First place entry. photo by Hope Gardens

After weeks of gathering photos and over 1,500 votes in a week, the top twelve Fair Trade photos have been selected for the 2011 Calendar.

Hope Gardens submitted the first place photo and will have the honor of gracing the cover of the calendar.

Other winning entries include photos of Fair Trade rice farmers in the Philippines, daughters of cacao farmers from the CONACADO cooperative in the Dominican Republic, and weavers in Guatemala.

One entry I am particularly excited about is the one of Nicaraguan School Children taken by Mark Van Wormer. The photo was taken in 2008 during a Global Exchange Reality Tour delegation in Nicaragua that I also happened to be on. The Reality Tour was a life-changing experience, and I am sure it was as well for Mark. He captured many photos from the trip, but this photo is particularly significant because it is a direct example of the positive benefits of the Fair Trade system.

Children of Fair Trade Coffee Farmers. photo: Mark Van Wormer

From Mark:

Children in La Carona, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, get to attend school and have other benefits because their parents belong to the CECOCAFEN cooperative and get better prices for their crops. Since they live on their farms, these children are not exposed to the pesticides and other chemicals that are more typically used on non-Fair Trade crops.

This Reality Tour to Nicaragua is called Fair Trade & Alternatives to Neoliberalism and gave us participants the opportunity to see first hand the positive effects of the Fair Trade system by bringing us into the homes of coffee farmers and seeing the positive transformation in their community with the participation in the Fair Trade system. I highly recommend going on this trip.

Congratulations to Mark and the rest of the winners of the Fair Trade calendar photo contest! Find out more about how to obtain the calendar on the Fair Trade Resource Network website.