This was the essence of the vision that the three Equal Exchange founders — Jonathan Rosenthal, Michael Rozyne and Rink Dickinson — held in their minds and hearts as they stood together on a metaphorical cliff back in 1986.
The three, who had met each other as managers at a New England food co-op, were part of a movement to transform the relationship between the public and food producers. At the time, however, these efforts didn't extend to farmers outside of the U.S.
The founders decided to meet once a week — and did so for three years — to discuss how best to change the way food is grown, bought, and sold around the world. At the end of this time they had a plan for a new organization called Equal Exchange that would be:
A social change organization that would help farmers and their families gain more control over their economic futures. A group that would educate consumers about trade issues affecting farmers. A provider of high-quality foods that would nourish the body and the soul. A company that would be controlled by the people who did the actual work. A community of dedicated individuals who believed that honesty, respect, and mutual benefit are integral to any worthwhile endeavor.