Thank You From Workers of First Coffee Innovation Pilot

06/26/2012 - 4:55 PM

Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima (FNSF) is a 230 hectare, 100% organic, family-owned coffee farm in the Cerrado Region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. With 110 farm workers in employment, 40% of whom are women, FNSF became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified coffee estate in January 2012.

In the translated letter below—which has been posted with permission of FNSF—the farm workers express their deep gratitude for the opportunity to be included in Fair Trade, and their sincere belief in a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Grupo Saquarema Header


  • Presidente, Directors and other partners at FAIR TRADE USA
  • FAIR TRADE coffee buyers partners of Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fátima
  • FAIR TRADE importers and roasters in the U.S.

We, the workers of the Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima, want to thank U.S. consumers for buying Fair Trade coffee from our farm.

Our farm recently became the first Fair Trade Certified coffee estate in the world (and only one in the world so far). This is a great honor for us and we are very happy to join the global Fair Trade community. As a result of our first sale to the U.S. market under the Fair Trade label, we recently received our first Fair Trade premium. We decided democratically to use part of this money to provide dental and eye care to the workers on the farm and our families. We are getting more access to medical exams and general healthcare. For some of us, this was the first time in our lives to visit the dentist, get examined by an ophthalmologist and be able to receive eyeglasses. Many of us did not have money to buy eyeglasses, but thanks to the Fair Trade premium, this became a reality for our lives.

We are happy and grateful to have this new opportunity for our families and our community. We understand that there is some debate going on about the rights of farm workers to participate in Fair Trade. We believe that farm workers like us should have equal rights to enjoy the opportunities of Fair Trade. We believe that more farm workers should be able to receive and use Fair Trade premium in a just and democratic way.

Thank you again for buying Fair Trade coffee from Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fátima.  This reality makes us dream of a better future for ourselves and our families.

Fair Trade Committee and workers
Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fátima – Grupo Saquarema

Read the original letter in Portuguese and in English

We are deeply humbled by these words. They reaffirm our profound commitment to slow, transparent piloting, in the hopes of one day making a greater dent in global poverty.

Throughout the pilot phase we will be consistently monitoring, evaluating, and reporting our progress on each and every program, at both the farm and sector level. Like the workers of Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima, we too believe that farm workers and small farmers alike “should have equal rights to enjoy the opportunities of Fair Trade.”

Fair Trade USA understands that in times of growth and change there is often uncertainty, and we encourage open, honest, and respectful debate. We encourage those who are interested in learning more to visit as we continue to invest in and support co-ops to ensure they remain strong and competitive now and in the future, while simultaneously innovating with care to deliver more impact for more people.

Glasses provided to workers of Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fátima

Maria Filha de Jesus receives her first pair of eyeglasses


06/26/2012 - 4:55 PM
06/26/2012 - 4:24 PM