When the world came to a screeching halt in March, businesses across the country (and the world) closed and boarded up their doors. Essential workers have become more important than ever. Doctors, nurses, delivery workers, drivers, farmers, farm workers, and millions more showed up day in and day out to provide the essential needs of our society, in the face of a roaring pandemic.

Fair Trade USA™ surveyed farms around the world to learn about their most urgent needs and how we could best support them, including agricultural farms and dairies located in our very own backyard: here in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The need for personal protective equipment was a major concern.

The iconic messenger bag company Timbuk2 (our neighbors across the Bay) was able to pivot their San Francisco Factory in the city’s Mission District, from bags to mask production for essential workers. Through a partnership with NBC Sports Bay Area, and local professional sports teams, Timbuk2 was able to turn donated t-shirts into non-medical face masks, for local redistribution to those most in need.


Masked workers at JAS farms
JAS Family Farms is a small, independently-owned farm located in the Salinas Valley in California that produces heirloom tomatoes and summer squash. JAS employs approximately 25 workers, and masks were delivered to them and their family members.

The world has been reminded of the fact that our food supply chains are essential. While vast segments of the global economy are shutting down, farmers are still working to make sure that supermarket shelves and homes are stocked with the fresh products we need to keep our families fed and healthy. Fair Trade USA is working to ensure that farmers have access to the benefits of fair trade, including health resources, labor protections, and secure income.

Thanks to this partnership, we sent 5,000 masks to farms and dairies in Arizona, California, Idaho, New York, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Mexico. From office management to harvest workers and their families, everyone is taking precautionary measures to ensure health and safety. They’re putting their masks to great use!

To learn more about the effects on the pandemic on farms, factories, and fisheries around the world, listen to our webinars about COVID-19.



Since its 1989 founding by bike messenger Rob Honeycutt in a garage in San Francisco’s Mission District, Timbuk2 has designed and manufactured bags to outsmart the city and last a lifetime. Timbuk2 is a pioneer of sewn-in-San Francisco customization and an industry leader in sustainable metropolitan manufacturing. Timbuk2 remains committed to its craft, maintaining quality manufacturing in its hometown since day one. Thirty years later, Timbuk2 is still taking meaningful risks, building quality bags, and giving a damn about the world with a keen eye on the past and the future. When faced with the great unknown of COVID-19, Timbuk2 did not hesitate to pivot their SF manufacturing from messengers to masks, working with city officials and healthcare providers to supply face coverings to workers supporting the frontline. Today, Timbuk2 inspires mobility, enables individuality, promotes responsibility, and creates community, all while sporting their trademarked 3-panel design. Timbuk2 products are sold at its retail stores in San Francisco, Seattle, Venice Beach, Portland, New York, Toronto, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, specialty retailers, and online at www.Timbuk2.com. Follow the brand on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @Timbuk2.


Improved health and safety on US dairy farms
Fair Trade USA presently is working with eight dairy farms in New York and Idaho to create an innovative model for improving worker and farmer lives in US dairy. Collectively, these farms employ approximately 400 farm workers.