The Buzz on Fair Trade

Honey bees and human rights intertwine

Once again honey logo

Once Again Nut Butter is an employee-owned company. Beekeeper sustainability projects and the establishment of fair trade infrastructure have been an important part of our work at Once Again. 

About 17 years ago, Jubilee House, a 501(c)3 charity, contacted Once Again Nut Butter’s co-founders, Jeremy Thaler and Constance Potter, regarding growing sesame seeds in Nicaragua for Once Again. After a visit there, Thaler made an inquiry about the possibility of having the locals source honey. Thaler and Jubilee House contacted and began working with three honey producing cooperatives: Las Flores, San Ramon and COSAP in Mateare (the latter started by a group of nuns). These three co-ops were in need of startup help, and Jubilee House assisted them in getting their bee farms’ organic certification. 

 Once Again supported this work through an interest-free microlending initiative that was used to expand the co-op’s production, add hives, and build a processing room, along with investment in some equipment. Later, after the success of the bee co-ops, Once Again purchased their honey and donated the balance of the loaned funds to set up the bee farms’ expansion needs. 

We also have a domestic commitment to fair trade. When you enjoy our clover and wildflower honey, you are partnering with us in supporting and sustaining small and rural beekeepers in Western New York. Located within 60 miles of Once Again, these beekeepers are from  family-run farms in rural communities. The wildflower and clover honey is harvested from bee farms located in some of the poorest counties in New York State. We’ve enjoyed a relationship with these beekeepers for more than a decade. We are currently in the process of having them Domestic Fair Trade Certified through the Agricultural Justice Project. 

Our honey has been available under the Dawes Hill Honey brand name for the last 18 years. Once Again is launching two new honeys, both organic and fair trade certified: our Killer Bee Honey and Rain Flower Honey. Both of these organic honeys are from the jungles of Brazil. Our Killer Bee Honey is harvested by the indigenous beekeepers of the Amazon. While killer bees are known for being hardy pollinators and for aggressively protecting their hives, people have no fear of our wonderfully rich tasting aromatic Killer Bee Honey. Our Rain Flower honey is collected by small communities of beekeepers through varying flowering seasons, gathered and blended from a variety of beautiful wild rainforest flowers in Brazil. 

Our commitment to Jubilee House

An important aspect of our fair trade work has been in our commitment to Jubilee House, a charity that has numerous projects that establish employment in one of the poorest nations in our hemisphere. The Jubilee House has created a program called The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA). The CDCA is working with poverty-stricken people who do not have basic human rights. 

What are basic human rights? CDCA believes, and we believe, that people have the right to clean water, sanitation, food, education, health care, work, clothing, and decent housing. The CDCA strives to help communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities. The Jubilee House has a medical clinic that supports 15,000 community members, has started multiple sewing
co-ops, and has established 11 sesame-growing co-ops.  

Once Again supports the programs of Jubilee House in several ways. We purchase sesame seeds from these co-ops and donate a portion of our sesame purchases to the Jubilee House. Eleven years ago, Once Again planted four acres of test plots with the help of Jubilee House. Today, we -support 11 co-ops, encompassing close to 2,000 farmers in Nicaragua. 

See other articles from this issue: #150 September - October 2010
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