Valentine’s Day is meant to spread love and devotion to those around you. So when you are choosing what to give your sweetie or loved one, think about the energy that was put into the product you buy. Purchasing something ethical, such as fair trade goods, will be made with love that you can pass on to your recipient. We enjoy buying ethically and are excited to choose Fair Trade for our Valentine’s Day needs. We have done a few gift guides for Fair Trade Valentine’s over the years, but this year we decided to choose our favorite Fair Trade V-Day gifts! Sending our fair love to you.

Sweet Earth Chocolates Heart Box

1) Sweet Earth Chocolates Heart Box: Who doesn’t love a good box of chocolates? We love Sweet Earth Chocolate’s Red or God Heart Box which are filled with 11 heart shaped chocolates. We prefer the Gold Box, filled with an assortment of vegan chocolates. All their sweets are Fair Trade and organic. Plus the traditional red and gold heart shaped box gives an old school feel to your Valentine’s Day. Also, you can’t beat the price, coming in around $22.50 for organic, fair trade, and gourmet chocolates.

 

Organic Style Crown Majesty Roses

2) Organic Style Crown Majesty Roses: Not usually a fan of pink, but this beautiful light pink rose bouquet is one of our favorites. Organic Style is a great eco and socially conscious flower company that we have used on many occasions. These beautiful, antique looking roses are Fair Trade and have high labor standards. On top of that, the flowers are EcoBlooms certified, certified sustainable, the vase is made from recycled glass, all packaging is recycled, and shipping is green using carbon offsets. All around this bouquet and many like it on Organic Style’s website is all around ethical!

Ten Thousand Villages Valentine Banner Card

3) Ten Thousand Villages Be Mine Banner: If you are looking to make a big statement this Valentine’s Day, consider Ten Thousand Villages Be Mine Banner Card. The card states “Be Mine, I’m Yours” on a handmade Fair Trade card from Bangladesh. The red and pink card is made from Water Hyacinth paper and comes with it’s own envelope. You could give it as a card or hang it as a banner to spice things up! Plus you can’t beat the price at $7.00!

 

Ten Thousand Villages Hearts Afloat Candles

4) Ten Thousand Villages Hearts Afloat Candles: Spice up your night with these lovely floating Fair Trade candles. These lovely candles are handmade in India and would really get the romantic vibe right in a bath for two or set the tone for dinner by floating in a centerpiece. They come in a nice box which states “Melt My Heart” so they are already gift wrapped for those on the go.  You can’t miss with these thoughtful and sweet Fair Trade candles.

 

World of Good Cupcake Set

5) World of Good Cupcake Set: If you want to show your cupcake just what you think of her, here is the perfect gift! The matching handmade and Fair Trade cupcake earrings and necklace are made in Mexico. This adorable set is perfect for any cupcake in your life including your daughter, friend, wife, girlfriend, or even mother. We love the simple and cutesy look of this set and would be proud to wear it ourselves.

 

Autonomie Project Fair Trade Jewelry Sale

6) Last But Not Least:  We couldn’t help but take the time to announce our own lovely Fair Trade Valentine’s Gifts at Autonomie.While some of our items are unconventional gifts such as red sneakers and flip flops, we do have beautiful Fair Trade Jewelry from our friends at Proxy Apparel.  And just because we love our customers so much, we have a Valentine’s Sale going now of up to 50% off and an additional 15% off when you purchase two pairs of sneakers.

She gave birth to you and like most Americans, you want to show her your appreciation for all her love and affection. Yet many of the traditional gifts for Mother’s Day are not sustainable for our main Mother, Earth. As with most holidays and products, this does not have to be the case! There are ethical alternatives to gifts for your lovely Mom and we have gathered a quick list of ideas. Be sure your Mother’s Day thanks both your Mom and the Earth! And if your Mom is anything like mine, she will love the extra effort! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies of the world.

