Blogging for Good

live simply. buy ethically.

December 16, 2014
by morgan
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Subscriber Snapshot: Meet Lina

Welcome to our Subscriber Snapshot, where we highlight some of the amazing subscribers who really “get” everything Trade as One is about. To learn more about the Trade as One subscription, head to our website here.

 Meet Lina: Coffee expert, community builder, and Trade as One subscriber

We’ve known about Lina for awhile. She’s the General Manager at a our favorite local Santa Cruz coffee shop called The Abbey, where we come to enjoy coffee, and occasionally do Trade as One photo shoots in their beautiful setting. We love The Abbey for their great coffee, good music, and commitment to building community in the Santa Cruz area. Through our relationship with them, we learned that Lina is also a Trade as One subscriber, and we couldn’t wait to talk to her.

Lina is passionate about good food and good community and loves how a simple cup of coffee or meal with others brings people together. She loves to travel and become immersed in new cultures. These are all good reasons to subscribe to Trade as One, but her reason for subscribing goes much deeper than that.

Her Story

Lina’s grandparents were field workers all over California. Growing up, Lina would hear stories about their fight for ethical treatment and strikes for fair wages. She says this awareness of the importance to consume ethically was further cemented when she spent some time living abroad and seeing first hand the positive difference ethically made products make in the lives of producers and families.

Lina says it best when she said “The world is much smaller than you would imagine and our purchasing power has long reaching effects.”  See what we mean when we say our subscribers “get it”? They understand that little choices towards consuming ethically everyday are a part of a bigger picture. We are connected deeply to our purchases, and through Fair Trade, those purchases positively impact the world. This is especially why we focus on producer stories at Trade as One, so you can see the farmers and producers behind each and every product, and hear directly from them how Fair Trade is helping them out of poverty. Lina says learning of these stories and seeing the heart behind our producers is one of her favorite aspect of the subscription. When asked about her favorite product, she said she loves the green olives and the chocolate, but her all time favorite is the Mascobado Cane Sugar from the Philippines because “its vanilla flavor is so unique and delicate.”

When asked more about how the subscription and how she uses it she said “I thought that by subscribing to Trade as One i would be able to make a lasting and consistent change in the lives of producers as well as educating my family regarding eating and using ethically sourced products. It is always so great to reach into my cupboard and grab a product that i am sure that was sourced, produced and imported ethically.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

 

November 30, 2014
by morgan
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The Story of Coffee

Each season, Trade as One highlights one product and producer in our Fair Trade food subscription (Take 10% off through December 5th with the code GRATEFUL10). We’ve previously featured everything from rice and quinoa, shea butter, and a variety of fruits and nuts. This season, we are excited to feature Thanksgiving Coffee roasters and their Peace Blend coffee. It’s a story of hope and restoration over a communal love of coffee, and it’s one we couldn’t wait to share!

In the face of coffee farmers being cheated at every turn, Fair Trade coffee offers a chance for farmers and families to improve their livelihood. Trade as One’s producer, Thanksgiving Coffee, is a family-run artisan coffee roaster in Northern California that buys fair trade, sustainably-produced coffee from small farms and cooperatives around the world.

 While all the stories from Thanksgiving Coffee–whose farms span from Latin and South America to Africa and Indonesia–bring tales of restoration and hope to coffee farmers around the world; it’s their Peace Blend Coffee that really brings home the power of Fair Trade:

 Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee explains that, before he even tasted the coffee, he knew he wanted the story.  He got a call from a volunteer within the Jewish Bantus of Uganda, describing the newly formed cooperative “There are Muslims and Christians in this coffee cooperative,” she continued. “They are all working together. It’s one community. The co-op president is Jewish, the vice-president is Christian, and the treasurer is Muslim.”

 It all began in 2003 when JJ Keki, a Ugandan coffee farmer walked door to door asking his Jewish, Christian, and Muslim neighbors to leave behind a history of conflict, and unite to face their struggle against poverty caused by low coffee prices. Their community of 3rd and 4th generation coffee farmers were struggling to make a living off the low prices offered by the local market. They formed a cooperative to build lasting prosperity in their village and to spread a message of peace throughout the world. They name the cooperative Mirembe Kawomera, which means “Delicious Peace” in the Luganda language. More than 10 years since these humble beginnings, the Peace Kawomera Cooperative has over 1,000 members and farmers receive prices four times higher than what they were previously paid. This enables them to send their children to school, start savings accounts, and reinvest in their farms. Together, the farmers have succeeded in doing something that none thought was possible: bring peace, restoration and cooperation to their communities through their love of coffee.

