Fair Trade Your St. Patrick’s Day!

Here at Fair Trade Trends, we strive to bring the Fair Trade love to our holiday celebrations (check out our complete guides to Fair Trading your Valentine’s Day and Halloween).  Which is why we’re super psyched to present our newest collection of fabulous Fair Trade finds that will bring you a little Luck o’ the Irish this March 17.

  • FAIR’s Quinoa Vodka (Other Fair Trade premium spirits available for responsible drinking: Goji Berry Liqueur and Coffee Liqueur):

  • Indigenous Designs’s Bon Marche Tee in Citrine (Also available in Navy, Pink, Capri, & Mulberry):

  • Indigenous Designs’s Essential Crew in Eco-Green (Also Available in Black, Plum, & Burgundy):

  • Indigenous Designs’s Cable Cardigan in Rosemary (Also available in Burgundy & Ivory; available at Revive, as well):

Happy Fair Trade St. Patrick’s Day!

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

Fair Trade Your Valentine’s Day!

Fair Trade Flowers for Valentine’s Day from Organic Style.

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO FAIR TRADING YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY!

In preparation for the mushiest, lovey dovey-est day of the year, we’ve gathered an awesome collection of our favorite Fair Trade Valentine’s Day gifts.  (BTW February 14 is also known as Singles Awareness Day.  If you find yourself flying solo on 2/14, we highly suggest you treat your beautiful, spectacular self to a fab Fair Trade present [or two, or three, or four…]).

Unfortunately, as much as we lurve the warm, fuzzy feelings of V-Day, the presents we give to announce our love often also carry unseen messages of injustice and cruelty as the farmers who grow our chocolate and flowers and the miners who unearth our diamonds are often exploited, if not enslaved, in the production of these gifts.  However, thanks to Fair Trade Certification, you can give your honey a truly sweet gift, one that protects the rights of workers, women, and children; builds up communities; and helps to sustain the environment.

OUR FAVORITE GIFT IDEAS:

FLOWERS:

While women love flowers (“over 90% of gift flowers in the US are given to women”), the flower industry, which notoriously pays its workers poverty wages, clearly doesn’t love women back.  Over half of the women working in Ecuador’s flower industry have faced sexual harassment at work. Further, The U.S./Labor Education in the Americas Project and The International Labor Rights Fund also reports that:

“66% of Colombian and Ecuadorian flower workers suffer from work-related health problems.  [Since] pesticide abuse is rampant – flower workers experience higher-than-average rates of premature births, congenital malformations, and miscarriages.”

And yet, these facts are hidden from us consumers, and we continue to give flowers as signs of our affection.  However, thanks to Fair Trade, we can give breathtaking bouquets (like those pictured at the top of this post), which empower women and protect workers and the environment.  For more information, visit Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade Certified Flowers page.  (Fair Trade flowers can be purchased online at Organic Bouquet and Organic Style.)

Fair Trade flower worker “Elvia Almachi, 6 years working at Agrogana, Comite de Vigilancia of the Joint Body.”

DIAMONDS:

While they’re not in everyone’s price-range, if you are planning to give the gift of bling, we urge you to support companies like Brilliant Earth, which provide a Conflict-Free Guarantee.

CHOCOLATE:

While Marilyn told us that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” we know better.  Check out these yummy gifts that will definitely show your cutie you’re sweet on her/him.  (To learn more about the importance of buying Fair Trade chocolate, see our post on Fair Trade Films: Child Slavery in the Cocoa Industry):

  • Theo Chocolate’s Aphrodisiac Collection (“This 8 piece collection includes 1 each of the following: Dulce de Leche, Fig Fennel, Licorice, Ginger Rose Caramel, Hot Ceylon Cinnamon, Honey Saffron Caramel and Tequila Lime”):

  • Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates’s Valentine Heart Truffle Box (A handmade box “filled . . . with 20 delicious dark chocolate creamy truffles. Flavors include: Raspberry, Almond, Hazelnut, Cherry and Orange”):

  • Global Exchange’s Thinking of You Gift Box (“Chocolate covered Brazil nuts from Candela co-operative in Peru, 40 pieces of Equal Exchange mini dark chocolates, beautifully packaged in a box with a heart, Cinnamon scented heart candle, & 3 bars of Organic Chocolate from Divine, [assorted Flavors]”):

WINE:

PAMPER YOUR SWEETIE:

