Here at Autonomie Project, we are gearing up for a really exciting festival. The GreenLife Eco-Fest is a two-day weekend festival nestled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California (about 2.5 hours from San Francisco).  We are especially excited about this one, as a lot of big names are attached to speak and one of our founders, Gina, hails from the foothills.  Having this big of a festival in the small, but quaint town of Grass Valley is really great, especially since it is a zero waste celebration of all things green! 

As we mentioned, there are some big name speakers coming that we can’t wait to hear. Some we are most looking forward to include John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, Michael A Bedar  producer of the film, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, Allison Cook of the Story of Stuff, and Dr. Kevin Danaher co-founder of Global Exchange/Green Festivals and writer of Building the Green Economy : Success Stories From the Grassroots. And on top of these lovely speakers and more, there is some absolutely great workshops, such as: Growing Mushrooms, Biodynamic Gardening, Natural Building, Green Energy, and Reading GMO Labels.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to hike up to the foothills, there will also be FREE bike tune-ups given by People Powered Alliance, a clothing swap, and the Haute Trash Fashion Show which is fashion made out of “trash.”  If you love shopping there will also be about 120 green and eco vendors, including yours truly.  And don’t forget about awesome healthy food vendors and music. Really, this festival sounds like one big green party, but not the political kind.

If you are in the area or would like to take a beautiful drive/train ride through the California foothills, come stop by! If you come to our booth, you can check out our NEW products such as eco-friendly, Fair Trade dog toys and leashes! We promise you won’t regret it. Hope to see you there!

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd & 24th. 10am-7pm with music until 9pm on Saturday

Where: North Star House, Old Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA

Cost: Free! $5.00 for workshops and $20 for all day speaker pass

Why: Because it’s going to rock!

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Possibly the best part of a summer camping trip, is the ooey gooey deliciousness best known as s’mores. It is unclear where the origin of the tasty treat came from, but it first appeared in a Girl Scouts recipe book in the 1920’s under the guise of “Some Mores.”  At some point the name was shortened to save people one second by combining both words. But really, the s’more took America by storm over the last several decades and has become an essential part of any camping trip.

Even though the tasty treat is satisfying is there a way to get more from your s’more? Every summer, Global Exchange runs a fair trade s’more campaign to not only bring awareness to the chocolate industry but urge big players such as Hershy’s to change their ways. The “We Want More From Our S’mores” is trying to register fair trade s’more events over the summer. The whole event began with Memorial Day and will continue until the mark of the end of summer, Labor Day.

Good news for all you campers, there is still a month left to get your fair trade s’more on.  You can check the campaign site to find cookouts in your area, you can plan your own outing, or even host something over your backyard bbq or stove. After completing your project, be sure to document it and register through Global Exchange.  They also have some great resources such as a checklist and flyers.

It is easy enough to find fair trade chocolate. We recommend these companies: Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Divine just to name a few.  For an extra environmental impact, you could make your s’mores vegan with some delicious vegan marshmallows!  So enjoy your tasty fair trade summer treats and make a statement to Hershy’s and other conventional chocolate. Tell them: We Want More From Our S’Mores!!!!

 

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!

As the end of summer fast approaches, everyone is out enjoying the last few weeks. The month of August is filled with vacations, trips to the beach, and camping. We all start to feel the weight of the summer winding down and try to fit every last-minute of outdoor activity into August.  Although summer doesn’t officially end until mid-September, Labor Day marks the end of the summer relaxation period. This year, Labor Day, which is September 6th, marks another end date. It is the end to Global Exchange’s “We Want More from Our S’mores” campaign.

Global Exchange is using S’mores to draw attention to the child labor and slave labor issues surrounding the chocolate industry. I mean, who doesn’t like to indulge the chochlately goodness of a s’mores and why not do it while making a statement? In fact, we can’t think of a better way to shed light on the situation. The campaign encourages all to make Fair Trade s’mores throughout the summer and keep track of how many are devoured. Once you have created your Fair Trade treats, you will want to enjoy their deliciousness, register your s’mores online, sign the petition and submit them to Global Exchange! Global Exchange will then send the entire petition to Hershey’s Chocolate, in an effort to convince them to become Fair Trade.

