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Interrupcion Fair Trade

Interrupcion Fair Trade

Rafael Goldberg, 28
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Goldberg was a college student at New York University in 2001 when he became involved in a social movement to encourage social responsibility in Argentina's private sector, following the collapse of the economy there. Today, Goldberg oversees the group's for-profit arm, called Social Enterprise, which helps growers collectives in Argentina by ensuring fair trade standards are upheld for the products they export to the U.S. and that sustainable methods are used in production.

Interrupcion works with some 250 family-owned farms and 2,400 rural workers to make sure they are getting livable wages and access to health care and education. In order to do that, the company charges what it calls a "social premium" on every item it sells—products that include Patagonia cherries, organic olive oil, and wildflower honey. Interrupcion sells its products to supermarkets like the Food Emporium and Whole Foods (WFMI) among others. The three-employee company had about $2 million in revenues in 2008, and Goldberg says it raised $140,000 for health insurance, education, and other quality-of-life initiatives for farmers in its network. That money also went to support an emergency health fund. "This is a community where if one farmer gets sick, it can have catastrophic consequences," says Goldberg. "The whole family can go under." Goldberg says he expects the social premium he raises to double in 2009, and forecasts about $5 million in revenue in 2009.