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Fair Trade

What Is Fair Trade Certified?

Organic Natural Green Living





What is Fair Trade Certified?

Just the other day I was in my local organic grocery store, taking up space in the coffee/tea aisle, trying to figure out which coffee I was going to purchase.  I had read October was Fair Trade Month, so instead of grabbing my usual ground, I decided to read some labels. I saw the Fair Trade USA label several times.

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA  (image by Wikipedia)

First of all, an entire section of tea was distracting me.  Pumpkin Spice tea?  Apple Cider tea?   No, coffee.  I needed to focus on the coffee.  There was not as much coffee as there was tea, but the tea section was definitely more shiny and sparkly.  All those boxes and canisters with pretty pictures of flowers and herbs with stunning colors…the bags of coffee weren’t as lavishly decorated, but many of the brands I was staring at had Fair Trade labels on them.  Initially I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention, I am more than aware of green-washing and to be honest, third-party certification doesn’t sell me, any more than products calling themselves “natural” when a quick glance at the ingredient list says otherwise.  Or using that pretty, soft sage-green color to lead us to believe that product is natural and healthy.

What Is Fair Trade Certified

What Is Fair Trade Certified

“The Fair Trade Certified label helps you make choices, with the confidence that your product is socially and environmentally sustainable. While best known for coffee, Fair Trade Certified has grown to encompass many products, from tea to chocolate to body care to wine. Choose Fair Trade products to vote with your dollars and make Every Purchase Matter.”

Click through for a full list of Fair Trade Certified Products.

I digress.  This isn’t about design, this is about the choice I was about to make regarding my coffee:  did I want to take home a pound of coffee that was tended to and harvested by workers who were no better than slaves, who worked insane hours for little money in return, who didn’t have the resources for medical care and education, on a land that was heavily fertilized by toxins and clear cut of trees to make room for some coffee plants?  Who suffered day in and day out so I could have a cup of coffee?

See, these things matter to me.  I don’t want the pleasure I get from a delicious cup of coffee hampered by the fact the bean came from a farm which took the place of a forest.  The thought of someone suffering hardships so I can have a cup of coffee doesn’t sit well.  It is not an idea that is difficult to imagine, one only has to look at our own history before the Civil War  to realize what the fair trade marketing concept is trying to accomplish.  In the USA, slavery was made illegal with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment.  Other countries are not so lucky, there are still workers out there, harvesting ingredients for items we use every day and not getting paid for their work, they live in horrible conditions, they are exposed to toxins and pesticides, the list goes on.  We cannot lose our humanity in the food we consume.

Visit Fair Trade USA for updates and events, as well as their list of Fair Trade Licensed Partners and check out and share this video that does a nice job of explaining the benefits of Fair Trade Certified products.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K4G5-ydhS0]


The Fair Trade Coffee I found?  Caffe Umbria’s Terra Sana Blend.





Fabulous Sweaters for Fall & Winter: Eco Savvy Guide

By Tania Reuben


Organic Merino Wool Cardigan $75

Organic Merino Wool Cardigan $75

Organic Cotton Cardigan from hessnatur $110

Organic Cotton Cardigan $110

Organic Wool  Slim Fit Cardigan $75

Organic Wool Slim Fit Cardigan $75

Alpaca & Wool Cardigan $160

Alpaca & Wool Cardigan $160

With winter moving through most of the country there is nothing like a great sweater.

Living in Los Angeles it doesn’t get too cold, I probably wear sweaters daily. We are cold in the morning (if you call 48 degrees cold and I do) and often in a t-shirt by midday – cardigans offer warmth with flexibility. Dodging to avoid the snowballs being flung my way by mid-west and east coast readers.

Recently I’ve been on a hunt to find great eco sweaters.  I thought if I was looking, maybe my readers were too.  It didn’t hurt that  as an added bonus I’d be able to feature some fabulous woolens from my sponsor, hessnatur.  I searched through pages on Google, hunting and found nothing  I loved.  The sweaters from my sponsor, were better than anything I was finding.

My plan had been to feature one or two styles from hessnatur. After my search, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to add.  I did make an honest attempt.  From the style of their offerings, the ethical manufacturing, the number of organic selections, to their pricing. They have some of the best eco friendly sweaters I could find. Did I mention the variety of styles they offer?  They hands down had more styles, color and variety than any site I visited preparing this piece.

Sweaters make a great gift because they tend to be more forgiving fit wise, but if it’s not right, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to pay more money to return an item.  hessnatur is currently offers free shipping and returns, for worry free online shopping.

