Fair Trade for Valentine’s Day and a Giveaway

DarkChocolateEcuador2 150x150 Fair Trade for Valentines Day and a Giveaway

It's Vegan, too!

Valentine’s Day is about love (and chocolate, but mostly about love). This Valentine’s Day, why not skip the drug store chocolate and instead choose a treat that is both delicious and beneficial to the people who produce it?

Like coffee farmers, cocoa farmers rarely receive a living wage for their back-breaking labor. Proponents of Fair Trade are working hard to change that. Equal Exchange is one company that’s gotten it right.

I’ve been buying from Equal Exchange for several years now and I feel really good about doing business with them. They are committed to creating betters lives for farmers while providing high-quality, great-tasting products. I love supporting companies that do good work. I also love coffee and tea and chocolate, and theirs is wonderful. You can learn more about this terrific little company by visiting www.equalexchange.coop, or by reading my previous post about them.

ChocolateCaramelCrunch2 150x150 Fair Trade for Valentines Day and a Giveaway

Organic & Fairly Traded

They recently sent me two of their newest chocolate bars, Organic Ecuador Dark Chocolate (65% cacao content) and Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55% cacao content). According to Equal Exchange, both bars, like all Equal Exchange chocolates and cocoas, are fairly traded and organic, from small-scale farmer co-operatives. Taking great care to select recipes with as few ingredients as possible, these bars are soy- and gluten-free, and the Ecuador bar is vegan. I can honestly say that these two additions are just as delicious as all the others bars. In a word: YUM!

Giveaway

gift MixedChocBox50050 300x167 Fair Trade for Valentines Day and a Giveaway

Win This!

Equal Exchange is giving away a gift box of their assorted chocolate bars to one lucky reader–just in time for Valentine’s Day. To enter:

1. Simply follow me at me new Twitter home: @SmartGreenMedia. (If you already follow me on Twitter, just let me know in the comments — you’ll still get credit for the entry).

2. Tweet about this post.

3. Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done both of those things–you’ll get one entry for each.

The giveaway ends on Friday, February 4. I’ll select a winner using random.org and post the results on Saturday morning.

If you don’t win, no worries, Equal Exchange has generously offered a discount to Smart Green Tips readers. Simply enter the code chocolate5 and receive $5 off of a case of organic fairly traded chocolate bars. You can place your order at the Equal Exchange web store.

Full Disclosure: Other than the two complimentary chocolate bars, I’m receiving no payment or affiliate commissions for this post.

Why Blogs Are So Cool (And Important) Part 2

Last month I told you all a story about how I found a blog (Steady Mom) that mentioned a nonprofit (Love146) that moved me. I then wrote a post and that post moved someone else — someone who happens to live in the same town I do. She mentioned Love146 to people she’s connected with and as a result, Love146, was selected to receive a donation far greater than the one I could contribute on my own.

I’m happy to report that the numbers are in.

During the month of April, The Thrifty Quaker thrift shop sold enough merchandise to allow them to donate $1,644.42 to Love146.

All because of a blog post that beget another blog post that someone else read and decided to take action. And that’s the key. I read a lot of great blogs and a lot of great blog posts. I often think, “Isn’t that nice, what they’re doing over there?” or “I should help with that.” But these thoughts are usually put aside and later forgotten. A lot can be accomplished if we use our resources and take action on things that are important to us.

I hope to spend more time taking action. How about you?

Why Blogs Are So Cool (and Important)

Today I’d like to tell you a story about one of the best things that’s happened since I started blogging. It’s a story about the power of our voices and the power of the all the people out there listening. It’s a story about the power of one, who tells one, who tells another, and another, until things happen. It’s a story about ideas coming to life and about real lives getting better because of it.

Here’s the story:

Once upon I time I stumbled on Jamie Martin’s blog, Steady Mom. I can’t remember exactly how I found her; it was probably the way most of us find each other: I read a blog that led me to a blog that led me to another. I was so moved by what Jamie was doing over there that I ordered her book, Steady Days [my review], right away. I wanted to know more of what she had to say. Something else I found on Jamie’s site was Love146.org. This is an organization that works tirelessly to put an end to child sex slavery. I have two young daughters. This group spoke to me.

Like most people, though, I don’t have an endless supply of money. I’d love to help Love146 in a significant way, but I just don’t have the funds. I did contribute what I could, but they’re doing such important work, I wanted to let more people know about them. So I wrote a post. I wrote that post hoping to make people aware, hoping a few might be moved to give a little, because I do believe in the power of a lot of people giving a little.

What I didn’t expect was this: a colleague and friend who lives right here in my town reads my blog. She is a nice person and a concerned citizen. She’s also a part of the local Quaker Meeting of Friends. This Meeting operates a thrift store called The Thrifty Quaker. Each month, the store’s profits are donated to a different charitable organization. Since their opening in September of 1996, they’ve donated over $2,000,000.

My friend was so touched by what she read about Love146 here at Smart Family Tips, she suggested that they receive the proceeds from April’s sales at The Thrifty Quaker; her Friends agreed. She told me the wonderful news and now we’re busy here talking things up. We’re trying to get a lot of people to donate this month so there will be more to sell. Obviously, the more sales, the more money will be available to donate.

This is why blogs are so cool — I happened on a blog that mentioned a charity that spoke to me. I wrote about that charity on my blog and it spoke to someone else. That person told people she knows and as a result, Love146 is going to receive a donation at the end of April that will be far larger than any monetary contribution I could make on my own.

If you’re reading this and you blog, please remember that you never know who’s reading and who those readers know. You never know when someone may be moved by the words you cast out into the world and when those words may turn into funds for a worthy cause.

Sometimes writing blog posts seems inconsequential. It isn’t.

Bloggers, keep writing.

Readers, keep sharing what you read with your friends and your neighbors.

Together, we just might change the world, one writer, one reader, one friend at a time.