Blogging for Good

live simply. buy ethically.

April 17, 2014
by morgan
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Producer Profile: Meet Eswatini Kitchen

Your Mango Pineapple Jam is a product of our new Trade as One producer: Eswatini Kitchen. The Eswatini Swazi Kitchen is a project of the Manzini Youth Care, and organization in Swaziland that is addressing both the roots and the impact of sever poverty in Swaziland.

Background on Swaziland

Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa— roughly the size of New Jersey–and is mostly surrounded by South Africa. The population is primarily ethnic Swazis, and the language is siSwati. Agriculture and manufacturing is responsible for the majority of employment.
The main health challenges of the country are HIV/AIDS and TB. According to World Health Organization data, 38-42 percent of people in the country in 2003 were living with HIV/AIDS. According to the 2012 CIA World Factbook, Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate in the world and the world.

That’s where Eswatini Kitchen comes in

Eswatini Kitchen is an income generating project whose proceeds go to the Manzini Youth Care program. This program provides housing, food, and education at several centers to former street children, many of whom are HIV/AIDS orphans.
Eswatini Kitchen started with only a few employees in a one room kitchen, but with a strong sense of purpose to help the people of Swaziland through dignified wages, hiring disadvantaged women, and by providing a market for small local farms and rural families who harvest wild fruit.

Today, Eswatini Kitchen is certified by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and the Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA), and exports its products to 15 international destinations. They’ve grown from a small cottage industry to a thriving business, and are enhancing the lives of underprivileged communities by providing a fair and sustainable income of over 300 people in Swaziland. All of the proceeds go to the Manzini Youth Care initiatives, which currently supports more than 2000 marginalized children and young people in the country.

Your Impact

 

By eating Eswatini’s Mango and Pineapple jam, you are making an immediate connection to the Swazi people, including the women who work full time in the kitchen, the Swazi farmers who grow the fruit, and the hundreds of children receiving care at the youth centers. You’re changing the world one bite at a time simply through the food you eat.
Note: This Mango and Pineapple jam is only available in our Fair Trade food subscription. You can learn more about it here.

April 2, 2014
by morgan
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Recipe: Brussel Sprouts, Red Bell Pepper, Pecans and Za’atar

Brussel Sprouts, Red Bell Pepper, and pecans, oh my! What do you get when you add all these ingredients with a touch of Za’atar? An earthy dish reminiscent of Palestine.

Za’atar’s main ingredient is easily found in the common household kitchen: Thyme. But Za’atar doesn’t stop there. It has roasted sesame seeds, sumac berry powder and sea salt. This combination is specific to Palestine, where most Palestinians use it with their daily bread and olive oil, but the uses are endless! Use it on meats and pastas, as an addition to marinades or sauces, and even in salad dressings. We personally love using it with roasted vegetables, as it gives a touch of earthy flavor without overpowering the natural flavors of the vegetables. You can find it this season in our healthy, all natural subscription box.

 

Trade as One’s Za’atar produced in the land of milk and honey by our producer, Canaan Fair Trade. Canaan Fair Trade uses the Fair Trade concept to empower marginalized Palestinian rural communities caught in conflict so they can sustain their livelihoods and culture. The farmers are given the stable income they deserve in an area rocked by instability, and we love featuring all of their products in our seasonal subscription box, just like this Za’atar. You can read more about Canaan Fair Trade on our blog here.

On to the recipe! 

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of brussels sprouts, washed and halved

One large red bell pepper largely diced

Half cup of pecans

Cooking oil (we use Canaan Fair Trade olive oil)

Za’atar

Process:

- In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil (it can be any kind, but we used canaan fair trade olive oil) and throw in brussel sprouts. Cover with a lid. Let them roast for about 10 minutes on medium, or until they start turning golden brown and crispy.

- Add the bell pepper; stir.

.- In a small separate pan, heat a tiny drizzle of olive oil and add a 1/2 cup of halved pecans. roast on medium for about five minutes and add to brussel sprout and red bell pepper mixture.

- Take skillet off heat and add Za’atar seasoning to taste.

- Add a pinch of sea salt if desired.

___

There you have it! It’s an easy way to get your vegetables, and it doesn’t just have to be brussel sprouts and red bell pepper! Add red onion and orange and yellow bell pepper for a more colorful and flavorful dish, or roast asparagus and carrots on a pan and season with za’atar. However you chose to use this special spice, we’re sure it will add a nice touch to any dish!

March 19, 2014
by morgan
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Spring Cooking: The Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen

Spring is here and that means one thing: in-season fruits and vegetables galore!