Links to some of the other items I found researching for this piece:  Gaiam & Fair Indigo


Grounds for Change Coffee: Fair Trade Focus

By Tania Reuben

The day hasn’t really started until you’ve had a cup of coffee? Sound familiar? It does for me! It doesn’t even matter if it’s “leaded,” I just love the flavor and aroma as it wafts through the house.

Have you ever wondered about where your coffee is grown and the conditions of the workers that are growing them. In the early 2000 coffee prices dramatically dropped causing extreme hardship for growers. During the recovery a surprising industry shift began, fueled by a demand for organic and fair trade coffee.

Image Courtesy of Amy Hensen

Image Courtesy of Amy Hensen

Some coffee growers began to focus their efforts on growing higher quality beans for almost double the price regular beans garner, and better still farmers converting to organic can expect to earn 3-4 times what the low quality beans garner. Slowly these changes are beginning to have a real impact on the industry.

As the Fair Trade market grows, growers can offer more jobs, pay better wages and consider offering benefits like health insurance. Things previously not an option in the past. We can continue to support these changes by making Fair Trade choices.

Grounds for Change is one place you can support changes like these. They are a family run company based in the Pacific Northwest, doing their part to bring a great coffee to the marketplace.

They roast organically grown fair trade beans in small batches, creating top of the line coffee in the coffee meca of the US. They don’t stop there, they make every effort to run their business sustainably, through the purchase of carbon offsets, composting efforts and recycling – to name a few of their efforts.

They are Certified Organic, Carbon Free and Fair Trade.


They recently sent PND some of their coffees to sample, we tried:

Peru “Cafe Femenino”, a dark roast with chocolate aroma that was rich enough to keep dude happy. It’s also grown by women – ergo the name.

Nordic Blend, a dark roast with notes of black cherry and chocolate. Another rich roast to make dude smile.

Decaf Midnight Blend, this blend is the darkest of their decaf offerings with chocolaty notes.

Grounds for Change decaffeinates using a water process to preserve the coffee’s organic certification.

With the holidays coming up consider a fair trade gift for the coffee lover on your list, with the coffee of the month available in 3, 6 & 12 month options.

Try the 3 pack sampler, on sale for $18.95.

Congratulations to our Winner Carol D!

Better yet, Grounds for a Change will be giving one lucky reader a 3 Pack Sampler!



There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.


Become an Email Subscriber to PND using the form in the sidebar.
– The subscription must be confirmed. You will receive and email that you must reply to for your entry to be valid.
– Already a confirmed Subscriber. Complete any one of the additional entries options – Leave a comment letting Diva know you’re subscriber name and the entry option you selected.

Additional Entries

1. Go to www.groundsforachange.com – Share your favorite blend or something new about GFC.

2. Stumble, Digg, or Technorati favorite this post. Leave a comment with your name and the link.

3. Follow @purenaturaldiva & @grounds4change on twitter (use link on the sidebar). Leave your twittername in a separate comment.

4. Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva & Grounds For Change on Facebook. Post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.

5. Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste “Diva Fair Trade Giveaway, 3 Pack Coffee Sampler – Grounds For a Change http://bit.ly/3DSpX7 @purenaturaldiva”. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet (go to your twitter account, click on the words when your tweet was sent (ie. 5 seconds ago) and copy and paste that link in comments.

6. Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to the Grounds For A Change Website – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get both entries!

This giveaway will run through midnight on November 11, 2009 PDT, with winner being announced by the morning of November 13, 2009. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen.

Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.

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October is Fair Trade Month

100px-TransFairBy Tania Reuben

This is the month to take a few moments to think about the people that are making & growing much of the “stuff” we consume in our daily lives.  The scope is quite remarkable, think; coffee, tea, rice, cocoa, cotton, sugar, honey, bananas, fruit juices, nuts, fresh fruit, herbs and spices, wine, magoes, quinoa footballs, etc.

In general Fair Trade seeks to ensure better wages for workers, it seeks to educate workers with the knowledge, skills and resources to improve their lives. Additionally it is intended to guarantee that no child labor has been employed in the productions of goods.

CLICK HERE to read more about The Fair Trade Certified™ label guarantee.

Over the past years more attention has been given to this issue. As a result the market share of fair trade products is growing. They generally account for 1-20% of all sales in their product categories.

Throughout the month PND will be featuring a few fair trade products and hosting a few fair trade giveaways.  We hope you participate.

We hope by featuring these companies, products we can help generate further awareness about the fair trade options available to consumers.  At the same time it’s a chance to pause,  thinking about the working conditions that are a reality to workers around the world and how choosing fair trade can make a difference to them.

Learn more about the impact of choosing fair trade CLICK HERE.

Throughout the month as you shop for your family look for fair trade certification and when you can buy fair trade.

Fair Trade Organizations:

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International
TransFair – United States USA

Click Here to learn more about the history of fair trade.