1) Flowers that Matter: You can ask almost any florist shop, Mother’s Day is one of their busiest holidays. The problem is many flowers are grown by conventional means and on large plantations. However, there are ethical flowers out there. There are Fair Trade Certified Roses available at Whole Foods and various locations. Also, check out the site Organic Style, they offer all organic flower delivery, as well as Fair Trade roses and California Grown flowers. All their packaging, gift cards, and even shipping methods are recycled or eco-friendly. They also have a wonderful program called Flowers For Good, where a portion of your order will be donated to various organizations ranging from Green America to Breast Cancer Fund and even the Humane Society!

2) Feel Good Chocolates: If your Mom is more of a sweet tooth, think about getting some delicious and socially conscious Fair Trade and Organic chocolates. Luckily you have a lot of great options out there. Coco Zen makes a great line of Fair Trade truffles that even come in a reusable Tiffin (a tin used as a lunch box in India). They have vegan varieties and also have a line of chocolate inspired eco- friendly bath items, as well as some adorable gift sets! If you are looking for something in the vegan world look no further than Sjaak’s! Their assortments are not only animal free, they are organic and Fair Trade certified. And if you want something a little fancier, check out Sweet Earth Chocolates. Their handcrafted gourmet turtles and truffles are organic and Fair Trade and can be made vegan!

3) Long Lasting Gifts: Even though chocolates and flowers make exceptional gifts for your Mom, you may want something that lasts a little longer. There are plenty of Eco-friendly and Fair Trade gifts that will delight your Mother. Global Exchange’s online store has a number of great Fair Trade gifts ranging from jewelery to pottery and even belts! World of Good has put together a Fair Trade Mother’s Day Gift Guide with hundreds of great ethical gift suggestions. If your Mother is more of the spiritual or fitness type, you may want to check out Gaiam. They have a line of eco-friendly yoga mats as well as Fair Trade gifts for your spirit. Also, if you are looking specifically for Earth friendly gifts EConscious Market is another helpful gift site! Running low on time? Find a local Fair Trade store or see if there is a Ten Thousand Villages in your area.

4) Alternative Greeting Cards: Although gift cards can be beautiful and send a sweet message, many of them wind up in landfills or hopefully the recycle bin. This year think about skipping the card all together! If you are giving a gift, let it stand for itself. Maybe you live far from Mom and need to send her something, this year try sending an E-Card. There are hundreds of Free E Card companies out there.  If you feel you must give a card think about making a postcard on the back of a nice photo, your Mom will not likely toss a beauty like you! Also, you can make your own paper out of junk mail and turn it into a beautiful card. If you really are not the crafty type, there are a few eco-friendly card companies out there including Eco-Expressions. You can find several brands of eco-friendly greeting cards on Pristine Planet’s site.

5) Homemade Treats: Maybe you are a little low on funds or you just want to make a homemade gift for Mother’s Day. Making your Mom an organic and/or vegan dinner or just dessert usually goes well in my experience. Most Moms love to be pampered and could use some tasty organic treats. Our blog has a backlog of delicious vegan and some organic recipes for main dishes as well as desserts. You can also, look to a few great recipe sites such as Choose Veg, Vegan Dad, and Fresh Organic Recipes. There is no doubt a home cooked meal or dessert will warm your Mother’s heart, so put your apron on and start cooking!

6) Donate in Her Name: A great gift that both your Mother and your conscious will appreciate is a donation in her name. There are literally thousands of organizations to donate to, so pick one dear to your Mother’s heart or choose an environmentally friendly organization. If you are not sure which to choose, check out the site Changing the Present, which allows you to choose from hundreds of non profits and send the donations as gifts.

The Fair Trade marketplace is growing rapidly and more and more products are appearing commonplace. With a whole array for new Fair Trade products it is now easier than ever to be a conscious consumer. Major chains are now carrying Fair Trade products that range from fruit to gifts. With products so readily available, we have put together a “must” list of Fair Trade. This list describes the items you should try to always purchase Fair Trade. Because not all products have a Fair Trade or even labor friendly alternative, our list ensures you can support Fair Trade on a daily basis. Just be sure and look for the Fair Trade certified logo before you buy!