 While coffee is not usually included in our seasonal box, we are delighted to provide a small sampler of Peace Blend Coffee (which Trade as One has been selling since 2007!) courtesy of Thanksgiving Coffee Company. When you drink our Peace Blend, you can– as Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee, puts it– “toast ‘peace’ each morning over a cup of Mirembe Kawomera coffee!“

Get the Winter subscription box here, or give a one time Winter box here (it’s called the Gift of Good!) Add two bags of coffee– the Peace Blend coffee you just read about and another seasonal blend– here. Through Friday, December 5th, take 10% off the first box of the subscription or the Gift of Good using the code GRATEFUL10.

November 26, 2014
by morgan
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Add these Simple Fair Trade Recipes to your Thanksgiving Feast

Tomorrow is the day where we gather around loved ones, give thanks for the time together, and eat lots of food. Isn’t that why Thanksgiving is so great? We’ve come up with three delicious recipes to add to your Thanksgiving feast, all using products from the Trade as One Fall subscription box. The recipes are savory, they’re sweet, and they’re downright delicious. But the best part is that by including these products in your Thanksgiving meal you’re sharing the power of Fair Trade with those you love most while honoring the hard work of the farmers and producers who made each and every product. So let’s get started, shall we?

Sarah’s Spicy Spit Pea Soup

This Split Pea Soup is made by Women’s Bean Project, and organization who works to bring chronically unemployed and incarcerated women out of poverty and into employment through making gourmet food.

 Here’s what you do: Gather the Split Pea Soup, 4-6 carrots, one medium onion, 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, and 2 cups water, and spices (included).

Rinse the beans in cold water, and put them in a large pot. Add the broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about one hour. While the beans are cooking, chop and saute the carrots and the onions in olive oil until tender. Once the peas are tender, add the carrots, onions, and spice packet. Mix well. Tip: to make the soup even more spicy, add a bit of curry powder to taste!

See? This soup is…

Roasted Vegetables with Honey and Rooibos Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

This Balsamic Vinegar is made in South Africa by Cape Treasures, a brand of Turqle Trading and a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. They ensure producers maintain fair labour and wage practices, and pay 2.5% of the export price of this product to the Fair Trade Trust for the education of the workers and their families.

To start, gather some of your favorite vegetables! We gathered carrots, onions, brussel sprouts, turnips, and beets. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit, and start cutting and quartering vegetables evenly. Spread vegetables on a baking pan and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper.

Toss them in the oven and let them cook for 30-45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. Once vegetables are tender, remove from oven and drizzle with Honey and Rooibos Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.

Cindy’s Sinfully Chocolate Brownies

These chocolate Brownies are nice, fudgy, and sweet, but the lives they positively impact make them even sweeter. They’re also produced by Women’s Bean Project, where in addition to employment, women in the program are given life skills and job readiness training so that when they graduate for the program, they’re equipped with the necessary skills for a new life! All of the women behind Women’s Bean Project products sign their name on the packages, making it easy to give a quick thanks to the person behind your brownies before digging in.


To start. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather 4-6 tablespoons of butter (use 6 for a more fudge like texture seen in the photos), two eggs, and the brownie mix. Lightly heat the butter until soft and mostly melted, and add both eggs. Mix well. Slowly add brownie mix until well blended. Grease an 8×8 pan and add brownie mix. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Removed and let cool. Tip: spread Barefoot and Chocolate Dark Chocolate and Almond Spread with Sea Salt for an even more delicious treat!)

Want to give this as a gift?

All of the products found here are from the Trade as One subscription. To give this as a one time gift, check out our Gift of Good! It has everything found in the Trade as One Fall subscription, but without the subscription– it was last year’s best selling gift! Check out our Pinterest board to see everything in this box.

Note: we switch to our Winter Box next month, so if you want to give the Fall Box as the Gift of Good, order before December 1st!

November 20, 2014
by morgan
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Trade as One’s Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts from Trade as One are given with meaning, used with purpose, and made with respect for the farmers and producers behind them. Below you’ll find an assortment of this year’s gift options. They range in price, size, and taste, but one thing remains the same throughout: every one who made these products were paid a fair wage for their work. With that money they’re able to provide for their families, put food on their tables, and send their children to school. They’re gifts that do good for all. 

The Gift of Good.

