If you've ever asked yourself, "what is fair trade?" or "why fair trade?", I've got a video for you! At this point most people understand what organic certification means, but few grasp the concept of fair trade, so I went to the source to get some clarification. This spring at Expo West I interviewed the lovely Katie Barrow, public relations and social media manager for Fair Trade USA, the organization that certifies and puts the stamp on products that you see on shelves. In the video she talks about fair trade, what it means, how it effects farmers, why it's important to buy certified items, and explains that it's not just about coffee but applies to many other foods and even clothing.
Katie and I had a great time together roaming the isles of Expo and she introduced me to some of the amazing people behind fair trade products. She even helped me tape a fun video with Coconut Bliss, who make fair trade chocolate and coffee "ice creams"that you more than likely have in your freezer right now - that video will be up soon I promise.
And the fun hasn't ended there - Katie has kept in touch with me and is always sharing fun news from Fair Trade USA. In fact, yesterday I was invited into their offices in Oakland (right outside of San Francisco) as guest of honor at their weekly Meatless Wednesday lunch group! I joined a passionate, incredibly nice group of people in their beautiful kitchen, where we dined on a delicious vegan meal prepared by Katie herself! She made a Fiesta Potato Salad, "Hot Tamale" Burgers, my Mexican-Inspired Quinoa Salad (using fair trade Royal Black Quinoa by Alter Eco), and “Skinny Bitch” Chocolate Chip Cookies served with vanilla Coconut Bliss - YUM! I had a soothing mug full of Choice Lemon Lavender Mint tea, and as an extra special treat, we were given Old Fashions made with organic, fair trade liqueur by Fair and agave nectar. This incredible meal was paired with the wonderful conversation with some of the Fair Trade USA staff, who each had a beautiful story to share about why they were there and how they make a difference in the world.
Before I left I received a tour around the office - most memorable were the bikes in some of the cubicles (how eco!) and the names of some of the conference rooms like Earth Room, Wellness Room, and Innovation Room. I was thrilled to see the behind the scenes of Fair Trade USA - I can tell you first hand that this organization has really positive energy, which is exactly what we need behind such an important aspect of our food and clothing.
If you'd like to read more about fair trade, check out this articles I've wrote on Greenwala: Eat Fair: What Fair-Trade Is and Why It's Important.