Fair Trade in Toronto

Toronto Life
Fair Trade Canada
Fair Trade Canada

The fair trade market approach, which is helping producers in developing countries by improving their trade conditions and supporting sustainability, is growing stronger each year. In 2005, fair trade certified sales were worth approximately €1.1 billion worldwide, which is a 37 per cent year-to-year growth.

Although most of fair trade products (70 per cent of world fair trade production) are sold in Europe, Canada is also recording a huge boom in the socially conscious market. In 1998, when the Fair Trade Mark Canada was founded, there were “only“ 21,600 kg of Fair Trade coffee beans sold in Canada. However, in 2009, the amount of Fair Trade coffee had risen to 5.6 million kg. Toronto, Canada’s most multicultural city, plays an important role in Canadian Fair Trade. It is home to a huge number of fair trade shops and services that offer numerous products, varying from coffee and groceries to cleaning products and services.

Fresh, whole food is the basic requirement for health, well-being, and disease prevention, and we should be informed about our food. Research conducted by Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Ipsos-Reid, and The Hartman Group shows that 79 per cent people prefer to buy locally grown food. Local Food Plus, a non-profit organization launched together with the University of Toronto, is a program that promotes “the need for a community economic development and job creation strategy, the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the benefits of a food system that supports positive change for all stakeholders.“

Fair Trade Food in Toronto

Salad by Jessica Spengler
Salad by Jessica Spengler

The Big Carrot Natural Food Market (348 Danforth Avenue) specializes in organically grown, GMO-free, and environmentally sustainable products. They have offered a great deal of quality and fresh food products since 1983. If you’re interested, have a look at their Customer Service section, where you can find friendly information about healthy eating, register for a cooking class, purchase the latest healthy cooking accessories, and much more.

Toronto has many responsible shops that offer fresh, fair trade food, and in many cases also offer various services such as cooking classes or lectures on health, nutrition, and the environment. You can find the best fair trade products in these shops:
Ten Thousand Villages (362 Danforth Ave)
Whole Foods Market
(87 Avenue Road)
Qi Natural Food
(219 Roncesvalles Ave)
Peaches and Green (1561 Bayview Avenue)
Noah’s Natural Foods (322 Bloor St West)
Karma Co-op
(739 Palmerston Ave)
Good Catch General Store
(1556 Queen St. W)
Fresh From the Farm
(350 Donlands Ave.)

Fair Trade Coffee in Toronto

Sorting Coffee Beans by jakeliefer
Sorting Coffee Beans by jakeliefer

The beginning of the whole Fair Trade movement is related to the struggle with social and economic injustice in the coffee market. According to Daryl Reed, co-director of the Business and Society program at York University, approximately five coffee companies control about 70 per cent of the coffee market in North America. Coffee is the most common commodity on the fair trade market. Also, most of the Torontonian fair trade shops focus on selling coffee.

Alternative Grounds is one of the first fair trade shops in Toronto. They started to roast fairly traded coffees back in 1995, three years before the Fair TradeMark Canada was established. This delightful shop, with delicious coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and juice, is located on 333 Roncesvalles Ave.

These are the best and most visited fair trade coffee shops in Toronto:
Dark Horse (3 locations)
Patachou (1120 Yonge St)
The Green Beanery (565 Bloor Street West Toronto)
Merchants of Green Coffee (2 Matilda St.)
Moonbean Coffee (30 St. Andrew St.)
The Beet (2945 Dundas Street West)
Ella’s Uncle (916 Dundas St. West)

3 thoughts on “Fair Trade in Toronto

May 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm
LVC says:

Actually, Aroma is definitely not a fair trade coffee shop (at least not at all of their locations and there’s no mention of fair trade on their website either). I just called their Annex location to inquire about their fair trade products, and the woman on the phone apologized that they did not actually serve or carry any fair trade certified beans. FYI.

May 23, 2012 at 2:58 am
Michelle says:

Great to hear about the growth of Fair Trade food in Toronto. Any suggestions for jewellery and handicrafts?

August 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Divya says:


You can get a listing of stores that sell fair trade products using this search tool on Fair Trade Toronto’s website http://fairtradetoronto.ca/

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