Documentary challenges Fair Trade tea model - screening & discussion at UCLA, Wed. 6:30 PM

Documentary challenges Fair Trade tea model - screening & discussion at UCLA, Wed. 6:30 PM

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 2:30pm

CONTENT: Press Release

UCLA International Institute Human Rights Film Series

The Bitter Taste of Tea: A Journey into the World of Fair Trade
A film by Tom Heinemann and Erling Borgen, Denmark, 2008
The film screening will be followed by a forum on tea and Fair Trade.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
James Bridges Theater, 1409
Melnitz Hall

Free and open to the public. Parking available in Structure 3.
There will be an informal reception before the screening beginning at 6:00 pm.


The Bitter Taste of Tea travels to tea estates in Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, and Bangladesh—some traditional, some Fair Trade Certified—to expose unsafe work environments and labor exploitation. Finding little meaningful difference between Fair Trade and non-Fair Trade operations, questions arise: Are Fair Trade certifiers being duped by tea growers? Or are the standards for Fair Trade certification too low? Or are growers doing the best they can in a brutal industry and a market that has yet to demand the quantities of Fair Trade tea that would create meaningful trickle-down profits for their workers?
It is left to the viewer to weigh the arguments and decide.
The screening will be followed by a discussion forum on tea and fair trade with:
Katherine Stone, UCLA Professor of Law
Katherine Stone is a leading expert in labor and employment law in the United States. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2008 and a Russell Sage Fellowship for 2008-2009 for her work on the changing nature of employment and the regulatory implications. Her forthcoming book, Globalization and Flexibilization: The Remaking of the Employment Relationship in the 21st Century, will examine the changing employment landscape in Japan, Australia, and Europe.
Rodney North, "The Answer Man", Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange is the firm that introduced Fair Trade foods to the US market in the 1980’s and have imported and marketed Fair Trade tea since 1998. They advocate for a new approach to Fair Trade tea focused on small farmer co-operatives instead of plantations. They currently work with more than 40 co-operatives of small-scale, mostly organic, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar and banana farmers, in over 20 countries. Rodney North is one of the most senior members of Equal Exchange, serves on the Board of Directors and his primary role is as an all-purpose information resource for journalists, researchers, and the public.
David Funkhouser, TransFair USA
TransFair USA is the non-profit third-party certifying organization, based in Oakland, that first certified Fair Trade foods for the US market, founded in 1998. TransFair is the US member of the international Fair Trade umbrella group Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International
Moderated by Beatrice Hohenegger, author and guest curator of “Steeped in History: The Art of Tea,” a 2009 museum exhibition on the history and culture of tea at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.
Visit the filmmakers' website for more information about The Bitter Taste of Tea.

Rodney North
The Answer Man - Information for the Public & Media
West Bridgewater, MA  -  St. Paul, MN  -  Portland, OR  -  Seattle, WA