Our Trade as One subscription is designed to accompany recipes with tasty fruits and vegetables. Whether that’s a quinoa fruit salad or roasted vegetables drizzled in Canaan Fair Trade’s olive oil, we find that our seasonal subscription loves a good fruit or veggie to complete a healthy meal! But not all fruits and vegetables are created equal, especially when it comes to pesticides. According to a report by the President’s Cancer Panel, some fruits and vegetables retain their pesticides more than others. The group of fruits and vegetables where hardly any pesticides were detected are appropriately called “The Clean 15”. This means that if you’re looking to save some money on non-organic produce, make those purchases on the following:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onion

That’s quite a list, right? Unfortunately, there’s another list called “The Dirty Dozen” where these fruits and vegetables (when conventionally grown) tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67! You should always choose organic on the following to avoid consuming harmful chemicals:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
There you have it! Enjoy Spring and the bountiful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables it brings while keeping harmful chemicals out of your body. For tasty and fun spring recipes, check out our Pinterest boards!


March 5, 2014
by morgan
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Happy Birthday to us! Here’s our year in review & a giveaway

Can you believe it’s been a year since we relaunched Trade as One? In that time, we’ve curated four boxes with each season in mind, introduced 6 producers to Trade as One, and 17 new products to our seasonal, all natural fair trade food subscription! Trade as One started shipping Spring Boxes in March after relaunching Trade as One at The Justice Conference. What an incredible response we had! Here’s a quick recap:

Spring Box 2013 (March-May)

Featured Producer and Product: Jasmine Rice from Alter Eco

Customer favorite: Mixed Berry Geobars from Equal Exchange.

New products: 3

New Producers: 1

Remember this box on our Pinterest Board

 

Summer Box 2013 (June- August)

Featured Producer and Product: Shea Butter from Alaffia

Customer favorite: Olive oil from Canaan Fair Trade. Perfect for those summer salads!

New products: 4

New Producers: 1

Remember this box on our Pinterest board

 

Fall Box (September- November)

Featured Producer and Product: Golden Cornbread from Women’s Bean Project

Customer favorite: Lemongrass soap from Frustrated Farmgirl

New products: 7

New Producers: 3

Remember this box on our Pinterest board 

 

Winter Box 2013-14 (December- February)

Featured Producer and Product: Chocolate from Divine Chocolate

Customer favorite: Lavender candle from Prosperity Candle

New products: 3

New Producers: 1

Remember this box on our Pinterest Board

It’s been a wonderful year of curating boxes and listening to your feedback. Tell us, what was your favorite box? Now, how about a giveaway?

February 20, 2014
by morgan
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Reducing our Waste, Part Two

Running an ethical subscription service takes a lot of care and consideration in each decision we make. Recently, we’ve received a lot of questions about our packaging– whether is recyclable, chemical free, and sustainable. We love getting these questions! It means our customers take the time to see how their actions and purchases affect people and the earth. In this two part blog series we’re going to address it all. The first blog (here) is specific to Trade as One and how we work as a sustainable company, and the second will address the products we sell from our producers. Part two (below) addresses our main producers and their sustainability.
Alter Eco
Since 1999, Alter Eco has sourced and sold a variety of different foodstuffs of exceptional quality from around the globe, including Thailand, The Philippines, and Bolivia. They are committed to facilitating the development of independent producers as well as distributors, while ensuring good working conditions for all workers.
Sustainability is a pillar of their company. From organic farming techniques, soil erosion prevention, finding natural ways of fertilizing and protecting the crops, planting trees to offset their packaging, and reinvesting profit into better schools and healthcare, Alter Eco has thought of it all. It’s no wonder that you can feel good about their packaging too. Not only are their products packaged onsite, but all Alter Eco products sold at Trade as One are recyclable, too!
Women’s Bean Project
Women’s Bean Project employs women who come from backgrounds of chronic unemployment and poverty, and helps them develop the work and interpersonal skills needed to function independently in the workplace and community. The WBP was founded in 1989 and today functions as a stepping stone for success for more than 60 women per year. It provides a safe and accepting environment to teach women job skills and increase their chances of moving on to self-sufficiency.
Ninety percent of Women’s Bean Project packaging comes from local Colorado businesses (where WBP is based), and all paper and cardboard packaging is recyclable.
Canaan Fair Trade
Canaan Fair Trade uses the fair trade concept to empower marginalized Palestinian rural communities caught in conflict so they can sustain their livelihoods and culture. In order to do that, they have built direct working relationships with these communities, paying sustainable prices for their agricultural products to ensure fair wages for labor along the supply chain.
They support farmers in enhancing production procedures and product quality, building their capacities to work collectively, and to sell to international markets.
We purchase everything from olive oil and couscous to yogurt raisins from Canaan Fair Trade. All of the glass bottles– whether from olive oils or various spreads– are recyclable. Additionally, all cardboard is recyclable and all paper and paper labels are compostable!
Alaffia
Fair Trade Shea Butter from producers like Alaffia has the power to change lives of the cooperative members. Very specifically, Alaffia was formed to help West African communities become sustainable through the fair trade of indigenous resources, like shea. Women in West Africa have been excluded from the formal education sector which means they cannot read or write, making them less valuable as employees. However, a main component of the Alaffia Cooperative is empowerment so the women are acknowledged for their unique skills, traditions and knowledge and compensated accordingly. Alaffia pays 15-25% above market prices for shea nuts and the cooperative members receive a salary that is more than 4 times the average family income in Togo. Additionally, members receive full medical care, employment security and paid vacation.
Alaffia is committed to sustainability through organic farming methods and keeping their shea free of additives. Their glass containers and plastic bottles are all recyclable, as is their cardboard.