10 Things to Always Buy Fair Trade

1) Coffee: Coffee was the first Fair Trade product certified and has been on the market for decades. These days Fair Trade coffee is EVERYWHERE! Even coffee giants Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts carry some certified blends. But beyond the larger chains, there are countless independent, local, and funky cafes that serve certified coffee. And if you are more of brew at home person, you can find pounds of Fair Trade coffee in natural food stores, co-ops, Whole Foods, and even major supermarkets. To find coffee near you, check TransFair’s guide.

2) Tea: Along with coffee, tea is readily available in supermarkets and cafes. Tea can be found in loose leaf form, tea bags, and even bottled form. The US tea market is growing and certified tea can be found almost anywhere! Check Green America’s guide to Fair Trade teas.

3) Chocolate: Next to coffee and tea, chocolate is probably the most common certified product. Several companies have been switching to Fair Trade including the recent announcement by Green & Black and Cadbury’s UK brand. Fair Trade chocolate is even used in some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors, and soon all flavors! Chocolate can be found in most natural food stores, co-ops, Whole Foods, and even chain markets. Fair Trade cocoa is also available! Look out for certified chocolate in your area.

4) Fruit: Fair Trade fruit has now become readily available in American markets. Certified bananas are carried in many markets and used by restaurants all over the country. Other tropical fruits such as mangoes and pineapples have a growing availability. Be on the look out for more and more fruits becoming certified! But for now, look for the Fair Trade certified logo when stocking up on your tropical fruits! Find fruit in your area.

5) Flowers: Next time you want to woo your sweetie, go to a dinner party, or just want to spruce up your pad, choose Fair Trade flowers! Certified flowers are available at Whole Foods Markets, Giant Superstores and likely your local co-op. And even if you need a bouquet delivered, there is a Fair Trade option for you. Check out Organic Style, One World Flowers, and even Sam’s Club! Here’s more information of Fair Trade Flowers and where to buy them.

6) Rice: If you are in the mood for long grain or wild rice, turn to the Fair Trade alternative. These varieties of rice are now offered Fair Trade. Unfortunately, it is hard to find white or brown rice with Fair Trade certification, as most of it is grown within the US. However, these types of rice are sumptuous and will add flare to your dish, without sacrificing your ethics or your taste buds! Also, a great bonus is most Fair Trade rice is also organic, but be sure and check for both certifications before purchasing. These items can be found in natural food stores, cooperatives, and chains such as Whole Foods Market. Locate Fair Trade Rice in your neighborhood today!

7) Vanilla: Vanilla is a baking staple and is necessary for most baked goods. Luckily, Fair Trade vanilla has certified by TransFair since 2006. Much like coffee, the price of vanilla fluctuates on the market, which can destroy local farmers. But with a Fair Trade price, you can guarantee the farmers are being paid a fair price. Fair Trade vanilla can be found at many stores, including Whole Foods, and is even used in Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade vanilla ice cream. Learn more about Fair Trade vanilla.

8) Spices: Once upon a time Fair Trade spices may have been hard to locate but not any more! More and more spices are becoming certified and the list now ranges from Cinnamon to Ginger and even simple Black Pepper. Check out Frontier spices for certified offerings. Frontier and other Fair Trade spices can be found at natural food stores, Whole Foods, co-ops, and some large grocery stores.

9) Sugar: There are plenty of sugar alternatives on the market such as local maple syrup and honey, however, when you need just plain old sugar look no further than the Fair Trade world. Sugar plantations can ecologically and economically devastate and you can be sure this will not occur with a Fair Trade logo. Sugar is carried in a wide variety of stores including Sam’s Club, believe it or not! Find fair sugar in your neck of the woods.

10) Gifts: Fair Trade gifts are the wave of the future. A few years ago you could only find Fair Trade jewelery and a few artisan gifts, however the market for growing Fair Trade gifts is growing, including a new Apparel certification program from Transfair World of Good, is a great place to find unique and Fair Trade gift items as well as Global Exchange. You can find purses, shoes, art; pretty much any gift you would like to give, you can find a unique and well crafted Fair Trade alternative.

