Flowers? Chocolate? Perhaps a little wine? Looking to share your love this Valentine’s Day? What if the gift you choose brings a smile to your loved one’s face and to those who made it?
When you buy a gift with the Fair Trade Certified™ label, you know that the farmers who produced it are paid fair prices, earn healthcare benefits, receive education and earn development funds to improve their communities. This is a huge step up from buying conventional flowers, but in order to be truly kind, it is best to seek both Fair Trade and Organic certifications. Fair Trade does a tremendous job at promoting labor rights and community development, but not all Fair Trade certified farms are organic. Therefore, when flowers lack the double certification, flower laborers and the surrounding environment are exposed to extremely toxic chemicals. Did you know that one fifth of the chemicals used in flower production in South America (for example DDT and methyl-bromide) are restricted or banned in the United States and Europe? Exposure to these chemicals has serious consequences for the flower laborers. In Colombia, two-thirds of the flower laborers suffer from impaired vision, respiratory and neurological issues- and for female laborers- stillbirths and babies born with malfunctions.
It’s simple. Looking for the Fair Trade and Organic label when you choose a bouquet of flowers can impact the earth and the life and farmer like Elvia in Ecuador. Supporters of Fair Trade have helped Elvia and her two daughters pursue their education. By day, Elvia works hard packing beautiful roses at the Agrogana flower farm in Cotopaxi, Ecuador and at night you’ll find her at the adult school program that was funded by the Fair Trade premium. As a member of the farm’s Fair Trade committee, she and her co-workers have invested the Fair Trade premiums to establish a children’s reading program, health clinics and a shopping club for low-priced groceries.
There are countless stories like Elvia’s thanks to Fair Trade. Here are a few Fair Trade gift ideas that will bring even more meaning to Valentine’s Day this year.
- Roses: The majority of roses purchased for Valentine’s Day this year will travel all the way from Ecuador and Colombia. You can make sure that your long-stemmed symbols of love make a difference by looking for bouquets bearing the Fair Trade Certified and Organic Certified logo. One World Flowers and your local Whole Foods Market both have a good selection of choices.
- Chocolate: Fair Trade means that cocoa farmers receive a fair price for their harvest and that child labor is prohibited. There are so many tasty Fair Trade options from sweetriot riotBARs made with cacao sourced exclusively in Latin America to Alter Eco’s Organic Fair Trade Dark Quinoa Bars.
Looking to turn up the heat a bit? Pour your sweetheart a steaming cup of Lake Champlain Spicy Aztec hot chocolate. This cocoa from Mexico is spiced with cinnamon, has a light kick of cayenne and a hint of vanilla.
- Coffee & Tea: Start the day off by brewing a pot of Fair Trade Certified coffee or tea for your special someone. When it comes to coffee, we love Klatch Coffee Fair Trade Organic Guatemala Café Feminino, produced by a co-op that provides jobs for women in Guatemala. If its tea your sweetie prefers, there are plenty of Valentine-approved blends available like DAVIDsTEA Cinnamon Rooibos Chai which has a clean and refreshing taste your taste buds will thank you for. Other favorites include Allegro Organic Café La Dueña and Twinings Organic and Fair Trade Chai.
- Wine & Spirits: Add a little color to your dinner table with red and pink drinks. Whether your Valentine prefers wine or a cocktail, there are delicious drink options that will make you feel good about your purchase. House of Mandela Thembu Collection ensures that wine lovers around the world can enjoy a product that fosters real change, while FAIR. spirits are made from the highest quality Fair Trade quinoa.