January 15, 2014
by morgan
1 Comment

Doing our part to reduce waste, Part 1 of 2

Running an ethical subscription service takes a lot of care and consideration in each decision we make. Recently, we’ve received a lot of questions about our packaging– whether is recyclable, chemical free, and sustainable. We love getting these questions! It means our customers take the time to see how their actions and purchases affect people and the earth. In this two part blog series we’re going to address it all. The first blog (below) is specific to Trade as One and how we work as a sustainable company, and the second will address the products we sell from our producers.

If you don’t know by now, our motto is “Live Simply, Buy Ethically.” We apply it to everything we do– from the products we select to the producers we work with.

Let’s start on an overarching, larger scale look at Trade as One. In February 2013, we relaunched Trade as One as a Fair Trade food subscription service (we used to sell crafts, too). We wanted a way to answer the call of so many of our customer asking for ways to live simply and buy ethically daily. When we started selling only fair trade consumables, we had a lot less products, and decided to sell our big warehouse. Because why do you need a huge warehouse using more electricity, water, and everything else that goes into warehouses when it’s not necessary? We moved our warehouse to Chicago to be more centrally located in the U.S. for shipping, and we use a warehouse that ships for several different companies. One warehouse for several companies is better than several warehouse for several companies, right? We think so.

But why is it every three months instead of every month?

If you guessed “because sending a bigger box less frequently creates less waste than sending a smaller box more frequently,” then you guessed right! By sending a box each season instead of every month, we are significantly reducing our use of boxes and shipping material. This also means that we only print 4 booklets a year, instead of a booklet each month. Our booklet is an educational pamphlet that goes into more detail about our featured product and why it’s important to consume that product ethically. It also has recipes to provide you with fun and tasty ways to cook the food found in your box. The booklet is designed to be an easy read, but valuable. It’s something you’ll want to keep, not throw away. We proudly print these booklets at Sentinel Printers in Santa Cruz, California because they use vegetable based inks and forest sustainable papers.

Now for the box itself 

We’ll admit that when we were designing the box we were picky. We’re proud of that. We wanted materials that would protect the products, but not be of excess waste. That’s why we settled on one cardboard box to hold all the awesome food within, recyclable raffia for padding, and one flat cardboard insert for extra protection. That’s it! No extra tissue or those really annoying and non environmentally friendly packaging foams. Both the cardboard box and cardboard insert are recyclable, although we’ve had several customers comment that they keep the insert– which has a global map printed on it– as a tool to talk to their kids about where all our products come from. We think it’s a great idea!

December 11, 2013
by morgan
0 comments

Finding the Meaning of the Season in your Fair Trade Christmas Dinner

Is anyone else hearing the soft sounds of Charlie Brown and friends singing “Christmas time is heeerrree” as you think to yourself “I’m not ready!”? If so, not to worry! Not only does Trade as One have a great variety of healthy, all natural and gourmet gifts for the people in your life, but this season’s Winter subscription box is perfect for a christmas feast as well. Below we’ve selected a few items from this season’s Winter subscription box that we think are perfect for your Christmas festivities. Enjoy!

Appetizers and snacks

Setting out an assortment of of dips and spreads is a great way satisfy guest’s hunger before the feasting begins. Both Women’s Bean Project Garlic Herb dip and Cannan Fair Trade’s Sun dried tomato caper spread is perfect for spreading over bread bites or for dipping vegetables. The dried fruit in this season’s subscription is a great snacking option too!