  • Global Exchange’s Bath and Beauty Spa Basket (“A natural hand-woven basket from Cambodia filled with: Choice Organic Chamomile Tea, 2 Organic Divine chocolate bars, Tea Infuser Mug, Citrus Blossom Bath Salts, Afghan Rock Soap (set of 5), Putumayo’s Women of Africa CD, & Pumice Baby Foot”):

JEWELRY:

GIFTS THAT SHOW YOU CARE:

  • Ruth and Nohemi’s Naomi Bear (Available at SERRV):

  • Putumayo’s World Music’s Tango Around the World (“Passion, style and elegance are interwoven to create this musical tapestry of international tango and tango-influenced songs”):

  • Putumayo’s World Music’s ¡Salsa! (“A hip-shaking music collection featuring many of the hottest salsa bands in North and South America”):

  • Asha Handicrafts’s Love Birds Box (Available at Ten Thousand Villages):

  • Seven Hopes United’s Hearts for Africa (“The sale of each heart helps fund the rebuilding of a primary school in war zones or conflict-ridden areas of Africa”):

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES:

  • Fair Indigo’s Baby Alpaca Scarf in Pink (Also available in Dark Charcoal Heather, Camel, Deep Pink, Bay Blue, Burnt, Orange, and Charcoal Heather):

CARDS & GIFT WRAP:

  • Salay Handmade Paper’s Bunny Love Card (Available at Ten Thousand Villages):

We hope you’ll spread the love and fabulousness of Fair Trade this Valentine’s Day!

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

Happy National Chocolate Day!

To celebrate National Chocolate Day (October 28), we’d like to introduce you to some of our absolute favorite bars from Theo Chocolate – “the only Organic, Fair Trade, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in the United States.”

Not only are Theo’s Fantasy Flavors bars unbelievably scrumptious, but their wrappers are outrageously cute:

“A generous combination of hazelnut brittle and milk chocolate with just the right touch of salt. Unanimously voted one of our yummiest creations ever by our Theonista tasting panel.”

“An innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt.”

“Crunchy slivered almonds, sweet chewy figs, and a touch of fennel in rich dark chocolate. Satisfyingly delicious, and a Vegan dream come true!”

“Milk chocolate with a warming blend of chai spices and black tea.”

“Dark chocolate with organic roasted cocoa nibs in sweet and crunchy brittle.”

“A harmonious blend of finely ground Madagascar vanilla bean and milk chocolate.”

“Milk chocolate with toasted coconut and savory curry spices.”

“Dark chocolate and a robust locally-roasted organic, Fair-Trade-Certified™ coffee from Caffé Vita combine to create a full-bodied flavor.”

Can’t decide which fabulous Fantasy Flavor to try?  Why not to treat yourself to the Theo Chocolate Fantasy Flavor 8 Bar Gift Set:

“Theo chocolate makers work their magic creating, these organic, Fair Trade Certified™ milk and dark chocolate bars that come in wonderfully innovative flavors. Theo takes its premium quality, delectable chocolate and combines it with some bold and some traditional ingredients to conjure the Theo fantasy flavor assortment.

This Theo Fantasy Flavor 8 pack contains one each:

MILK CHOCOLATE: Vanilla, Hazelnut Crunch, Coconut Curry, Chai

DARK CHOCOLATE: Coffee, Nib Brittle, Bread & Chocolate, Fig Fennel & Almond”

Happy National Chocolate Day!

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

Fair Trade Films: Child Slavery in the Cocoa Industry

Yesterday, we had the amazing honor of being featured on WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” (“The best of 362,560 bloggers, 897,850 new posts, 368,766 comments, & 128,970,065 words today on WordPress.com”):

Thank you so much for reading our post on how to “Fair Trade Your Halloween!” We loved all of your fabulous comments.

In case you’d like to learn more about the important (but hidden) horror of child slavery and abuses in the cocoa industry, check out these outstanding films:

Slavery: A Global Investigation:


The entire documentary, which “exposes slavery in the rug-making sector of Northwest India, the cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, and even the home of a World Bank official in Washington, D.C.” is excellent, but the section specifically on child slavery in the cocoa industry begins at minute 10:50.

