October is here and Fair Trade Month is officially in high gear! The idea behind Fair Trade Month is to both celebrate and raise awareness for Fair Trade. In the United States, there are literally thousands of educational events, parties, promotions, and sales going on the entire month. So how do you get involved? What is the best way an ethical shopper to enjoy the month? We have put  together a short list of the best ways to celebrate Fair Trade Month!

1) Promote Fair Trade: In our 21st Century world, one of the easiest ways to bring awareness to a topic is to use social media. During the whole month, use your Twitter, Facebook, and other sites to spread the word! There are tons of great resources to share such as Fair Trade Resource Network and Fair Trade USA,  or even mention or post pictures of some of your favorite Fair Trade products! Be sure to use hashtags such as #FairTradeMonth and #FairTrade.

2) Give Fair Trade: Maybe you have some birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or baby showers coming up or maybe you want to get a head start on holiday shopping. Either way, when you are purchasing a gift this month, make sure it is Fair Trade. This is a perfect opportunity to give your loved ones quality gifts and educate them on what Fair Trade means. We recommend including information with your gift. Some places to find Fair Trade goods are Global Exchange, World of Good, Ten Thousand Villages, and of course Autonomie! Speaking of Autonomie, we are featuring different producers all month long and have special week long sales, as well as giveaways. Check our Facebook on how to enter.

3) Get Involved: If you want to really bring awareness to Fair Trade, get involved in your community or school. Did you know cities and universities can become Fair Trade Towns and Universities?! Check out Fair Trade USA’s programs Fair Trade Towns and Fair Trade University for more details. If you community doesn’t have an initiative already going, start one yourself. Another great way to bring Fair Trade to your community is to talk with business owners about carrying Fair Trade items. Talk with your local grocery stores, natural food stores, cafes, restaurants, and retail stores about the growing need for ethical items.

4) Party, Party, Party: Since it is October and Halloween ends the month, why not party, Fair Trade style. Plan out a Fair Trade themed costume, hand out Fair Trade chocolate, and serve Fair Trade treats and alcohol. Luckily, there is wonderful Fair Trade vodka and wine these days! Send out Fair Trade Month with a bang and truly celebrate all that is Fair Trade. Your guests will be impressed with an educational and ethical Halloween!

For more great ideas on how to celebrate Fair Trade Month, check out Fair Trade USA’s Top Ten! Happy Fair Trade Month!

Saturday, November 20th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Haven’t heard of it? It is the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the grocery stores are packed with loads of people stocking their cupboard and refrigerators with the necessary ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner.  Even though you shopping list may be long, the holidays are a time to give thanks, and this is a great time to spread the message of fair trade. When we brew coffee or boil some rice, we often do not think about the farmers and producers of these items. Some of these workers are not properly taken care of and endure harsh conditions to be sure you have the food on your table. But there are companies out there that are conscious of this and take extra steps to ensure the workers are treated, paid, and given benefits fairly. This year we can be sure and give thanks to the workers and companies who are being responsible. You can do this by supporting fair trade during the holidays.

There are many items you can purchase fair trade to make sure you give thanks to the fair trade movement, responsible companies, and of course the farmers and producers. You can create a wonderful fair trade holiday dinner from start to finish. We have put together a few suggestions to help you shop this weekend and make sure your Thanksgiving is a fair one!

1) Settings: The first step in entertaining is to set the table. The great thing about this year is that countless items are now available fair trade including table settings. Ten Thousand Villages has a colorful and great assortment of table cloths and runners, many with fall colors. Ten Thousand Villages has a ton of locations throughout the US and an online store. You will also find wonderful fair trade napkins, dish sets, serving trays, and silverware. Ten Thousand Villages carries many of these items. You can also find them at a local fair trade store or other online stores such as Fair Trade Marketplace, Global Exchange and World of Good.

2) Decorations: One of Thanksgiving’s many traditions is the centerpiece. You would be surprised to find out that many items that create a centerpiece can be purchased fair trade. Fair trade flowers are available at many locations online and at Whole Foods markets. You can also find fair trade certified candles and incense to make your home feel cozy and smell delicious! A number of vases, baskets, and candle holders can be purchased at the sites mentioned above: Ten Thousand VillagesFair Trade MarketplaceGlobal Exchangeand World of Good.

