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Sustainable Harvest International

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Sustainable Harvest International and Barkwheats Join Forces to Bring First Fair Trade Certifiedô Pet Product to Market

Surry, ME, December 09, 2009 --( Sustainable Harvest International (SHI), a Maine based non-profit that works with farmers in Central America to grow a variety of crops for organic, Fair Trade Markets, and Barkwheats, a Maine based pet treat company that produces organic dog biscuits, have collaborated on what is the first pet product ever to carry the Fair Trade Certified™ mark.

Barkwheats' grain-free dog biscuits are made with nearly 100 percent locally sourced ingredients. Because ginger is their only ingredient that cannot be grown in Maine, Chris Roberts, owner of Barkwheats, joined forces with SHI to purchase the ginger directly from farmers in southern Belize. Founded in 1997, SHI has been working with Belize since 1999. As a result of their efforts, Barkwheats’ ginger ingredient recently received the Fair Trade Certification from Trans Fair USA, making their "Ginger & Parsley" flavored biscuit the only dog treat on the market to carry the Fair Trade Certified™ label. The Fair Trade Certified™ mark is imprinted on all of Barkwheats’ "Ginger & Parsley" biscuit packaging, along with SHI’s logo and information.

"I could not be happier about this collaboration with a business neighbor whose goals and values fit so perfectly with SHI's,” says Florence Reed, Founder and President of SHI. “Helping farmers in Central America to grow a diversity of crops such as mahogany, cacao and ginger in forest farms is one of the best ways SHI can further the ecological component of our work. Helping ensure that the farmers have good markets for those crops is an equally important and often more difficult part of our work that is made possible by companies like Barkwheats.”

Those seeking Fair Trade Certification must satisfy a check list of agreed environmental, labor and developmental standards, including pricing, so that participating farmers are fairly compensated for their work. The bottom line, says Roberts, is that “It gives farmers in developing countries a better income for their product, so they can feed more nutritious food to their families and send their children to school.” And Barkwheats benefits from the collaboration as well, he continues; “We get the freshest and highest quality ginger dried and ground to our specifications.”

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe commended Barkwheats on the Senate floor in mid June, praising its efforts to support the local economy, and its collaboration with SHI. And Barkwheats met with President Barack Obama’s head of the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, in Portland, ME a week later to take part in Michelle Obama’s ”Summer of Service” initiative. In November, Roberts was named to MaineBiz Magazine's "Next List," which recognizes ten people shaping the future of Maine's economy.

Says Reed, “It is going to take non profits like SHI working together with businesses like Barkwheats to turn the tide of poverty and environmental destruction that threatens the well being of everyone on this planet."

About Sustainable Harvest International:
Founded in 1997 by returned Peace Corps volunteer Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International provides training and materials to Central American farmers, promoting organic and sustainable agriculture techniques as an alternative to slash and burn agriculture. For more information, go to:

About Barkwheats: Founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Chris Roberts, the Maine resident was inspired by his two black lab mixes, Baxter and Sabine, their nutritional needs and the desire to support small-scale, organic agriculture. For more information, go to the following link:

Contact Information
Sustainable Harvest International
Media Outreach Director: Sarah Kennedy
Chris Roberts, Owner
Barkwheats Dog Biscuits

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