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.

Fair Trade 101

 

Tea Harvest, Kenya

Image by franz88 via Flickr

 

What Does Fair Trade Really Mean?

Fair Trade provides a fair price for farmers which leads to higher living standards, thriving communities and more sustainable farming practices. It aims to educate and empower disadvantaged producers and connect them to a market, so they too can participate in global trade.

What Are Fair Trade products?

Almost everything you buy can be Fair Trade. The most common items are food products such as: coffee, tea, bananas, chocolate, sugar, rice, spices, cocoa, fruit, nuts, oils,  flowers, and handicrafts. For an extensive list of Fair Trade products look here.

Why Fair Trade?

By buying fair trade products, you are supporting:

  • Fair Prices for Workers
  • Healthy Working Environments
  • Community Development (Schools, Health Care, Electricity, etc.)
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Gender Equality in terms of Wages and Benefits
  • Democratic and Transparent Organizations
  • Higher Quality Products
  • Respect

And you are saying NO to:

  • Cyclical, Inescapable Poverty
  • Environmental Degradation
  • Forced Child Labor and Slavery
  • Unsafe, Unlawful Working Conditions

What You Can Do?

Fair Trade can only be successful if consumers (you and I) choose products that are Fair Trade Certified. Supporting Fair Trade is as easy as buying bananas or a cup of coffee. Just look for the fair trade label on the products you buy or ask your vendor if the product is Fair Trade certified. You can raise awareness in your community or just amongst friends and family by talking about Fair Trade. You can also organize events and initiatives in the classroom, office, city, or place of worship.

Club Dine In! has partnered with Fair Trade USA for a mixer to kickoff Fair Trade Month (October) in San Francisco, Ca. If you are in town, please come by and meet us! Each attendee will receive a special box of Fair Trade Tea and sample high quality cocktails, tea, chocolate, and much more! Sign up on Eventbrite or Facebook to save $5 at the door.

 

You can register for the event at: http://fairtrademonth.eventbrite.com/ and share the event with friends on Facebook.

 

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.

Every Party Matters

October is the seventh annual Fair Trade Month and Club Dine In! is excited to join Trendy Lime and Fair Trade USA as a media partner for this year’s biggest fair trade party on September 29th.  Taking place at the greenest bar in the United States, Temple SF,  the kick-off unites Fair Trade USA’s diverse corporate, nonprofit and stakeholders in more than 100 events, promotions and fund-raising activities across the United States. Through these events and celebrations, Fair Trade USA aims to generate awareness of Fair Trade’s comprehensive approach to social, economic and environmental empowerment and sustainability among farming communities in the developing world.

You can register for the event at: http://fairtrademonth.eventbrite.com/ and share the event with friends on Facebook.

You can register for the event at: http://fairtrademonth.eventbrite.com/ and share the event with friends on Facebook