The 3rd Annual campaign is trying their hardest to gain 1500 or more Fair Trade summer snacks. They are encouraging those to create them at home, summer cookouts, and of course while camping out. We think a Fair Trade S’more party would be a blast! To find Fair Trade chocolate look no further than great companies such as Equal Exchange, Sweet Earth Chocolate, and Divine, just to name a few. For more ideas of how to throw a Fair Trade s’more party or bbq, check out Global Exchange’s step by step guide.

Global Exchange is hoping for a bigger turn out in 2010 than previous years, so let’s make it happen!  Make your Fair Trade statement today, while satisfying your sweet tooth. And act fast, as the deadline for submissions is September 6th–only about a month away! Enjoy your last days of summer and join the Fair Trade movement today!

With World Fair Trade Day behind us, and news that Fair Trade sales are still growing despite the global recession, evidently Fair Trade products are in demand! Fair Trade movements such as Fair Trade Towns, Fair Trade the White House, and Fair Trade Your Home have been growing with success and campaigns have been popping up all over the country. Green America has brought the Fair Trade world a new focus: Fair Trade Your Supermarket! Green America has some hefty partners in this campaign including Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Towns, Global Exchange and Fair Trade Resource Network. This sort of teamwork is what Fair Trade is all about!

The idea behind the campaign is that although demand for Fair Trade products is high and continuity growing, many Supermarkets throughout the country do not carry ANY Fair Trade products. This grassroots movements asks consumers and people like you to get involved and help persuade their local Supermarkets to carry Fair Trade certified products. They have an easy link to give suggestions on exactly how you can convince your market to carry Fair Trade items, beginning with taking stock of what they already carry. They have also set up a map showing where campaigns are taking place, tips on what to say and who to talk to, ask you to share your stories and pictures, and provide information on Fair Trade.

This new project is encouraging and it is exciting to see Fair Trade products enter the mainstream stage. Although we mostly support local Co-ops and independent markets, we think bringing Fair Trade to as many consumers as possible is a step in the right direction. The more products available, the more people will buy, and the more we will support fair labor and environmental practices throughout the world. Having supermarkets carry Fair Trade products will allow millions of Americans to support the workers of the world. We are really excited about this campaign and hope it spreads Fair Trade to all the corners of the country. Please, consider getting involved or at least letting others in your community know about the campaign.   Take the stand today and Fair Trade Your Supermarket!

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.

Lane's first "Trick or treat" Photo By tomeppyBefore long we will all hear that age old adage of “Trick or Treat?” as the small ones dressed in their best witch and pirate costumes will hold out a pillowcase in hopes of receiving chocolate. But what if we mixed it up a bit this year?! Global Exchange is promoting a new way to celebrate Halloween, while promoting a great idea: Reverse Trick or Treating. The idea is to have each Trick or Treater hand out Fair Trade Chocolate with an informational card about Fair Trade to each house they visit on Halloween. What a great way to spread the message, and really who is going to turn down a piece of Fair Trade Chocolate? 

Fair Trade Chocolate for Saint Valentine's Day Photo By jetaloneGlobal Exchange was providing kits for free, however, due to the popularity of the idea they have run out! Never fear though, you can request the informational cards from them and buy some delicious Fair Trade chocolate from Equal Exchange or other Fair Trade Chocolate companies. Also, Equal Exchange has posted the informational cards online in English and Spanish and you can order chocolates to hand out.  Also, Global Exchange sells a Halloween themed Fair Trade Action Kit which includes mini Fair Trade chocolates, postcards, Eco-friendly trick or treating bag, and a Fair Trade poster to hang up!

Whether you are taking your littlest family members out to gather sweets or if you are at home passing out candy, please consider spreading the Fair Trade message. Unfortunately, conventional chocolate companies are known for various labor and environmental abuses. Seriously, there is no better way to educate others on the perks of Fair Trade chocolate than to give them out on an American holiday now centered around candy. Enjoy your Fair Trade Halloween!

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