3) The Meal: Obviously, the main feature of the holiday is the dinner. We are happy to report you can find many of your ingredients with a fair trade certified symbol including olive oil, cocoa, sugar,rice, and even spices. You can also find many fruits including bananas and oranges certified. Many mainstream supermarkets carry fair trade items these days but you can be sure and find them at local natural food stores, co-ops, fair trade stores, and Whole Foods.

4) Wine & Spirits: Dinner wouldn’t be complete without a glass of wine or a cocktail. Luckily there is now fair trade wine which comes in many varieties as well as fair trade vodka.  There are also some great mixers which come certified included Maine Root which makes natural fair trade sodas such as ginger ale and lemon lime. You can serve fair trade for both your drinking guests and the ones who abstain!

5) After Dinner: After your tummies are filled with tons of fair trade foods, there is nothing better than relaxing with a warm cup of coffee or tea. Luckily, there are countless companies that provide fair trade certified coffee and tea including Equal Exchange, Grounds for Change, and Dean’s Beans. Your guests will thank you for serving such high quality and high conscious after dinner drinks!

6) Recreation: Another great holiday tradition is football! Not only do people love to watch it, but some love to play it as well. It is a wonderful bonding family activity and this year you can even have a fair trade football! Impress your family this year with a socially conscious and certified football. If football really isn’t your activity, Fair Trade sports offers plenty of other sportsballs including soccer balls, basketballs, and even rugby balls!

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.

Economists and businesses all across the board are recognizing the immense impact the Fair Trade movement is having in markets across the globe, both in producer and consumer countries.  While not exactly promoting the idea of Fair Trade or ethical economics, Vijay Sarathy, vice-president of consulting firm Charles River Associates, admits on Purchasing.com that larger companies may end up shooting themselves financially if they aren’t willing to accept business models that accomodate higher wages for workers or adhere to environmental standards, such as those outlines in the Kyoto Protocol.  

Such concerns are also echoed in publications like QSRMagazine.com, which outlines and promotes strategies for the “quick-serve restaurant” industry, not exactly the most ethically outstanding segment of the modern economy.  But they recognize, based on market research, that In the U.S., some eight out of ten consumers feel it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that companies engage in programs to support the environment and society,”  and that companies risk their consumer base if they fail to recognize peoples’ moral concerns.  However, if one reads on, the article unravels quite a few devious methods the industry has for dealing with such concerns while keeping their strategies and identities (read: bottom lines) secure.  

Coffee Photo By Selma90

Perhaps this kind of dishonesty and double-speak is part of the reason why, even in a heavy recession with an uncertain future, businesses engaged in Fair Trade practices are still showing market growth, albeit somewhat slowed, while gigantic service and manufacturing companies watch their figures plummet.  As Juliet Morris, director of marketing for Just Us! Coffee Roasters, puts it in the blog Interrupcion Fair Trade: “Growth has moderated. But, as one of my friends said, ‘Flat is the new up.”   But for those consumers that are curious about or have already embraced a Fair Trade ethic, the reason for this success is absolutely clear: it makes you feel good to buy and use things that aren’t destructive to people, animals or the environment.  It’s a simple, moral truth.  The violating deceit of large-scale financers and businesses has imbued a healthy skepticism and caution in the public mind, and the result can be seen in the avenues where purchasing power has shifted.

Business Graph Photo By nDevilTV'Amber Chand, a Ugandan refugee who fled from Idi Amin’s dictatorship in the 70′s and came to Massachusetts, operates her own online Fair Trade gift company .  Sited on Jezebel.com, she has no doubt why, during the last holiday season, her business grew an eye-opening 22%.  “People during a downturn start feeling extremely conscious of how they spend their money. And your money is your vote, your dollar is a political statement of where you’re making your choices, so for people coming to the collection, they were deciding to buy a beautiful candle, or a beautiful basket or necklace from the collection because they knew it directly impacted the life of a woman and her family in a region of the world that we would consider extremely vulnerable.”  

