This weekend is Mother’s Day and what a perfect time to show your love and admiration for the lady who gave birth to you.  There are many ways to give thanks to your Mother, but we at AP put together a great list of ways to show your love for your Mom and the world. You can support fair trade, thus supporting the worker’s of the word and their communities and celebrate your Mom. In honor of upcoming World Fair Trade Day we have put together a little Fair Trade Mother’s Day Guide. Needless to say, Mom would be proud!

Fair Trade Mother’s Day Gifts

1) Flowers:  I know my Mom absolutely loves receiving flowers on any day, but especially if they come with high standards. You can purchase fair trade flowers at a number of retailers including Whole Foods, 1-800 Flowers, FTD Flowers, and One World Flowers.  All these websites and retailers carry beautiful fair trade certified roses. Also, Organic Style offers organic, eco friendly, locally grown, and Fair Labor Practices & Community Benefits™ Certified flowers.

2) Chocolates: Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Luckily there are wonderful fair trade goodies out there to praise your lovely Mother. Sweet Earth Chocolates has an adorable heart shaped gift box of fair trade chocolates.  Sjaak‘s also makes great gift packs of fair trade truffles and chocolates, plus they have vegan varieties as well.

3)  Gifts: There are terrific fair trade gifts out there ranging from jewelry to dishware to even art. You can find adorable gifts at great fair trade retailers such as Ten Thousand VillagesGlobal Exchange, and World of Good.  We especially love Global Exchange’ssuggestions for Mother’s Day which include gift baskets, hand bags, and yummy soaps!

4) Coffee & Tea: Most Mom’s love coffee or tea or both! A perfect gift for a Mom who loves either is a basket full of fair trade coffees and teas. Look to several companies such as Equal ExchangeNumi, and Grounds for Change for some ideas.  If you’d rather spend some quality time with her, why not take her to one of your favorite fair trade coffee or tea shops for an afternoon time out.

5) The New Mom: If you have a sister, friend, or cousin who is a brand new Mom, think about getting her some fair trade spa items to relax. Global Exchange has some terrific baskets filled with fair trade soaps and lotions to soothe anyone’s soul. You can also get her some fair trade goodies for her newborn, which could include fair trade baby clothes or toys.

6) Gifts That Keep Giving: Instead of spending money on a specific gift, you may want to make a donation in your Mother’s name. There are a number of fair trade organizations you can donate to such as the Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade Resource Network, or World Fair Trade Organization.  Give your Mother the gift that keeps on giving across the world.

Christmas is fast approaching and gift buying is getting down to the wire.  We wanted to compile a great list of Fair Trade gifts for just about everyone on your list. Below is a list of our favorite fairly traded gifts for the 2010 shopping season:

For the Entertainer: We all have those friends or loved ones who just love to through dinner parties and plan every holiday. Check out this terrific Fair Trade serving trays for all their entertainment needs. You can add to this gift with a beautiful after dinner tea set and some Fair Trade certified tea.

For the Fashionista: Fair Trade fashion is definitely cutting edge. With Fair Trade USA’s new garment certification program, the US will now have it’s own certification. Luckily there are many great options for gifts for those in your life with a love of fashion. Check out Fair Indigo, Marigold, and of course our lovely Autonomie Project for all your fairly traded fashion.

 

 

For the Pet Lover: Fair Trade fashion is not just for humans anymore! For all your loved ones that like to dress up their furry friends, they can now do so with Fair Trade doggie sweaters with matching leashes. You can also find dog and cat toys made fair trade or in the USA.

For the Tech Savvy: So your loved one loves their gadgets, including computers. Check out this Fair Trade wrist rest for those long days and nights using our mouse, luckily it is shaped just like a mouse!  Or maybe they love their smart phones so much they would hate to lose them. If that’s the case, look no further than these fair trade and eco-friendly cell phone cases made from recycled wrappers.

For the Stress Case: Have any friends that are over-worked and could use some relaxation? What better gift then to give them a basket of relaxation with ethics! Check out these gift baskets filled with bath goodies and soothing lotions. Many include tea and candles just to set the mood right. You could also add in a bottle of wine just to be sure your loved one is actually taking the break they need.

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!!

Autumn Colors Photo By Per Ola WibergAs the leaves change and the air turns crisp, most people are digging out their jackets and thinking of Halloween costumes. However, do not forget that October, as well as being the home of the spookiest holiday, is also Fair Trade Month! So while you are taking in the smells of Fall and enjoying those pumpkin sweets, take time to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. All month long there are events across the nation including Fair Trade Festivals, Market, Film Viewings, and Tea Time.  Make sure to check out the Transfair Fair Trade Month site for an event near you! 

On top of great events , Transfair has planned to announce tips on how to bring more Fair Trade into your lives through 31 Days 31 Ways! Every day during the month of October they will post these tips! We will also be announce their tips on our Twitter Feed. So pay attention for the best of Fair Trade tips all month long

Fair Trade Fair Photo By PlutorIf you would like to be more involved, you can attend your local events or join the Fair Trade Towns in your area and help make your city of residence truly Fair Trade. In the case where you may have a couple of extra bucks hanging around, you can always donate to Transfair Finally, please support Fair Trade as much as possible. There are hundreds of great Fair Trade companies including us at AP and so many more for all your product needs. 