 Think of it as a one time subscription box, but without the subscription. This was last year’s best selling gift from Trade as One! It’s full of various products from around the world, made by producers who are visionaries in their field, and farmers who are paid a fair wage for their work. If you order before the December 1st, the Gift of Good reflect items in the Fall subscription box (see it here). If ordered after December 1st, it will reflect the Winter subscription box. Price: $99, shipping included. Add two bags of Fair Trade coffee to the Gift of Good here.

 

Other Best Sellers.

1. Coffee two pack: Nothing says Merry Christmas like a pack of Fair Trade coffee to wake up to every morning! Contains our signature Peace Blend Coffee plus a seasonal selection. $25

2. Olive Oil pack: Not one, but two tasty infused olive oils from Canaan Fair Trade! $28.99

3. Spa Pack: A gift set of handcrafted Alaffia skin care products. $30

4. Chocolate sampler: Enjoy our favorite flavors of Divine chocolates with this popular sampler pack. $14.95

5. Baking Treats Mixes: For your baking friends, these brownies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and cream scones are sure to fill their home with sweet smells and even tastier treats. $15.50

October 30, 2014
by morgan
1 Comment

Flavors of Fall: Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk and Latte

It’s that time of year again, and Pumpkin Spice flavored everything is everywhere you look. The sad part? Most of the Pumpkin Spice products found in conventional grocery stores even contain pumpkin. This is even true for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes from a popular chain coffee shop.

The good news? You can bring the spices of the season into your home without compromising your Fair Trade and real food standards. Below is a simple recipe for Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk, with instructions on making your own Pumpkin Spice Latte using the Fair Trade Almonds in this season’s Trade as One subscription box! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Fair Trade Almonds*
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey or molasses. To sweeten naturally, use dates instead.

* Included in The Trade as One Fall box

Process:

  •  Soak 1 cup almonds in filtered water overnight
  • Drain and rinse almonds
  • Place almonds in a high speed blender with 2 cups filtered water
  • Add 1 cup pumpkin
  • If you choose to use dates instead of honey or molasses, place them in the blender now and omit final step
  • Blend thoroughly and strain through cheesecloth or nut milk bag
  • Add cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, vanilla. Whisk thoroughly, or blend.
  • Add sweeter to taste

Note: Keeps in refrigerator for up to a week. Lightly shake before each use, as nut milk separates over time.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Recipe

  •  Make two espresso shots or 1 cup strong coffee**
  •  Heat 1 cup Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk in a saucepan or warm with espresso steamer
  • Combine coffee and milk; sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy by a warm fire***
** Included in this season’s box for Coffee Club subscribers!
*** Warm fire is optional, though highly encouraged.

 

 

October 20, 2014
by morgan
1 Comment

The poor want jobs + a Fall Box giveaway!

Did you know many farmers and food producers aren’t paid enough for their work to feed themselves and their families? Imagine working your whole life farming a food staple such as rice, while still returning home from the fields every day hungry.
It’s a reality that much of the world faces, especially in small faming communities. This is why we see Fair Trade food as a viable solution to bring people out of poverty. The poor don’t want handouts, they want jobs. Jobs that provide a fair wage so they can do everything we expect to do with our wages, like provide food, shelter, education, and medical care for our families– all of which Fair Trade premiums provide.

Meet Phakphum, and Alter Eco rice farmer

A great example of a Trade as One producer who is leading the way in community development and sustainable farming in traditionally impoverished areas is Alter Eco. Their cooperatives span from Bolivia to Thailand, and we’re proud to include their Ruby Red Rice and Rainbow Quinoa in this season’s subscription box!

Their Surin Cooperative is in Thailand, several hours away from the loud noises and fast paced lifestyle of Bangkok, Thailand’s largest city. Here in Surin, the majority of people are farmers, like Phakphum. He grew up in Thailand’s  northeast region, where he has been working in his family’s field since he was seven years old. When he was 13, he dropped out of school to help his single mother with farm work. The family used to struggle greatly with the financial imbalance of conventional rice farming practices, making a meager profit after extensive fertilizer, labor and herbicide costs to maintain yield of the depleted soil.

Now Phakphum no longer worries about losing his ancestor’s land because he, his sister Sohm Rien, and his mother Coo-eye represent one of the 7,500 families currently selling organic Fair Trade rice through a farmer cooperative. The Fair Trade price has allowed Phakphum to make the three-year transition to organic farming. Subsequently, his pesticide related respiratory illness has subsided, and the health of his fields have improved. He has not only been able to pay of debts he incurred under conventional trade, but also has invested in more land and buffaloes.