Phat Wad, Break me off some Photo By Refracted Moments™'s So as school commences and the holiday season approaches, know that your dollar truly does count in the social and political scheme of things, perhaps most of all, and be encouraged that many others refuse to let economic uncertainty compromise their ethics.  It appears that there is a larger trend in consumer spending to use dollars wisely rather than the cheapest option. We hope this trend continues and blossoms into a full scale consumer revolution! The best way to support this revolution is to spend consciously (something we at AP know a little something about). Besides our humble company, there are plenty of great Fair Trade companies to support in order to meet all your shopping needs.  As loyalty and trust in big name manufacturers meet their timely end, the signs are clear: Fair Trade is the future!

Hello AP Gang!

Organic Fair Trade 'Fight Global' TeeWhat better way to kick off a New Year than with a fabulous store-wide sale! Find discounts up to 30%off on everything from our popular sneaker line, to our organic t-shirts, to our new organic cotton handbags. But act fast, stocks are running low and we don’t expect much to last very long.Organic Fair Trade 'Declare' Tee

Make sure to definitely check out our organic cotton winter accessories! Now 20% off,once these items are gone, they’ll be gone until next year! So get ‘em while you can, and sport ‘em until spring comes.

And to help sweeten the deal a bit further, for a limited time we’re offering free domestic shipping on all orders over $75 (down from $100)!  

Happy Shopping! 
The AP Team

Similar to our Eco-Friendly and Vegan Gift Guides, we put together some websites and suggestions for the Fair Trade enthusiast on your list! Or use the guide to purchase gifts for your friends and family who you would love to introduce Fair Trade to!

Like our other guides, we thought we would list some helpful websites to find Fair Trade gifts and products. Some great places are Global Exchange, Revive, Traditions Fair Trade, World of Good, Equita, Ten Thousand Villages, Taraluna, and Garuda International. At these sites you can find all your Fair Trade needs ranging from coffee and tea to clothing and beauty products! You can also purchase gift directly from our website at Autonomie Project, as all our products are Fair Trade! If you aren’t sure what your friend and family member would like all of the above sites, including ours sell gift certificates!

On top of these websites, you may be able to locate a Fair Trade store in your area. Check out the Fair Trade Federation website to locate stores in your area.

The following list is some great holiday fair trade gift ideas we suggest:

gift_ftharvest501091) Fair Trade Gift Packs: Put together a gift basket of fair trade goodies such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and cocoa(even your basket can be fair trade!). Maybe even add in fair trade dishes to go along. You should be able to find these products at your local food co-op or natural foods store. You can also find pre-made baskets at many of the websites above or directly through fair trade coffee vendors such as Equal Exchange, Grounds For Change, or Dean’s Beans. Also, Grounds for Change offers a Coffee a Month gift. So your loved one can enjoy fair trade coffee all year long!

fd_image_resizephp2) Fair Trade Wine: There is a new and great Fair Trade wine company called Etica. Their wines are all Fair Trade certified and you can find them on their website or in your local area. Or you can purchase a pre-made wine basket from Eco-Express. Fair Trade wine is hard to come by, so you are sure to impress the fair trade enthusiast on your list. Plus everyone loves a great bottle of wine!

additional_69078103) Hand Made Artisan Crafts: One of the great items of Fair Trade, is handmade artisan gifts. Several great websites and organizations sell handmade gifts from scarves to mugs and even jewelery. All these items make great gifts! Check out the websites above for more ideas. The time and love that goes into these products is sure to make a lasting impression on the craftsmanship of the product as well as the receiver! 

yhst-32031163094313_2029_463497794) Fair Trade Books and Guides: Books about Fair Trade and the economy behind it can make great gifts, especially for someone who is new to the idea. We suggest Business Unusual, No Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade, Fair Trade: A Beginner’s Guide, and The Conscious Consumer. For a more seasoned fair trader, you might want to give a fair trade shopping guide! This will allow your loved one to know which companies to support and which to avoid. Check out the The Better World Shopping Guide for the most comprehensive guide. 

