Community Through Kindness and Food

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“The joys of the table belong equally to all ages, conditions, countries and times; they mix with all other pleasures, and remain the last to console us for their loss.” – Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

During Fair-Trade month, I had the pleasure of having lunch with eight staff members from Fair Trade USA at their office  in Oakland, CA. When I was asked to join them, I imagined dark cubicles and a tiny office kitchen that consisted of only a microwave, tiny sink, and coffee pot (reminiscent of my days working in clinical research). Though, I was pleasantly welcomed into a large, lofty, bright office floor with a large, separate dining room with a pretty decent kitchen. Albeit, sans stove. The participating colleagues sit down every Wednesday and enjoy a relaxing, homemade vegetarian/vegan lunch together. On a rotating weekly schedule, one person brings a homemade lunch to share with rest of the group. The meals are vegetarian/vegan, since it suits everyone’s dietary needs and is environmentally friendly.  The group also try to use as many Fair-Trade ingredients in the meal as possible and even make a friendly competition out of it. According to Katie Barrow, Fair-Trade PR Manager, cupcakes and baked goods are the easiest since you can use Fair-Trade spices, chocolate, vanilla, and sugar. She had also made Fair-Trade vegan cupcakes to share with Club Dine In! in honor of Fair Trade Month. During lunch, we conversed lightly about our common interests in sustainability and television commercials.

A dining table is not only a place where we eat food, but it’s where we can connect, build, and maintain relationships. It is also the easiest place to make positive impacts locally and globally. When we make sustainable food choices,  we positively impact farmers, communities, the environment, and ourselves. We have to eat anyway, so why not do some good at the same time!

The communal kitchen

Raw Kale and Cauliflower Salad from the cookbook The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

.African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew from the cookbook The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

We had a delicious lunch of sweet potato stew, kale and cauliflower salad, and quinoa.

Every Cup Cake Matters, made with fair-trade cocoa, sugar, and vanilla and chocolate chips.

 

*Fair Trade Month unites Fair Trade USA’s diverse corporate, nonprofit  and individual across the United States to generate awareness of Fair Trade’s comprehensive approach to social, economic and environmental empowerment and sustainability among farming communities in the developing world. Find out how you can get involved and or what small changes you can make to support the movement here.

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.
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