A description from the production company True Vision:

“Slavery is officially banned internationally by all countries, yet despite this, in the world today there are more slaves now than ever before. In the four hundred years of the slave trade around 13 million people were shipped from Africa. Today there are an estimated 27 million slaves – people paid no money, locked away and controlled by violence. Multi-Award winning documentary makers Kate Blewett and Brian Woods – who produced the groundbreaking films The Dying Rooms, Innocents Lost and Eyes of a Child, saw this terrible exploitation with their own eyes. The result is an utterly devastating film.
. . .
“In the cocoa industry of Cote d’Ivoire, Brian and Kate found more slavery. The country produces nearly half the world’s supply (over 100 million tonnes) grown on thousands of small plantations – cocoa which finds its way into the newsagents and supermarkets of Britain. The young men are worked up to eighteen hours a day, unpaid and beaten if they try to escape. Kate and Brian interviewed slaves still working in the plantations, as well as a group of young men who had been rescued just days before. One boy, scarred from head to foot from brutal beatings, described how he and other boys were mistreated by their captors, if they attempted escape: “They would tie your hands behind your back. Then one person would beat your front and someone else your back”. Kate asks DRISSA an eloquent young man who worked for five and half years in the cocoa plantations what he would like to say to the rest of the world who eat chocolate: “They enjoyed something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them, but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh”.
. . .

“This film isn’t all bad news, however. The film-makers also look at how slavery can be fought, both here and abroad, without making the poor poorer. In Brazil they meet charcoal workers who used to be enslaved but are now paid because of pressure brought to bear by the North American public after the slavery was exposed. In India they visit a school for ex-slaves funded by the Rugmark Foundation, an organisation that ensures that carpets sold in our shops have not been made by slaves – freeing the slaves, but keeping the rural Indian economy going. And Professor [Kevin] Bales [“from the UN Working Group on Contemporary Slavery”] explains how through organisations like Fair Trade, we can make sure that when we buy a chocolate bar, we’re not buying into slavery.”

“Slavery won the Peabody Award in 2001.

Run-Time: 80:00″

The Dark Side of Chocolate:


“Is the chocolate we eat produced with the use of child labour and trafficked children? The award winning Danish journalist Miki Mistrati decides to investigate the rumours.

“His hunt for answers brings him to Mali in West Africa, where hidden footage reveals illegal trafficking of small children to the cocoa fields in neighboring Ivory Coast. Kids as young as seven years old work . . . in the plantations where they face a dangerous job cutting down the cocoa and carrying heavy loads. Some are the victims of trafficking and most of the kids are never paid.

“Does your favourite chocolate have a bitter taste? Follow Miki Mistrati into the bush of Africa to expose; The Dark Side of Chocolate.”

Thanks again for your support and for spreading the word about Fair Trade – the sweet solution for justice in the cocoa industry.

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

Reverse Trick-or-Treating: Order Your Supplies Today!

 

Fair Trade Trends hopes you’ll consider Reverse Trick-or-Treating this year to raise awareness about child slavery in the cocoa industry.  We’ve joined in this campaign for the past three years and are always amazed that giving back can feel so good.

A description of RTT from Equal Exchange, which partners with Global Exchange to organize Reverse Trick-or-Treating:

The goal of the campaign is for trick-or-treaters nationwide to distribute informational cards, each with a piece of Fair Trade chocolate, to as many households as possible. Last year we were able to reach over 200,000 households. This year we think we can, with your help, reach even more.

You can Reverse Trick-or-Treat as an individual, family, small group, organization, school, or congregation.  The more, the merrier!

Top Reasons to Go Reverse Trick-or-Treating:

1) This is the only night of the year when it’s not super weird to go door-to-door talking about your love for chocolate.  People are expecting visitors and will most likely welcome you and your message.  Plus, you’ll be giving them a free gift of delicious chocolate – a fun surprise on a night when the wee ones demand treats and threaten tricks.

2) If you’re a parent, you might already be out trick or treating.  Social Justice Activism + Quality Time with the Kiddos = Two Stellar Birds, Baby.  If you’re not a parent but you’re also not really a kid anymore, come on, don’t you want to relive the rush of Trick-or-Treat night?  Don a pair of cat ears or an awesome cardboard robot suit? (Costumes are absolutely fabulous optional.)

3) Reverse Trick-or-Treating gives you that warm, glowy feeling inside.  (Not unlike a jack-o-lantern.)  That feeling like you’re part of something bigger than yourself and that you really have done something to make the world a better and more just place.

Sign up for supplies SOON (before Friday, October 8!) at Global Exchange or Equal Exchange.