Phakphum is the leader of his village committee through which farmers annually set the rice price and enforce organic standards. This cooperative structure also gives Phakphum and his neighbors yearly dividends and a community savings fund.

Most important to Phakphum has been the return of his dignity. As he looks out over a golden rice field he says, “I like to be self-reliant. Rely on my two hands and my head. It’s safe for my life and other people’s lives.”

Ready for the Giveaway?

Not only is October Fair Trade Month, but we’ve just passed 10,000 Facebook fans! We figured it’s only appropriate to celebrate this month and milestone by sharing a Trade as One Fall subscription box with you, so you can experience the delicious flavors of Fair Trade while knowing each and every farmer behind these products where given a fair wage for their work. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 8, 2014
by morgan
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Better than Nutella: Barefoot & Chocolate Spread and a Recipe!

What do you get when you combine chocolate, almonds, sea salt, and then spread it all over anything in sight? It’s called Barefoot & Chocolate’s Chocolate Almond Spread with Sea Salt, and you can find it (and then devour it) in this season’s Trade as One subscription box!

The Story.

Founders Trent and Sasha went looking for a way to do chocolate spreads better. They wanted to craft a spread containing ingredients where everything on the label is recognizable and sourced ethically. After long nights tinkering in their kitchen, with a toddler in tow, they perfected their chocolate spread free of GMO’s, artificial ingredients, and hydrogenated and solvent extracted oils. Pretty great, right?

Why Fair Trade?

What we love about Barefoot & Chocolate– aside from the obvious (their incredible chocolate)– is that sourcing all of their ingredients ethically was a no-brainer. Sasha attributes this to spending her summers in her ancestral village in southern India watching farmers hard at work trying to make an honest living. Combine her desire for ethical ingredients and Trent’s love of culinary creations, and you get a tasty spread that’s organic, fair trade, and is helping farmers around the world earn a living wage.

Where in the world?

All of the products in this Chocolate and Almond Spread with Sea Salt is certified by Fair Trade USA. The cocoa is from West Africa, the Vanilla is from Madagascar, and the cane Sugar is from India. In addition to Fair Trade certified ingredients, the chocolate spread is Non- GMO Project Verified and Vegan.

Ready for the Perfect Parfait? It’s so Easy!

This recipe and photo is from the Barefoot & Chocolate recipe section. See more here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10-12 Strawberries – sliced

  • ½ cup raspberries

  • ½ cup blueberries

  • 12 oz. Greek yogurt

  • 2-3 tbsp. Barefoot & Chocolate Dark Chocolate Almond Spread

  • ½ cup good quality granola

DIRECTIONS

Layer all the ingredients in small mason jar or glass. Top with a dollop of our chocolate spread.

October 1, 2014
by morgan
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When Local isn’t an Option, choose Fair Trade

The local food movement is gaining popularity, and with good reason. Globalization has created a world where we don’t know what comes from where, or who makes any of the products we consume. In fact, the World Footprint Network estimates that to meet the current rate of global production, consumption and waste absorption, we need 1.5 earths. Essentially, we’re using more resources than the earth has to give.

This is where the local food movement– a collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies– and the Fair Trade movement become teammates.

The local food movement rebels against massed produced, genetically modified, highly processed foods. These foods are unhealthy, come from unknown sources, and create obscene profits for 10 or so public corporations that control our food supply. Supporters of the local food movement want intimacy with trusted suppliers, to know their stories and to feel part of a movement that is making the world a better place.

We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why the local food movement and the fair trade movement are actually a part of the same movement. Americans cannot “buy local” for coffee, tea, rice, sugar, quinoa, or chocolate that Trade as One provides, and the Fair Trade movement provides the transparency and intimacy in our food supplies that people are looking for.

Take for example our producer, Alter Eco. They work with cooperatives around the world producing various kinds of rice and quinoa, as well as sugar and cocoa– all products that do not grow local in the US. They tell you which cooperatives around the world make their products, and encourage their consumers to connect and read the stories of the farmers behind them. Alter Eco recently received the best B-Corp award for being in the top 10% of all B-Corps for their overall social and environmental impact, and several news agencies–like The Guardian and NPR– are supporters of Alter Eco for those same reasons.

This is just one example of the producers you’ll find in the Trade as One subscription. All of our producers must meet certain social and sustainable criteria for them to be considered for the Trade as One subscription because the ideals that are important to the local food movement– transparency, honesty, non-GMO, and organic foods– are just as important to us. Together, we can create a world where our food is transparent, sustainable, and real.

