Meet the Co-ops
Our Cooperatives and Locations
Alter Eco sources 100% of its products from small-scale farmer-owned cooperatives. We believe this is the most effective way to participate in our global food system, building business relationships that directly improve lives.
Nestled along the river Huayabamba at the edge of the Peruvian Amazon, the farmers of Acopagro Co-op survey a landscape that’s entirely different than it was 15 years ago. In 1994, a United Nations program made it possible for these farmers to begin replacing their illegal coca crops (used to make cocaine) with cocoa, releasing them from an oppressive, volatile and often dangerous relationship with drug traffickers.
10 million trees
Today, they own and operate one of the most successful cocoa cooperatives in all of South America. In addition to the 100% fair trade and organic practices that have allowed them to build economic stability, the farmers are working with Alter Eco on a reforestation project to stabilize the land. With nearly two million native trees planted and 8 million more planned within five years, Acopagro is replenishing the forest canopy, protecting against soil erosion, and preserving its own fragile ecosystem.
1,000,000 tons of C02
The planting of native trees like Mahogany and Caoba has another environmental benefit: carbon capture. Putting more trees in the ground not only helps to prevent big-picture climate change; it maintains the rainy Alto Huayabamba microclimate so necessary for successful cocoa cultivation. And what’s more, Acopagro producers are selling carbon credits and sustainably harvested lumber to help fund the project and provide long-term revenue diversification.
On the island of Negros, nicknamed “sugar island” for its abundance of cane fields, very few farmers own the land they tend. Since 1987, ALTER TRADE Cooperative has been working to change that, creating a system to redistribute profits from sugar cultivation to small producers so that they can earn a living wage and purchase their own plots. Today, the coop includes 17 different farmer groups and two sugar mills, and stands as a shining example of sustainable business and environmental practices.
Quinoa is proudly cultivated by the 1,800 member farmers of the ANAPQUI Cooperative, established in 1983. Harvesting by hand in some of the harshest conditions in the world, these subsistence farmers benefit from a living wage thanks to Fair Trade practices. And with an on-site processing plant, they also reap the profits of direct exporting. The group focuses on empowering farmers to sustain their environment through certified organic farming and traditional cultivation techniques.
Founded in 2005 with the aim of improving the living conditions of small-scale cocoa producers, Ecuador’s Fortaleza Cooperative made it their first priority to gain technical training in production and post harvest management. Now that the farmers have diversified and productive plantations that include cacao, banana, coconut and timber, they are working to catalyze their business. The co-op fosters international collaboration to consistently improve product quality while increasing yields and attracting new partnerships.
Fair Trade Alliance Kerala
Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) was founded in 2005 and has already more than 3,500 members. FTAK draws its membership and character from mass movements of farmers in Kerala, struggling against farmers' indebtedness. FTAK farmers grow a host of tropical products such as cashews, coconut palms, coffee, cocoa, pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and other spices on their small plots. The mixed crop plantations play an important role in preserving local biodiversity and, at the same time, safeguarding the food security of the farming members.
Farmers of FTAK take pride, not only in providing food security within their community, but also in helping to preserve the wildlife in the land they share.
The 400 farmers of SURIN Cooperative tend their small plots – often as little as three acres – with a mix of ancestral knowledge and modern standards. Since the mid 90‘s, the group has been working to develop an alternative agricultural system that promotes sustainable livelihoods, community food security and environmental conservation. Training, particularly in organic methods, is a lifelong process, and one they promote throughout the region. Thanks to close collaboration with Alter Eco, three new co-ops in Surin province are joining the fray.