Dinner

 Purple Rice is a great filler and its color fits with the season’s darker hues. We want your dinner to be pretty, too, you know! Make some Purple Jasmine Coconut Rice with Cashews to add some texture and great flavor to your meal.

Or, if you’d like to stick with more traditional and hearty winter recipes, how about Giada DeLaurentiis Lentil soup mix, found in this season’s Winter box? We know what you’re thinking, and yes, it’s that Giada– the Food Network chef. In the Spring of 2011, Women’s Bean Project invited professional chefs to submit recipes for their favorite lentil soup. It was tough to narrow the field to just one soup, but the winning combination was created by Giada DeLaurentiis. Her recipe provides a terrific combination of Italian spices and herbs that surprises your palate and rounds out our soup offerings.

Dessert

We’re pretty sure we’ve got you covered on dessert from our blog full of chocolate recipes using the 70% Divine Dark Chocolate in this season’s box, but in case you want one more, the purple rice is also great for making Purple Rice Pudding with Rose Water Dates!

Full Yet?

Settle down to your favorite Christmas movies surrounded by family and friends while cozying up with some Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Women’s Bean Project and a cup of Chamomile Spearmint Tea, or a nice cup of Peace Blend coffee available in our subscription plus coffee club, knowing that your Christmas meal was full of tasty, organic fair trade food which simulaneaously helps people around the world live dignified lives free of poverty. How’s that for Christmas spirit?

To see more great food ideas from this season’s subscription box, check out our “Very Merry Ethical Christmas Dinner” Pinterest Board.

December 4, 2013
by morgan
1 Comment

Three of our Favorite Fair Trade Chocolate Recipes

If you haven’t heard,  Trade as One is now shipping our Winter Subscription Box! And that means one thing: chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Our subscription and one off subscription box called the Gift of Good both include %70 Dark Chocolate and another seasonal bar. In anticipation for the holidays, we’ve compiled some of our favorite recipes from the Divine Chocolate Website that use %70 Dark Chocolate (all photos below are theirs as well)! We’ve got your holidays covered with a recipe perfect for giving as homemade gifts, a recipe perfect for the little ones to help, and another that’s for adults only! If you want any additional chocolate, our website has got you covered with chocolate bars, chocolate samplers and even an advent calendar.

PS- if you make any of the below recipes, feel free to share pictures with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. We’d love to see!

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Florentines- great for homemade gifts

INGREDIENTS: (makes approx 16)
  • 25g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 15g / 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 75ml double cream
  • 75g flaked almonds
  • 30g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 50g stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 25g glace cherries, roughly chopped
  • Zest of one orange
  • 150g Divine 70% dark chocolate
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 /350F/180C.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the sugar and flour and cook over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously with a balloon whisk.
  3. Add the double cream and continue whisking over the heat until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add all of the other ingredients apart from the chocolate. Stir well to coat the ingredients and turn off the heat.
  5. Line two baking trays with baking parchment, brush with a little melted butter, followed by a dusting of flour. Shake off any excess flour.
  6. Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the Florentine mix onto the lined trays and flatten slightly into rounds with the back of the spoon. Leave at least 5cm between spoonfuls, the Florentine mix will spread as it cooks.
  7. Cook one tray at a time, on the top shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  8. After removing from the oven, leave on the tray for a couple of minutes to set, then slide onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you like, you can use a round pastry cutter to trim off the edges and create a more uniform shape.
  9. Melt the chocolate and leave to one side to cool a little. It should be warm but not too runny. Dip the Florentines in the chocolate, coating half, and lay on a sheet of baking parchment to set.
  10. Store in an airtight container for freshness.

Chocolate Covered Satsumas- perfect for kids!

INGREDIENTS 

  • One good satsuma or seedless clementine
  • 100g Divine 70% Dark Chocolate
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Buy one good Satsuma (or seedless Clementine) for each person expected.
  2. Peel. Try to get as much of the bitter white pith off as you can but don’t go mad.
  3. Put a saucepan of water on to boil then reduce to a very gentle simmer ie the water is just about moving.
  4. Sit a bowl into the top of the pan. Don’t let it touch the water.
  5. Break up a load of Divine 70% Dark Chocolate and drop it into the bowl. Judge how much you’ll need by making one for yourself ahead of the event.
  6. Let it melt very slowly without stirring. Once it looks soft and malleable, take it off the bowl. Stir till creamy.
  7. Dunk one fruit at a time into the melted chocolate and turn to it’s coated. Maybe use a couple of large spoons.
  8. Sit the fruit on greaseproof paper/non-stick baking tray/foil, to set in a cool place.
  9. Special occasion? Melt a bit of white chocolate as above to decorate/write messages.

