Fairtrade

Killer Breakfast Sandwich

Looking for a quick and satisfying breakfast sandwich? This one’s for you! You’ll find local cage-free Maple Meadow eggs, organic, fairtrade Equal Exchange avocados, and organic English muffins from Dave’s Killer Bread featured in the Weekly Sale from December 30th – January 5th, so it’s a perfect time to give this one a try! We think it will hit the spot as you recover from your New Year’s Eve revelry!

Spotlight on Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on a local business that keeps our Co-op shelves stocked with fresh-roasted artisan coffees and teas. From October 28th – November 3rd, member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of the offerings from Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea! Read on to learn more about this local importer and roaster of single-source, organic, and fairly traded coffee and tea and their dedication to the craft:

 

The Team

Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea was founded by Mané Alves, a native of Lisbon, Portugal, who has been in the specialty coffee industry for over 20 years.  His wife, Holly, came to the business with more than 20 years of experience with branding and marketing and now handles strategy and marketing for Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea. Together with their General Manager, Renee Adams, and the rest of the team, they possess a shared passion for great coffee and a vision of delivering the highest quality coffee and tea products to their customers, week in and week out.

Mané & Holly Alves

Sourcing

Thanks to his extensive travels, Mané has been able to develop direct relationships with many of the farmers from which his coffees and teas are sourced. Many of the coffees in the lineup are single-sourced, farm direct, organically grown, and Fair Trade certified. 

 

The Roastery

The workhorse of the company is their state-of-the-art Roastery where they transform green coffee beans from around the world into some of the finest roasted beans around. 

If you find yourself passing through Waterbury, VT, be sure to drop by their coffee bar and see for yourself why Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea has earned a coveted Seven Daysie award for “Best Coffee Roaster in Vermont” and “Best Coffee Shop Outside of Chittenden County.” They offer delicious drinks and treats to-go, plus whole bean and ground coffees and teas by the bag. 

Sustainability

Mané and the rest of his team understand the importance of sustainable business practices. They collaborate with the farmers who grow the products they offer to explore climate-friendly growing practices and they are committed to offering eco-friendly packaging. Click here to learn more about the balance between sustainability and quality in coffee packaging and the environmentally friendly Biotré 2 bag used for Vermont Artisan Coffees, which is made from 100% renewable materials and is 60% compostable.

Education

In addition to offering high-quality coffee and tea to retail outlets, Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea is also host to the School of Coffee — a professional coffee training center offering CQI accredited courses on brewing and roasting coffee in a Specialty Coffee Association Certified Premier training facility. Their cupping classes, roasting classes, and barista classes are geared toward the coffee professional, while their tastings and workshops are for folks who just want to learn more about the world of specialty coffee. Tours, tastings, and workshops are on hold during the pandemic, but they look forward to resuming these opportunities once it’s safe to do so.

Spotlight on Frontier Co-op Brands

As part of our celebration of Co-op Month, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on the Frontier Co-op family of brands, which includes Aura Cacia and Simply Organic, in an effort to highlight the wonderful things this cooperative does to source and provide quality organic and earth-friendly products while also giving back to the communities they serve. All Frontier, Aura Cacia, and Simply Organic products are 20% off for member-owners from October 21st – 27th.  Read on to learn more about this trio of cooperative brands and their commitment to the wellbeing of people and planet:

First founded in 1976 in a riverside cabin in Iowa with only two employees, Frontier has been a member-owned, democratically-controlled co-op dedicated to supporting and advocating the values of the cooperative community from the very beginning. Their 40,000 member-owners are wholesale retailers, distributors, and buying clubs like our Co-op, who purchase products from Frontier for retail sale. Despite their growth and evolution since those early days in the cabin, Frontier remains firmly committed to its founding values of integrity, openness, social responsibility, and respect for the environment. They’re driven by a simple purpose: to do good by people and planet. And to create a stronger company built on a commitment to quality and sustainability.

Each year, Frontier Co-op gives back 4% of its pre-tax profits to causes and organizations around the world that inspire wellness in communities where their products are produced. Each of the co-op’s three brands has an established fund for social giving.

Frontier was an early adopter of progressive workplace programs such as on-site childcare, establishing a subsidized on-site childcare center and cafeteria at their headquarters in Norway, Iowa in the 1980s. They were also early and influential advocates of the organic, fair trade, and non-GMO movements, introducing the first Fairtrade Certified spice line and the first Non-GMO Verified vanilla extracts in the United States. 

