Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Some Ethical Holiday Shopping

new food for thought

Do you ever think about where your Christmas or holiday gifts come from, how they are made, and who they were made by?

As a lot of us mull over those questions, especially this time of year, we know from reading articles like this, that there is an apparent shift in trends as consumers look to purchase from companies who are socially responsible. It can be time consuming and daunting to research every company that you’d like to purchase from, so when we stumbled across this ethical shopping guide, we thought it might assist you in your shopping. (And, it’s handy to have year round)!

Do you practice ethical shopping? Is it something that you would like to begin doing?

Happy holiday shopping!

~Mandy & M.C.

Monday's Food for Thought

Monday’s Food for Thought: Fair-trade Chocolates

Maybe it’s just because my birthday is October 30th, but I have always been a huge fan of Halloween–the bonfires, ghost stories, and, of course, candy. Something I became aware of when I learned about the Fair Trade movement, however, is what some have called “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”As it turns out, the growing, trading, and manufacturing of some of the chocolate treats we enjoy often depend on business practices which are hard to support, at best, and egregious, at worst. The documentary mentioned above finds evidence of child labor and slavery, trafficking, and other abuses existing on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, a country that produces nearly half the world’s cocoa.

So what can we do about it? The good news is that there are several companies, growing bigger and more numerous every year, who intentionally source fair-trade cocoa and rigorously sustain ethical production procedures. One of my favorites among these companies is Equal Exchange, whose founding story can be found here. Also, there are some tasty treats to be discovered among Divine Chocolate’s offerings of chocolate, fruit, and nuts. Some retailers that stock these brands include Ten Thousand Villages, Whole Foods, and Oxfam stores. In 2009, Cadbury also committed to sourcing fair-trade cocoa for many of its products as well, so keep an eye out for this symbol on their chocolates.

Other than purchasing fair-trade chocolate and other treats, there are some other small, but significant actions we can take, like signing a petition to keep larger chocolate producers accountable to pledges they’ve made to amend their labor practices. Often, these efforts meet with some degree of success, but they need momentum to keep moving forward. So, Happy Halloween, and if you didn’t make it onto the fair-trade bandwagon for this holiday, there’s plenty of time for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter!