Monday, October 14, 2013

Fair Trade?

      In my intro I state that I like shopping fair trade, well that is quite the understatement.  Fair Trade is something I am quite passionate about and would love to educate others about in a fun and exciting way.  I could post videos of the harsh reality of child slavery and human trafficking, but honestly that just makes people feel horrible for a brief moment to then go about their day not thinking about it anymore.  We have been so desensitized by the media and film that we aren't as affected by seeing videos and pictures of human suffering as we should be.  What motivates me is seeing people do something to make a difference and seeing little ways I can help in every day life.  I must share with you though some of the reality of this issue or we would forget why it is important to begin with.  Slavery is all around us, and we are supporting it every day and all day.  That coffee you drank this morning,  that candy bar from the vending machine at the office, or that shirt you are wearing right now...there is a very VERY high chance that every single one of those products was made by either a child forced to work to pay off family debt, or an adult forced to work with little to no pay.   It is difficult to avoid being consumers of products made by slaves, and by no means am I trying to make you feel horrible about your cup of coffee this morning.  I just want you to think about this and keep an eye out for fair trade alternatives. I must confess I am wearing a cotton shirt right now that says made in india....I am pretty sure it wasn't produced under fair trade standards, but this is what is sold in stores, even high end retail, it is everywhere.  So this is why I want to share fair trade resources with you.  If we start supporting more fair trade and locally produced products, than that industry will be in high demand, and there you go, more jobs with fair pay and treatment for more people and less slavery.
    Since I mentioned coffee and chocolate in this post, I figured I would discuss these two first! 

A great coop you can go to for coffee, chocolate, tea, and more is Equal Exchange.  I have had their coffee before and love it! You can purchase online or I have purchased it from a Ten Thousand Villages brick and mortar location (which is a really cool store for fair trade products).  

For those of us that like to use K-Cups for our Keurigs there are a few options as well... Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups can be found in many grocery stores, and they offer many different blends.  My favorite fair trade K-Cup would have to be Newman's Own Organics Special Blend which can be found at many grocery stores as well.  You really don't have to go out of your way to find fair trade coffee.  You just have to keep your eyes open!

Here is a video of Nell Newman from Newman's Own discussing why they partnered with Green Mountain Coffee to support fair trade.

I already mentioned one place you can get chocolate and coffee, but another place for fair trade chocolate is Divine Chocolate.  They also sell this in some local stores, and at Ten Thousand Villages.  They have a wide variety of candy bars from mint dark chocolate to hazelnut milk chocolate.  I personally love the white chocolate with strawberries.

I will give you a fair warning before you go and think "Geeze fair trade is too expensive, I think I will stick to Folgers" because supporting fair trade is a bit more expensive that is a very common thought. Fair trade products are a tad pricier, but there is a very logical explanation for that.  Fair work equals fair wages which equals higher prices to support the labor.  Makes sense right?  I have always been big on bargains, so i try to remind myself of this quote by Benjamin Harrison when I try to skimp and save a couple bucks "I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process." Pretty intense right? Yea, so just think about it.  Think quality over quantity and honestly it will not only keep your life from being so cluttered and crazy, but it helps other people support their families with a honest income! 

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