They’re also deeply committed to their grower communities abroad where many of their premium organic products are sourced. To ensure a healthy, meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership, Frontier established the Well Earth™ sustainable sourcing program. This program promotes the sustainable production of natural and organic products and creates partnerships built upon mutual respect for quality botanicals and sound social and environmental principles. It is part of a multi-faceted effort to provide customers with high-quality, socially responsible products that include commitments to product quality, Fair Trade standards, Organic standards, integrity, social responsibility, and sustainable operations. By bringing high-quality, socially responsible products to the marketplace, the program gives consumers the opportunity to use their purchases to influence the way the world does business.

Organic ylang ylang harvest

Proceeds from the fair trade of their products has allowed for the development of critical infrastructure in the growing communities from which Frontier sources many of their raw ingredients, including a preschool in Madagascar, a dental clinic in Fedecovera, and the construction of 49 wells in 38 of the farming communities from whom Frontier sources its vanilla.

Students stand outside the preschool constructed in the growers’ community in Madagascar where Frontier and Aura Cacia source their raw ingredients

Aura Cacia

In the late 1990s, Frontier decided to expand its lineup to include body care products and essential oils by purchasing Aura Cacia. As part of Frontier Co-op, Aura Cacia shares the cooperative values of nourishing people and planet. They care for the small grower communities at the source of their products, openly share product information, show their customers how to improve their lives with aromatherapy, and give back to help those in need.

Aura Cacia is committed to both quality products and quality of life. They offer outstanding products made from simple and pure botanical ingredients that improve the well-being of those who use them. They test every shipment of essential oil they receive to verify its purity and quality.

Aura Cacia’s Lavender Fields

As they travel the world to find top-quality essential oils, they encourage sustainable growing practices that preserve and improve land and resources for the future. Click here to learn more about Frontier Co-op’s sourcing.

As part of Frontier Co-op’s far-reaching sustainable sourcing initiatives, they support the growers’ communities with charitable projects that fundamentally improve people’s lives. They’ve created the Positive Change Project to give back a portion of each Aura Cacia purchase to organizations that help women bring positive change to their lives.

 

Be sure to check out Aura Cacia’s impressive collection of recipes to unleash the full potential of their essential oils. Whether you’re looking for DIY recipes for facial care, body care, or home cleaning products, they’ve got something for you!

Simply Organic

In the early 2000s, Frontier launched the Simply Organic line of products as a means to offer a 100% organic line of culinary products to deliver big flavor to your meals while also supporting climate-friendly growing practices. Simply Organic is known for real, pure spices that really make a meal. Always 100% certified organic. Always sourced responsibly, and delivered with ethics and integrity. In keeping with their commitments to their growing communities, Frontier works closely with its growers to ensure goodness all around. Pure, premium spices for you. Sustainable farming practices and steady businesses for farming communities around the world. It’s a win-win!

Simply Organic is committed to helping nourish the millions of food insecure in the United States and Canada through the Simply Organic Giving Fund. Since 2001, they’ve given back more than $2 million to support organic agricultural development and grower communities, including:

  • Helping growers in developing countries produce and market certified organic products.
  • Building training centers that teach organic agriculture methods and wells that bring fresh water to villages; supporting schools, meal programs and other social projects in grower communities.
  • Supporting U.S. organic research and education projects, scholarships in sustainable agriculture, and organic-growing-based social organizations such as urban gardens and community food banks.

In 2018, Frontier committed to focusing the Simply Organic Giving Fund Grant Program on addressing an issue that’s especially persistent and critical, but that is often overlooked or misunderstood: food insecurity. They’re working to help organizations across the United States and Canada to nourish the millions of food insecure in our communities by supporting organizations that provide access to healthy, organic food options.

Grant recipients for this year include the Emergency Food Network, Feed Iowa First, Matthew 25, Project Worthmore, and MEANS Database. Click here to learn more about the impact of these projects and to apply for a Simply Organic Giving Fund Grant.

Also, be sure to check out the Simply Organic recipe database for delicious inspiration!

Spotlight on Nutiva

Nutiva is enjoying the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their Organic, Fairtrade, and Non-GMO Verified goods are 20% off from July 29th – August 4th! Read on to learn more about their humble beginnings and their mission-driven business model:

The Nutiva story began in 1999 when founder John Ruloc began pursuing his passion to bring healthy hemp seed products to the market. The name for the company is even hemp-derived:  Nutiva — NUT of a cannabis satIVA. His very first product launch was hemp seed bars, followed in 2002 by organic, cold-pressed, minimally processed coconut oil products. They also now partner with 35,000 independent Ethiopian farmers to bring you high-quality organic avocado oil products. 

