Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy February: Think Fair Trade this Valentine's Day

It's already February 2012. Isn't this the year the big meteor hits Earth and the only way we can survive is to somehow get on those submarines they are building in China? I can't believe it's already February. That means Valentine's Day is only 13 days away, although there has been Valentine's Day merchandise in some stores since the day after Christmas! Which brings me to the point of this post. Unlike on Halloween, when most of the chocolate is bought for children who probably wouldn't really understand the need for fair trade, the heavy spending on Valentine's Day is by adults for adults. So this Valentine's Day, I urge you to think about the source of your flowers, candy and coffee.

In West Africa there are many coffee and cacao plantations that operate through slave labor. Many of these slaves are children who have been kidnapped from the forests around their villages or lured with the promise of rewards. Some have been promised jobs or adventure. But what really happens is that they are put to work on these plantations to grow the products that go into your candy bar or morning coffee. So if you want to tell your special person you really love her/him, please choose fair trade. If it can't be fair trade, then at least buy coffee from East Africa or South America and Belgian chocolate (guaranteed slave free). It doesn't necessarily cost more, you just need to look at the label. For flowers, instead of cut flowers that may be coming from a flower plantation that does not pay fair wages, consider a potted plant sourced locally.

If you can buy Fair Trade, my friends at Fair Trade USA just published their Fair Trade Valentine's Day Gift Guide. This one has a lot of unique products for men and women (as well as a tip on how women can get their significant other to buy Fair Trade Certified roses this year...). A few of my favorites are the "Helping Haiti" rose bouquet from One World Flowers (shipped directly from the far in Ecuador), the recipe for chocolate mousse cake, and Weaver's Astral Blend coffee that supports breast cancer research.

Many people don't realize that human slavery still exists in our world. This Valentine's Day, please consider sending a message with your pocketbook that this is not acceptable. As a special thank you for your consideration, the first five people to comment on this post will receive an Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Quinoa bar from Fair Trade USA.

I did not receive any compensation for this post. I have been involved with the organization Just One for some time now and ending human slavery is an issue about which I care deeply. Thank you.


Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony said...

That's so great to shout out fair trade products. It's always important to know when possible where things you spend money on come from!

Deb T. said...

if only people were's so important!

heathergothitched said...

Wow, I seriously had no clue... This is so important, people! There are animal activists who shout their stuff from the rooftops/TV/Hollywood, but where are all the HUMAN activists (other than our dear friend, Eunice, of course!) screaming this message? I will definitely make sure to double check from now and and pass this along to my friends. Thanks, Eunice!!!

Love always,

Jadefan said...

A great reminder to think about how our actions can have a global impact.

bunny said...

i don't really buy anything for vday in general but good to know. love fair trade stuff. Grason is SO not into vday or chocolate.