The Divinitini- adults only! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 cubes of melted Divine Milk Chocolate
  • 1 slice of orange
  • Dash of Grand Marnier
  • Dash of dark Creme de Cacao
  • 1 fl oz Wyborowa orange vodka
  • 1 fl oz pure vodka
 INSTRUCTIONS
1. Melt Divine Milk Chocolate, then shake it together with Wyborowa orange and pure vodka, Gran Marnier, creme de cacao and a crushed slice of orange.
2. Serve in a chilled martini glass with pansy garnish.

November 27, 2013
by morgan
0 comments

Thanksgiving: A Time to Promote What you Love.

We recently saw this quote (below) from our friends at The Art of Simple, and resonated deeply with it, especially with the holiday season upon us.

It’s a great quote, right? Especially with Black Friday a couple days away. You’ve probably heard it before: the evils of Black Friday, how commerce is destroying the world, and how you are a very bad person for wanting to shop (you’re not).

While there is some truth in the hurtful effects of days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday– people having to be away from their families to work, cheap labor being used to produce cheap products, and big business continuing the cycles of wastefulness and earth harm– we think there is a different and a better way to address these problems.

And that’s to shop differently. Shop by promoting what you love. Shop with companies that do good for the world. Trade as One strongly believes that commerce is not bad. There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting meaningful gifts for friends and family. In fact, we believe commerce can be used for good! That’s why we use fair trade food commerce to break cycles of poverty throughout the developing world.

So what can you do about it? Start with Fair Tuesday!

Fair Tuesday exists in contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday by promoting business and commerce that helps the world. During this Thanksgiving season, for every Gift of Good purchased we will donate $20 which will feed an impoverished Guatemalan family for one year through our partner Food for the Hungry. This is a simple way to show thankfulness for the important people in your life with a delicious box of healthy, ethically made goodies, while at the same time providing a year’s worth of food for a family living in poverty. Each Gift of Good purchased using the code FAIR20 will include a special message explaining to the recipient that the purchase has also directly assisted a Guatemalan family living in poverty. This Thanksgiving offer runs from today until 12/3. This Gift of Good definitely lives up to its name!

So, let’s keep Thanksgiving about the thanks and the giving and use this season to promote what we love. It will help make the world a more positive place!

See the Gift of Good here. Make sure to use FAIR20 at checkout!

November 13, 2013
by morgan
0 comments

Announcing our Winter box featured product and producer

It’s hard to believe Trade as One is entering its fourth season as a completely Fair Trade consumables company. Our subscription has been the foundation of this transition, answering the call of so many of our customers that wanted a way to live ethically every single day. And what better way to do that than through food? Our first subscription box since the relaunch featured rice from Alter Eco. Rice is an important cereal crop in addressing world hunger, and we’re thankful for the work Alter Eco does throughout the world. The Summer subscription box brought you shea butter, a product that it common in the beauty products world, but rarely talked about in terms of consuming it ethically. Our third and current season of the year, Fall, has brought you beans from Women’s Bean Project. Beans are the second in world consumption next to rice, and Women’s Bean Project works to address chronic unemployment in the United States.

In three seasons we’ve addressed current and important issues in the way our consumption of these products affect the world, so choosing our Winter product was not easy- all of our producers do so much good. But after sitting back and thinking about the upcoming Winter season, there was one product and one producer that fit with both the feeling and the message of the season.

And that’s chocolate.

What do you think of when you think of Winter? Our guess is that it involves either a warm fire, snow, or sugary treats (or maybe all three?). When we think of the holiday season, we definitely think of chocolate. Lot’s of chocolate. Winter is also know as the season of giving, which is exactly the reason we chose to feature chocolate made from Divine: giving is built into their entire cooperative system. Farmers are given a say in all decisions affecting them, and they own almost half the company. Furthermore, profits from Divine Chocolate sales are invested back into the villages where their co-operative called Kuapa Kokoo, meaning “good cocoa growers” exists. They do this with schools, watering holes and other support systems needed to make thriving communities. Divine chocolate embodies everything fair trade should be: clean, transparent, and gives back to their farmers. They encourage us daily to do good for the world through the example the set. They show that Fair Trade isn’t just about better prices, but about creating a better world where farmers, their families, and communities thrive.

The best part, though, is that Divine Chocolate and all of our other producers don’t stop giving once the season is over. Giving is woven into all of our producers, which is passed on to you through each season of our subscription box, and onto friends and family through our Gift of Good. And we think that is a beautiful thing.

To learn more about our chocolate producers visit our guest blog at Do A Little Good.