The terrific campaign of Fair Trade the White House is bringing a new challenge to North America: the Fair Trade My Home campaign! We are asking all of you to declare your house a Fair Trade Home by May 8th, 2010: World Fair Trade Day.  You may be wondering, what exactly is a Fair Trade Home? According to the campaign a Fair Trade Home is defined by: ” A home that is committed to the purchase and use of fair trade goods…” So if you purchase and use items such as Fair Trade coffee, tea, rice, sports balls, or clothing you could certainly qualify! Or if you are looking for ways to bring more Fair Trade items into your world, now is the time to make the commitment!

The campaign is asking followers to post photos and video of themselves partaking in Fair Trade items/activities on the Fair Trade My Home Facebook site! So begin today, by making the pledge, purchasing Fair Trade, and posting your commitments on the Fair Trade My Home site! At AP we are very excited about this new campaign and have already committed ourselves to the Fair Trade My Home campaign. For ideas on how to make your life and home more fairly traded take a look at our article from earlier this year: Begin the New Year with a Dash of Fair Trade or search Transfair’s Where to Buy Fair Trade Certified.

So please, in honor of 2010 Fair Trade Day, make your pledge Fair Trade My Home today!!

Buying gifts this Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice your conscious! There are a number of Fair Trade alternatives to standard Valentine’s gifts including flowers, chocolates, and jewelry!  So we at AP have put together some suggestions on how to make your Valentine’s fairly traded. Be sure to impress your socially conscious honey with these great fair trade gifts:

Probably the most common gift during the Vday season is flowers. No matter gal or guy, your partner will likely expect this display of affection. So this year why not please them with fair trade flowers? Fair trade flowers can be found online at exclusively fair trade sites such as Better Earth Flowers or One World Flowers. You can also order them online at more mainstream sites like 1-800 Flowers and Sam’s Club Online. Fair Trade flowers can also be found at many grocery chains including Whole Foods, King’s Supermarkets, Roche Brothers, and New Season’s Markets. For a full list of stores in your area that carry fair trade flowers, choose your zip code and check the flowers box on the Transfair site. So if you plan to surprise your honey this year with a bouquet, be sure it meets the fair trade standard!

Besides flowers, the next most often Valentine’s gifts has got to be chocolate! Of course chocolate is one of the oldest fair trade certified products and many companies sell it! In honor of St Valentine, purchase your lover a V day box of fair trade chocolates. You can find all sorts of gift baskets and chocolate bars at World of Good. But if you are looking for something a little more festive, check out Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates‘ special Fair Trade Valentine’s Boxes or Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates’ Valentine’s Gifts. You can also put together your own fair trade chocolate boxes or baskets by going to Whole Foods markets or your local co-op/natural food store. Look for great fair trade chocolate brands like Equal Exchange or Dagoba. Whatever chocolate you decide upon just be sure to look for the Fair Trade certified label.

What goes best with chocolate and romance? Wine of course! There are a couple of great fair trade wine companies that have just emerged on the market. Last year we highlighted the introduction of a new fair trade wine company, Etica. This brand is only available in Minnesota in retail stores, however you can purchase bottles on their online store. Etica isn’t the only fair trade wine on the market, there is also the first fair trade wine company, Melania. Look on their website for a list of retailers carrying the wine. So cozy up to your sweetie this year with a great bottle of fair trade wine and end the night right!

Another common Valentine’s gift is jewelry! Everyone loves to get jewelry, especially if its socially conscious. Fair trade jewelry comes in many great designs and you can find everything from earrings to necklaces and even toe rings. There are many places to find great, handmade fair trade jewelry online such as World of Good, Global Exchange, Taraluna, and Wedge Worldwide. If buying in person is more your thing or if you are in a time crunch go to the nearest Ten Thousand Villages (a nationwide fair trade store) or to the gift section at Whole Foods. Wherever you purchase your fair trade certified jewelry, you’ll be sure to dazzle your honey this year!

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