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

Fair Trade Your Halloween!

In yesterday’s post, we encouraged you to consider Reverse Trick-or-Treating this year to raise awareness about child slavery in the cocoa industry.

[UPDATE: To learn more about the important (but hidden) horror of child slavery and abuses in the chocolate industry, check out Fair Trade Films: Child Slavery in the Cocoa Industry.]

However, if you’re planning to stay home to pass out candy, don’t worry; you can join in the Fair Trade love, too!  Make your Halloween sweet for the kids in your neighborhood (and the kids in cocoa producing countries) by passing out Fair Trade chocolate.

Check out these fun options:

  • Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Trick-or-Treat Action Pack – $17.50  (40 chocolate minis, a stack of kid-friendly info postcards, traditional Papel Picado Mexican party streamers, a 100% Eco-friendly mulberry paper Trick-or-Treat bag from Thailand, and a “Fair Trade is Boo-tiful” poster to hang on your door):

Like to keep candy on your desk for your co-workers?  Why not put out this darling, “fairly traded smoked bamboo [basket . . .] sourced from Craft Link, a non-profit that works with artisans in an effort to generate income, with a focus on ethnic minorities, street children, and artisans with disabilities.”  “Filled with 12 ounces of Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate Minis,” this cute basket will sweeten up your desk with style (Available at Equal Exchange):

Thanks for making this Halloween Fair Trade!

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

Tangled Up in Blue

Trade that isn’t fair makes us blue.  But these fair trade finds in cool blue hues have us feeling super upbeat:

  • Indigenous Designs’s Uptown Dress (Available at Greanheart):

  • Fair Indigo’s Alpaca Scarf (Also Available in Dark Charcoal Heather, Pink, Violet, Camel, Deep Pink, Bay Blue, Citron Green, Burnt Orange, & Charcoal Grey):

Zen Zen’s Hand Silk-Screened Napkins in Indigo Bali (Available at Greenheart and Seven Hopes United):

We got the blues, and it sure feels good.

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Friendsters

Our New Fair Trade Crush: Capiz and Coco Wind Chime/Chandelier

Wow!  This wind chime/chandelier available from the Global Exchange Store is so gorgeous it hurts.

A melange of turquoise, green, and gold capiz shell accented by carved coconut shell twinkle, shimmer, and sing in the wind and sun. Hang a cordset inside to create a stunning hanging lamp, or just listen to them tinkle on the porch!

We use this beautiful lamp as a bedroom chandelier, and it simply radiates elegance.  Seriously, one of our favorite Fair Trade purchases ever!

What makes it even better is that this awesome wind chime/chandelier is eco-friendly:

Capiz shells, or Jingle Oysters grow like weeds in shallow sea beds. Before fishermen got creative, they were only collected for the meat and the shells were discarded. Now nothing is wasted, as seen in this beautiful exotic piece.  . . .

This product is brought to you through Zen Zen, a business that works with communities in Bali, Indonesia educating local villagers in conservation, sustainable development and organic farming.

You absolutely won’t regret investing in this devastatingly pretty fair trade piece.  Seriously, we are in lamp lurve.*

Peace and Love,

Your Fair Trade Trendsters

* “Love is too weak a word for what I feel. I lurve you” (Woody Allen / Annie Hall).