So take in that autumn breeze and while you enjoy the colors of the season, remember the workers and farmers across the world. Please celebrate Fair Trade Month, even if you just buy a cup of Fair Trade joe or pass this information off to a friend! Happy Fair Trade Month :)

Fair Trade LogoAll we hear is recession, depression, and bankruptcy from everyone’s mouths from the Media, to the President, and just about everyone on the street. Well don’t let all this negativity get you down, because we have some excellent sales news to report!  This month the Fair Trade Resource Network announced that despite a Global Recession, world Fair Trade sales rose 22% in 2008! This is very encouraging data, especially because as many industries downsize and disappear, its great that a conscious industry is growing.

Not only did they announce an overall increase in sales, but for many countries they have seen a huge jump. For instance, Canada’s Fair Trade sales grew 67%, Finland saw an increase of 57%, New Zealand grew a whopping 73%, and Sweden took the top spot with a growth of 75%! Sadly the US Fair Trade sales only grew 10%, but at least there is some growth. Also, Britain who only expanded their sales 43% became the country with the most Fair Trade sales worldwide.

On top of all these wonderful increases, its extremely exciting to announce that several Fair Trade industries are also expanding their sales. This includes the Fair Trade cotton (which of course we at AP use) industry sales grew 94%!!!! It is a grand feeling to know we, and you as loyal supporters, have contributed to such a high level of prosperity. It is a promising figure to see! Cotton is not the only fast progressing Fair Trade product, the sale of Fair Trade tea increased 112% and Fair Trade bananas sales grew 28%.

These figures may seem small or possibly a tad on the boring side, but if you are still reading at this point, I want to express how overwhelmingly encouraging they really are. Because despite other industries going bankrupt, Fair Trade is seeing real increases. Does this mean people around the globe are paying attention to their consumption choices? We certainly hope so!  Information and statistics like these are supportive evidence to the idea of a positive change in our global economy. So if you aren’t a supporter already, please pay attention to what you buy. Because really your power is in your dollar!

Labor Day weekend is upon us…the ‘official’ end to summer.  The pending First Day of School undoubtedly has inspired a collective groan from the nation’s school children.  Sorry kids – but you must, once again, put your swimsuit away and hit the books.

But why not make this year special by introducing your school to Fair Trade?  There are plenty of cool, fun and educational ways to help your school trade fair, so rather than spending your last few days of summer catching up on tv re-runs, get a group of friends together and check out these ideas on how to spread the word about economic justice and human rights to your peers!

The good people at Catholic Relief Services have developed comprehensive educational resources for those that are new to Fair Trade and even for those that already consider themselves experts. While these tools are meant for the classroom, we believe they’re worthy for anyone to study. The group offers beautiful and informative flyers and brochures about Fair Trade that you can opt to download yourself or order online for free! They also offer a variety of teaching modules, an action guide, multi-media presentations, fund raising tools, and games that integrate the concepts of human rights, social justice and stewardship right into your teacher’s lesson plan.

Last fall, Autonomie Project was honored to be featured in CSR’s back-to-school guide which encourages educators and students alike to promote the following ways your school can easily support Fair Trade:

A) Wear economic justice on your sleeve!
Support marginalized communities through your uniform purchase. Fair Trade Uniforms offers a wide variety of items made to your school’s specifications, including school uniforms, gym clothes and T-shirts.  All uniforms are made fairly by workers in the developing world.

B) Teach with Fair Trade Lesson Plans!
In addition to the resources from CRS already mentioned above, check out Global Exchange’s clever, multi-dimensional classroom resource that can be adapted to satisfy a variety of curricula standards.  The Fair Trade Resource Network also offers a clearinghouse of Fair Trade curricula for teachers including “Win-Win Solutions” from Equal Exchange for grades 4 through 9 and TransFair USA’s “Focus on Fair Trade” for grades K through 12.

C) Play Fair During Recess and Gym with Fair Trade Sports Balls!
How could any Fair Trade back-to-school guide be complete without our brother company Fair Trade Sports! A full line of sports balls certified Fair Trade and eco-friendly are now available online, including balls for soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, and futsal.  Also, make sure to check out this really cool game developed by Oxfam that uses the game of soccer to teach students, young and old, the principles of Fair Trade.

D) Fundraise While Supporting Communities in the Developing World!
Participants in the Raise Money Right project know how fun and rewarding it is to use Fair Trade products to raise funds for special projects (rather than the usual blah and conventional candies and wrapping papers!). Global Goods Partners offers an educational, socially responsible, and Fair Trade fundraising tool as well.  Using ethical products for fund raising is not only a great way to teach kids about Fair Trade, but also about social entrepreneurship and how helping others can also help ourselves! And don’t forget, that school cafeterias across the country could always use a little encouragement to switch their coffee, tea, chocolate, fruit and sugar purchases to Fair Trade brands.

E) Put Your Best Foot Forward with Fair Trade Sneakers!
As all you readers should know by now, we’re proud to bring the Ethletic sneaker collection to the students of America!  The ultimate in ethical footwear, we now offer all 10 styles of the popular Fair Trade and eco-certified shoe brand.  This year, you can head back to school in style without having to sacrifice your values!

So what are you waiting for???  You have your assignment and the first bell has rung….so hurry on your mission and help us spread the word of Fair Trade to YOUR school!

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