It's hard to believe, but Valentine's Day is just around the corner again, and I'm writing my annual post nice and early so you have plenty of time to get in on the sales and specials, and order all the fantastic fair trade items you want.
As most of you know from earlier posts about fair trade, fair trade certification is about letting consumers know that the people who grow/harvest/make their products got a fair price and humane working conditions, which is a big step above the often horrible conditions (child labor, pesticide poisoning, intimidation and exploitation, etc) involved in producing non-certified versions. Valentine's Day is an especially big deal for two fair trade products-- chocolate and the newly available fair trade flowers-- because it's estimated that Valentine's Day accounts for 12% of chocolate and 25% of flowers sold in the U.S.
Luckily, there are a ton of great options for getting great fair trade products for Valentine's Day (and don't miss the action steps to promote fair trade, at the end of the list.)
- Online: 1800flowers.com has a pretty bouquet of fair trade roses available to order online. (Sam's Club Online has more options, but they're more expensive, plus ugh, Wal-Mart.)
- Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates: From fantastic looking boxes of truffles (Cherry Chipotle or Green Tea, anyone?) to bags of chocolate hearts in a variety of flavors, there are a ton of awesome choices here-- and they're fair trade, organic, and many are even vegan! (Plus, suprisingly affordable, too.)
- Ithaca Fine Chocolates has fair trade, organic chocolate Art Bars that also include a collectible card with a reporduction of a work of art, and 10% of profits go to art education.
- Not all Sjaak's Organic Chocolates are fair trade, but they do have a number of neat fair trade options for Valentine's Day, including heart-shaped cherry truffles, a chocolate heart-shaped shell filled with small chocolate hearts, and a chocolate "nuts and chews" assortment in a Valentine's Day box. (Some are vegan too.)
- Equal Exchange doesn't have Valentine's Day-themed chocolate, but they do have plenty of chocolate (and cocoa, and coffee, and tea.) And if you use the the code "valday08" you can get 10% off.
- Chocolate + Other Gifts (crafts, jewelry, etc)
- Global Exchange has tons of Valentine's Day-themed gifts, from fair trade chocolates inside a red box with a heart cut-out, to jewelry, heart-shaped candles, and other crafts. (And they have terrific action kits, too-- see below.)
- A Greater Gift features a heart-shaped box of chocolate bars as well as a lot of jewelry plus some really pretty heart-shaped decorations.
- Ten Thousand Villages (which has tons of brick-and-mortar stores in the US and Canada as well as the website option) also has V-Day themed jewelry, art, and crafts.
- Taraluna sells fair trade jewelry, and you can get 10% off with the code CoopV07.
- World of Good also has Valentine's Day crafts and jewelry.
- Lucina is another site for fair trade jewelry, and their jewelry is also sold at some brick and mortar stores.
- Taking Action
- Click here to send e-mails to five big chocolate and flower sellers, asking them to offer fair trade and organic products.
- If you're a teacher or have a school-age kid, and you send in a request by Friday January 25th, Global Exchange will send you a free package of 30 Valentines for a classful of kids, with detachable postcards the kids can send to World's Finest asking them to offer fair trade chocolate options. (There's also a curriculum for teachers to use if they want to talk about fair trade with their K-6 students.)
- You can also buy a Global Exchange Action Kit, with the same valentines and postcards but also including fair trade chocolates, decorations, and an "I Love Fair Trade" iron-on.
- If you join Co-op America (an organization dedicated to "Economic Action for a Just Planet," including but not limited to fair trade) for just $20 by February 14, you'll get a free gift of fair trade chocolate bars in a nice fair trade keepsake box. (If you're already a member, donate $25 or more and you can get the gift too.)
- For more, here's Transfair's list of 12 ways to support fair trade.
Are you planning to make fair trade a part of your Valentine's Day?