Nutiva founder John Roulac pictured with his very first product — Nutiva hemp seed bars.

Nutiva is proud to be a fierce advocate for the legalization of hemp-based products and the consumers’ right to pesticide-free, GMO-free foods. In 2003, they also began advocating for reform in the destructive palm oil industry, working with Natural Habitats and Palm Done Right to create a more equitable and sustainable supply chain for red palm oil, shortening, and hazelnut spreads. Every Nutiva product containing these ingredients is Fair for Life Certified, deforestation-free, wildlife-friendly, and Certified Organic. 

In 2015, Nutiva worked with Fair Trade USA to certify their coconut oil in the Philippines and, as a result of this partnership, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Nutiva’s coconut products are deposited into a community-led fund that supports and empowers their growers’ communities. To date, this fund has raised over $450,000.

In 2020, Nutiva launched a zero-waste program through which 95% of its waste products are either reused or recycled in an effort to divert from the waste stream. For their efforts, they’ve earned a Gold Standard Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and prevented 1,674 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

One of their most recent projects aims to ensure that their products are free of residues from the toxic and ubiquitous herbicide glyphosate (also known as RoundUp). Nutiva’s chia seeds and avocado oils are the first to become Certified Glyphosate Residue Free by the third-party Detox Project, which shares Nutiva’s commitment to creating pesticide-free superfoods that are healthy for people and planet. Nutiva’s goal is to eventually have all of their products bear this certification. Their entire line is already Certified Organic and Non-GMO Verified.

Since Nutiva was formed in 1999, every product purchased has helped to raise over $5 million to advance sustainable agriculture and grow healthy communities through Nutiva’s various social impact programs.

  • Schoolyard Orchard Initiative – For 6 years, Common Vision and Nutiva have partnered to bring an orchard to every public school in Richmond, California. This Nutiva School Orchard Initiative is an unprecedented, city-wide achievement that has brought fresh, healthy, school-grown fruit to 28 schools, impacting over 13,000 students — 79.5% of who rely on free and reduced lunch.
  • 100,000 Seedlings – In partnership with the global nonprofit Grameen Foundation, Nutiva has donated and helped plant 100,000 coconut seedlings in the Phillippines to revitalize crops and replace trees destroyed by typhoons. These seedlings have since grown into productive, organic coconut trees which help to improve the livelihoods of their local smallholder farmer partners in the Phillippines.
  • Typhoon Relief – In late 2020, the Phillippines were ravaged by three successive typhoons, destroying homes and plantations and leaving many in their smallholder farmer communities at risk. Nutiva has worked diligently to provide labor, lumber, and other supplies to assist with cleanup and rebuilding efforts. 
  • Planting Justice – Transforming the food system one garden at a time, Planting Justice grows food, jobs, and community through urban permaculture and holistic re-entry programs for folks transitioning out of the prison system. Nutiva supports their pursuit of food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing — primarily through paid internships, compost production, and tree planting programs.
  • Kiss the Ground – Awakening millions of people to the climate solution that’s right beneath our feet, Kiss the Ground is a film bringing the story of regenerative ag to a global audience. As supporters of this film from its inception, Nutiva is proud to see Kiss the Ground educating viewers around the world about the ways that healthy soil and agroecological stewardship can provide solutions to the climate crisis.
  • Avo-Conscious – Nutiva’s avocado oil is nurturing farming communities, sustainable livelihoods, and soil regeneration. They’ve partnered with over 35,000 small farmers to grow organic avocados regeneratively in a polyculture with coffee trees. Through this project, they’ve offered tools and trainings to over 5,000 farmers, empowering their farming partners with the most relevant and up-to-date organic and regenerative avocado farming methods and business skills through in-field education. In 2020, 30 Ethiopian women began training in Nutiva’s avocado nursery program. Upon graduation in 2021, each will be capable of supplying 6000 seedlings per year.

