>> Friday, May 8, 2009
This weekend brings two important events: Saturday is World Fair Trade Day and Sunday is, of course, Mother's Day. What a perfect combination! I can't think of a better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with lots of delectable fair trade and organic chocolate.
Chocolate by any other name...
...might taste as sweet, but if it's not USDA certified organic chocolate, you're also ingesting a generous helping of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizer. After cotton, conventional cocoa is grown with more pesticides than any other crop.
The story behind chocolate that's not certified fair trade is even less appetizing. Six chocolate manufacturers process 50% of all the cocoa in the world, giving them the ability to dictate cocoa prices. A high demand for cheap chocolate means the cocoa farmers are paid next to nothing; according to Green America, "the average cocoa farmer will generally earn only $30 to $100 a year."
Struggling in extreme poverty, many farmers choose to keep their children out of school to help on the farm, sometimes in hazardous conditions such as spraying pesticides on plants without wearing proper protective gear. Other farmers resort to slavery - child slave labor has been documented in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon, where most of the world's cocoa is grown.
So show your mother you care by giving her chocolate that's good to the planet and helps farmers support their families, send their children to school, and not use slavery.
Fair Trade or Organic?
Lucky for us, we don't have to make this tough decision. There are plenty of chocolate brands out there that are both fair trade and organic, including Equal Exchange, Theo, Rapunzel, and even Trader Joe's store brand. You can find these at your local food co-op or natural foods store, and I've even seen Endangered Species chocolate (fair trade but not organic) at mainstream grocery stores.
Other Ways to Celebrate World Fair Trade Day
- Besides chocolate, you can find fair trade coffee, tea, herbs, fresh fruit, sugar, rice, and vanilla in the U.S.
- Cadbury's Dairy Milk Bar has gone fair trade!!! But only in Engand. :( Thank Cadbury for this important step forward and let them know we want fair trade Cadbury products here in the United States by adding your name to this letter from Green America.
- Find a World Fair Trade Day event near you by visiting www.worldfairtradeday09.org or googling "World Fair Trade Day" and the name of your city.
- If you live in the Triangle area, here are some celebrations around here:
- Ten Thousand Villages
- Location: Raleigh and Chapel Hill stores
- Time: 10am - 7pm
- Description: A day long celebration of fair trade! Enjoy free samples of chocolate and other fairly traded foods, register for door prizes. Join coffee drinkers around the U.S. as we try and break the record for the World's Largest Coffee Break at 3:00 p.m. Take our fair trade quiz and earn 20% off your purchases.
- Fair Trade Coffee Break at the Earth Fare Cafe
- Location: Raleigh
- Time: 8am - 10pm
- Description: Larry's Beans, a fair trade organic coffee roaster in Raleigh NC, has partnered with Earth Fare and will be featuring Costa Little Ricky that day for $ .50/cup and one pound bags for $7.99 all week. Sales support farmers in Bolivia, Mexico, and Ethiopia.
- Fair Trade Day Celebration at One World Market
- Location: Durham
- Time: 10am - 6pm
- Description: With delicious Fair Trade food samples, FREE prizes for everyone who participates in the geography game, and live music, featuring Viswas Chitnis and Chris Johnson. Help break the record for the World’s Largest Coffee Break at 3pm. FREE admission.