitioning to holistic farming, increasing soil health, encouraging biodiversity, reducing green house gas emissions and sequestering CO2. Dan believes many of their smallholder plots of land have such great quantities of biodiversity that they can act as carbon sinks.

Shared Interest has proudly supported Liberation with fair finance since 2007. In this respect, it is easier to see how the ethical purchasing of Liberation consumers, or the investments of Shared Interest members, can branch off into many positive social, economic and environmental impacts throughout each stage of the supply chain and across every corner of the world.

"Because when someone buys something, they're collaborating with producers. They should choose them because they are contributing to the lives of many families. It's a purchase of much higher value."

Edwin ~ Del Campo Coop, Nicaragua

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