To read more about these programs and an assessment of Nutvia’s environmental impact, be sure to check out their 2020 Social and Environmental Impact Report

The Congo Coffee Project

Equal Exchange is well known for revolutionizing the fair trade of organic, non-GMO coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, bananas, and avocados from small farmer cooperatives. They’ve become experts at creating powerful change in industries dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation and their Congo Coffee Project is no exception. You’ll find this coffee featured in our Weekly Sale from May 6th – 12th and we wanted to take a moment to shine a bit of extra light on the profound impact that your purchases of this coffee are having on survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From the time of colonization on, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been shaken by conflict. In recent decades, combatants fighting for land and resources have used sexual violence as a tactic, affecting thousands. For women, men, and children who are rape survivors in need of medical attention, there are not many treatment options; they are sometimes ostracized, abandoned, or ignored with nowhere to go. In 2011, Equal Exchange’s Quality Control Manager Beth Ann Casperson helped found the Congo Coffee Project with the Panzi Foundation as a means to bring Congolese coffee to market in the United States while offering healing for survivors and raising awareness about the alarming rate of violence.

Beth Ann Casperson – Quality Control Manager at Equal Exchange who helped initiate the Congo Coffee Project.

Survivors of sexual violence seek refuge and assistance at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, a bustling place with more than 360 staff and thousands of visitors each year. The hospital treats patients with various ailments but has become known as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to seek treatment and an opportunity to heal from their extensive and brutal trauma. 

Since its inception in 2011, the Congo Coffee Project has raised more than $100,000 for survivors of sexual violence and Dr. Denis Mukwege, the physician responsible for treating survivors of sexual violence and raising awareness of their plight, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. One dollar from each Congo Coffee purchase goes toward supporting Dr. Mukwege’s work to assist the women, men, and children who have been impacted by sexual violence. Click here to read more about the impact of your Congo Coffee purchases and see a breakdown of how the funds are allocated. We also invite you to learn more about this project by tuning into this podcast titled Conflict, Coffee Farmers, and the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

The Congo Coffee Project

Equal Exchange is well known for revolutionizing the fair trade of organic, non-GMO coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, bananas, and avocados from small farmer cooperatives. They’ve become experts at creating powerful change in industries dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation and their Congo Coffee Project is no exception. You’ll find this coffee featured in our Weekly Sale from May 6th – 12th and we wanted to take a moment to shine a bit of extra light on the profound impact that your purchases of this coffee are having on survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From the time of colonization on, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been shaken by conflict. In recent decades, combatants fighting for land and resources have used sexual violence as a tactic, affecting thousands. For women, men, and children who are rape survivors in need of medical attention, there are not many treatment options; they are sometimes ostracized, abandoned, or ignored with nowhere to go. In 2011, Equal Exchange’s Quality Control Manager Beth Ann Casperson helped found the Congo Coffee Project with the Panzi Foundation as a means to bring Congolese coffee to market in the United States while offering healing for survivors and raising awareness about the alarming rate of violence.

Beth Ann Casperson – Quality Control Manager at Equal Exchange who helped initiate the Congo Coffee Project.

Survivors of sexual violence seek refuge and assistance at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, a bustling place with more than 360 staff and thousands of visitors each year. The hospital treats patients with various ailments but has become known as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to seek treatment and an opportunity to heal from their extensive and brutal trauma. 

Since its inception in 2011, the Congo Coffee Project has raised more than $100,000 for survivors of sexual violence and Dr. Denis Mukwege, the physician responsible for treating survivors of sexual violence and raising awareness of their plight, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. One dollar from each Congo Coffee purchase goes toward supporting Dr. Mukwege’s work to assist the women, men, and children who have been impacted by sexual violence. Click here to read more about the impact of your Congo Coffee purchases and see a breakdown of how the funds are allocated. We also invite you to learn more about this project by tuning into this podcast titled Conflict, Coffee Farmers, and the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Spotlight on Dr. Bronner’s

This week’s Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Dr. Bronner’s! Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all Dr. Bronner’s products from February 25th – March 3rd, so it’s a perfect time to stock up and save. Read on to learn more about this mission-driven company and its deep commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

History

Dr. Bronner’s was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soapmaking family, who spent his life renouncing hate and war on a personal mission to unite mankind. He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our transcendent unity across religious & ethnic divides: “We are All-One or None!” Still family-owned and run, Dr. Bronner’s honors its founder’s vision by making socially & environmentally responsible products of the highest quality—and by dedicating their profits to help make a better world.