5) Donate in their Name: Like all our other guides, we promote donations as gifts. You can give the gift of Fair Trade in honor of your loved one through several organizations such as Fair Trade Resource NetworkTransfair, Catholic Relief Services, and Fair Labeling Organization. Or you can make a more specific donation to help out fair trade workers such as helping buy new machines for farmers in Ecuador or help fair trade honey farmers learn their craft. Also you can give the gift of a Global Exchange membership!

Holiday consuming takes over our lives in December, so why not give while you get? You heard me right, Giving is the New Getting! We can’t help but blush and brag about our good friends at eConscious Market.  Founded in 2007, eConscious Market is an online

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shopping center that not only offers the brightest and best of social and eco-friendly products on the market, but with every purchase at least 10% is given to the Non-Profit of your choice. Once you make a purchase you can choose from a list of non profits to donate to or you can just have them donate to their featured non-profit.

130_large51All of the products featured on their website are environmentally and socially friendly. In fact eConscious Market does the screening for you and all their products are held to specific standards. So you can be sure the products you are purchasing are legitimately green and fair trade!

This website is perfect for your holiday needs, as they offer sweet_main1everything from eco friendly clothing to pet products and even energy saving appliances! You are sure to find a green gift for anyone on your list. They also offer a Fair Trade section where you can find items such as Fair Trade Flatwear and even our AP Sneakers!

On top of their wonderful products and donations, they also run an interesting and well researched blog called eCo Times. They cover a wide range of topics pertaining to sustainable living and green/fair trade economy. Some of their more recent blogs include Green Travel, Commuter Bike Suggestions, and Winter Home Energy Saving Tips. Seriously, if you like the topics we cover here, you will love theirs as well so check it out!

As we mentioned before the new Getting is Giving and since the holidays are here what better way to spend your money than on eco and socially responsible products while giving to a deserving non profit in one easy step! After all Tis the Season to Give!! So do it at eConscious today!!

Ever wonder how much Texans spend on hunting and fishing a year or how much Americans spend on Fair Trade items every year? Well, now its your chance! World of Good has created the fun Smart Cart Quiz about American shopping and spending habits. Not only will you learn important and interesting facts, but some of the answers will surprise you! Such as the fact that cutting down on meat will reduce your environmental impact more than purchasing a hybrid car or that air pollution kills more Californians a year than AIDS, homicide, and car accidents combined!!

On top of the Smart Cart Quiz, it gives ideas and links to how you can have an impact just based on your shopping habits such as fair trade shopping guides and tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also email some of the facts directly to your friends as well as a link to the quiz! There are also a ton of questions and you can retake the quiz several times with completely different facts. So test you knowledge today and see how you can bring change to world poverty and the envrionment! Who knows you might learn a thing or two and actually make a difference?

If you are interested in Fair Trade and want to help spread the word, you or your business/organization are the perfect candidate for our new Affiliates Program! You can earn money just by posting our banner on your website, while promoting, supporting and encouraging your friends and family to make ethical and environmentally-friendly choices.

We are a tiny organization with no advertising budget, so we heavily rely on you and our loyal customers to help us spread the word. As they say, ‘the rising tide lifts all boats’, so please join us as we do our part in furthering the mission of Fair Trade Fashion! Our Affiliates Program is a way for us to send a little thanks back to you for all of your help.

When you sign up for our Affiliates Program, you can instantly start making money for you personally, your business or your non-profit organization. It’s simple – when you help bring new socially-driven consumers to our website, our Affiliates Program lets you share in our success. Since you get a cut of each sale that you send our way, you can secure an additional revenue stream for your business or provide an excellent fundraising tool for your non-profit organization.

When a visitor follows an AP Affiliate link, banner, product listing or product review (yes, we’ll let you review our products for free!) on your website that results in a sale on our site, you automatically get credited a minimum 10% commission!

Its easy to sign up and shortly after your account will be active and you can log in on our website. Once logged into your account you’ll find instructions for setting up links on your site (either via banner or text links). These links can be featured on as many sites or pages as you like or could be distributed via email or other promotional methods.

Please visit our website to learn how this program works and to sign up today!

You too can become a partner in Fair Trade and make a difference in the world!


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