September 10, 2014
by morgan
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A Peek Inside the Fall Box: Honey and Rooibos Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

We’re now shipping the Trade as One Fall subscription box! With that means an assortment of four featured products, one new producer, and four new products to Trade as One, all perfectly suited to the time of year where we trade in our flip flops and iced coffees for fall boots and pumpkin lattes.

This Honey and Rooibos Balsamic Vinegar Reduction from Turqle Trading is one of our new products to the Trade as One box. But don’t be fooled, this product has more than just pretty face (and taste). This product is employing and providing fair wages to men and women from South Africa, a country where half of the nation’s youth are unemployed, and where 60% of Black women are unable to find jobs. Lack of income means men and women are unable to provide food and shelter for their families, or education for their children.

Those numbers look something like this:

Pretty scary, right?

Luckily, Turqle Trading is working to change those numbers. They currently employ nearly 500 South Africans, and continually encourage their employees to develop their skills and knowledge through various educational classes such as health care and personal budgeting. These classes enable their employees to better plan for the future of their families and prepare for unexpected expenses. Pretty amazing, right? You can taste this delicious product and much more when you subscribe to Trade as One’s seasonal subscription box! Learn more here.

Ways to use balsamic vinegar reduction:

- drizzle over a Caprese salad (Basil, Tomato, and Mozzarella), or drizzle over grilled peaches.

- Liven up soups, like the Split Peas Soup from Women’s Bean Project included in this season’s box.

- drizzle over slices of avocado and sprinkle with salt

- Drizzle balsamic vinegar reduction and olive oil over a salad for a simple dressing.
- Use to season meat and seafood
- drizzle over roasted vegetables, like Beets or Brussels Sprouts

September 3, 2014
by morgan
3 Comments

And the Fall 2014 Featured Product is…

Cashews! And Almonds. And dried Mango. And dried Pineapple.

…Wait, what?

Yep, that’s right. This season we chose four featured products, not only because they all have incredible stories, but also because it just makes sense. Fruits and nuts. They go together, and are a perfect cozy snack for the Fall season just around the corner. Below is a quick look at all of our featured products!

Cashews. APRAINORES, El Salvador

These cashews have an appealing earthy flavor and smoky aftertaste. Grown using sustainable farming practices such as biodiversity and multi-cropping. These farmers are proudly reclaiming an island where El Salvador’s civil war once raged. After struggling for peasant rights and suffering violent reprisals during the country’s 12 year civil war, they received land through a government land reform program. These 60 farmers now grow exquisite cashews in a protected mangrove sanctuary and are learning how to run a Fair Trade farming co-operative. The full length feature story of these special cashews and the farmers behind them can be found in the Fall Box’s educational pamphlet!

Almonds. Palestine

These almonds are a large, sweet premium variety, rich in vitamin E, and are raw and unsalted. The producers of these almonds, PARC (the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee), is the largest Palestinian nonprofit organization working in rural areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Fair Trade Department at PARC (the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee) works to organize the efforts of agricultural cooperatives of farmers and women to market their food products for export and to improve their social and economic situation. Their overall objective is to help farmers and women obtain fair prices for their products, prices that will ensure a decent life for them. They have helped to form over 30 cooperatives and organizations, improving the lives of thousands of farmers and women.

Dried Mango. Burkina Faso, West Africa

These Fair Trade Organic dried mangoes are coming to your from seventeen different rural cooperatives and associations in the South of Burkina Faso. The benefits of these mangos (aside from being a delicious, healthy snack) are threefold:

The fresh fruit farmers benefit from sales, and the women doing the processing gain from paid employment.  Then, the Fair Trade social premium benefit the whole community through Adult literacy programs, new water sources, bicycles and cereal banks. These are just some examples of how the social premium has been positively used by co-operatives!

Dried Pineapple. Uganda

This Pineapple is made from Smooth Cayenne Pineapple, and has a characteristic zingy sweet flavor. The farmers of this dried Pineapple are popularizing the solar drying method amongst famers, because they believe it is an affordable way to preserve their fruits and add value to them. In addition, solar drying has minimal environmental impact using renewable energy, retaining waste at the point where it is grown and minimizing transport costs by transporting fruit only when it has been dried – and in bulk. The fruits are 100% natural dried fruits, produced without any added preservatives or added sugars.