Dr. Bronner’s founder Emanuel Bronner

Emanuel passed away in 1997 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease, though his legacy lives on through his family who continues to run the business and carry out the social and environmental missions that Emanual held dear. The torch was initially passed to Emanuel’s sons Ralph and Jim, along with Jim’s wife Trudy, though, by 1998, Jim was battling cancer and began to train his son David (24-year-old Harvard graduate, mental health counselor, hemp advocate) to run the company. On Jim’s passing, David, along with mom Trudy and Uncle Ralph, began running the company, and in 2000, David’s brother Michael rounded out the team by joining the family business.

David, Trudy, and Michael Bronner

Advocacy

Intent to carry on Emanuel Bronner’s passion for the care of people and planet, Dr. Bronner’s has continued to dedicate themselves to using their business as a force for good. In 2003, Dr. Bronner’s became the largest personal care company certified under USDA’s National Organic Program. They pioneered the first 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, instituted progressive business practices, including the implementation of a 5-to-1 compensation cap between top salaried employees and their lowest-wage warehouse position, and provide 100% free health care coverage to their entire team, along with profit sharing. All profits not needed for the business are allocated to progressive causes and charities. Dr. Bronner’s was instrumental in funding and coordinating the hemp industry’s battle to defeat the DEA’s prohibitive hemp regulations and they’ve been outspoken advocates for the labeling of products produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Click here to check out Dr. Bronner’s blog to read more about their advocacy and activism.

Certifications

Dr. Bronner’s has been Fairtrade certified since 2007, B Corps Certified since 2015, and they recently became one of the first companies to receive a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) from the Regenerative Organic Alliance for their coconut oil. This designation is given to products that meet the highest standards for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker fairness and Dr. Broner’s is committed to eventually having all of their products receive this certification. The ROC and Fairtrade certified coconut oil that goes into Dr. Bronner’s products is produced by a sister company, Serendipol, located in Sri Lanka.

A coconut farmer harvesting the Fairtrade Regenerative Organic Certified coconuts for Dr. Bronner’s products

The palm oil used in Dr. Bronner’s products comes from another sister company, Serendipalm, located in Eastern Ghana. The palm oil is produced ethically from sustainably-harvested palm fruits that come directly from 500 small organic family farms. These farms were developed without the widespread clear-cutting of rainforest and the resulting devastation to local primates that are common with many of the newer, larger-scale palm oil plantations. The farmers, along with the 250+ workers in the oil mill (primarily local women) are paid a Fairtrade premium price and enjoy working conditions that are uncommon in this industry so marked by exploitation. The Fairtrade premium has been used for a range of community development projects, such as drilling wells and installing tanks to provide community-operated water systems, building public toilet facilities, rebuilding a pedestrian bridge, installing lighting, and providing school supplies.

The women of Serendipalm processing the ethically and sustainably-harvested, Fairtrade, Organic palm fruits to produce the palm oil for Dr. Bronner’s products

According to their website, “Dr. Bronner’s has always been an activist company, dating back to when Emanuel Bronner was calling on the human race to unite from street corners and auditoriums, selling his peppermint castile soap on the side. Carrying forward that same activist spirit, it is our mission to continue to use the company today to fight for and financially support causes we believe in: regenerative agriculture, fair trade, animal advocacy, industrial hemp and drug policy reform, and living wages, among others. We call ourselves the “fighting soap company,” and are committed and strategic in the causes we fight for.

Fairtrade Chocolate Mousse

In honor of Fairtrade Month, we bring you a surprisingly decadent dessert without the post-indulgent guilt. It features a handful of Fairtrade Certified ingredients, some of which can be found in our Fairtrade-themed weekly sale from October 15th – 21st. Don’t let the healthy ingredients dissuade you — this one is so rich and delicious you’ll forget that there is avocado in your dessert!

Fairtrade Chocolate Mousse

In honor of Fairtrade Month, we bring you a surprisingly decadent dessert without the post-indulgent guilt. It features a handful of Fairtrade Certified ingredients, some of which can be found in our Fairtrade-themed weekly sale from October 15th – 21st. Don’t let the healthy ingredients dissuade you — this one is so rich and delicious you’ll forget that there is avocado in your dessert!

Chocolate Sauce

Step away from the chocolate syrup squeezy bottle! With just three ingredients and a few simple steps, you can take your Valentine’s Day breakfast or dessert to new heights. You’ll find Equal Exchange’s organic, fairtrade, co-op made chocolate chips featured in our weekly sale from February 6th – 12th, along with organic frozen strawberries, Cabot whipped cream, Nature’s Path waffles, and a handful of other ingredients designed to help you pull together an easy breakfast or dessert spread that will make your Valentine swoon!