chocolate

chocolate for valentine's day

equal exchange
image source: Equal Exchange

I'm not really sure why bloggers write weeks of Valentine's Day content considering that the holiday is really just a blip on the holiday schedule. That being said, I think now is maybe the best time to talk about my favorite fair trade food: chocolate.

While fair trade fashion is my first passion, I truly believe that it can't end there. I want to tread lightly in every aspect of my lifestyle and I'm looking to make fair trade and environmentally sustainable items my first choice in every category. I think it's really easy for self described "conscious consumers" to draw lines around our pet project for the sake of our own sanity - it's hard to make better choices all the time from Day One - but we have to remember that environmental and social sustainability are both necessary if we intend to build thriving, considerate communities.

Without further ado, I'll get off my soapbox and present you with my favorite fair trade and sustainable chocolate products:

Equal Exchange


This company was love at first sight (well, taste) for me. Equal Exchange believes in small scale farms and collective ownership; every employee is a part owner. Relying on small, locally run co-ops allows the company to make accurate judgments as to the condition and fairness of work and wages and it also discourages wide scale destruction of native landscapes. I worked at a coffee shop that used Equal Exchange coffee and a representative came to give us steamed milk training (which I loved!). It was great to be able to talk to an employee and get a better sense of the work environment.


equal



Divine Chocolate


This is my second favorite chocolate company. Divine also operates under a co-op structure, with the Ghanaian farmers owning shares in the larger company. They were the first fair trade chocolate bar that attempted to compete in the non-specialty chocolate market and, by all accounts, they've been pretty successful.

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If you're hunting for the perfect chocolate-y recipes, I suggest:

Or...

Buy some fair trade chocolate hearts at 20% off.

I hope you feel loved this Valentine's Day. And if you're looking for a meaningful movie suggestion, I recommend Take This Waltz.

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Read more ethical Valentine's Day posts:


Valentine's Day - All the Romance Without the Consumerism
by Hannah at Life + Style + Justice

12 months, 12 goals: eat fair trade food

march ethical goals

This month's goal is to replace non-fair trade food items with fair trade, organic options as often as possible. Something clicked with me at the beginning of the year and I started to find it easier to take the ethical path. It felt less like a sacrifice to avoid Old Navy or to buy fair trade chocolate over a tried and true brand. It's nice that it's becoming second nature over time.

The fair trade movement began with food, so there are more options at standard grocery stores than many people realize. And specialty stores like Whole Foods - we're fortunate to have one in Charlottesville - sell tons of ethical options, all clearly labeled.

This month, I plan to buy more fairly traded produce and continue to buy fair trade coffee, chocolate, and tea. All it takes in most cases is reading the label, but I can always research the production standards when production information is limited. I'll be relying in part on Fair Trade USA resources to narrow it down.

When I talk about fairly traded food, however, I don't just mean items with the fair trade label. Fair trade is tricky because companies normally have to initiate the certification process. If they don't, it doesn't necessarily mean they're hiding anything. There are plenty of local and domestic producers that likely follow ethical guidelines. It's all about doing proper research and asking for greater transparency.

Wish me luck and join in if you'd like. Also, if you have any suggestions or resources, let me know!

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