Show Me Your Label: A Guide To Fair Trade Labels

The list has been updated with two new labels;

The Whole Trade Guarantee and Equitable-Trade. Learn more and see the rest of the labels by checking out this post! .

Show Me Your Label: A Guide To Fair Trade Labels

Have you ever wondered what exactly to look for when trying to buy Fair Trade? It can  be a little confusing to decipher the labels or perceived rhetoric about “Fair Trade” and get down to finding the actual products available in the market. But once you know what to look for, it actually becomes quite easy.

Certified Fair Trade products are not available in every type of merchandise that we may think of. There is a small but comparable list of things available at this point and the best way to find those products is by looking for the “label”. The above photo is a collage of all the Certified Fair Trade and Fair Trade related logos that I am aware of. What is to follow is a listing of each logo and a brief description of what they mean and information about the parent organization. I hope you’ll find this helpful and that it may take some of the guesswork out of shopping Fair Trade.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See All Labels and Continue Reading Here!

Oliver’s Market: The View From A Fair Trade Shopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oliver’s is a market with three storefronts in the Sonoma County area. I recently visited the store and cataloged the items the store carries that are Certified Fair Trade. While these items are stocked on the shelves at Oliver’s they are available in other markets as well such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. The purpose of this post is to give you a visual to assist you in finding these products at a market near you.

As for, it is one that seems to be concerned with high quality products and support of the local community. It boast a wide variety of Fair Trade products and a giant selection of local goods. The company  declares, “Our mission is to provide the communities we serve with the finest grocery store in the marketplace.To this end, we seek out our customers’ specific needs and tailor our products and services to meet those needs.We carry the largest possible selection of natural, conventional and gourmet products. We carry only the highest quality meat, produce and deli products, buying locally whenever possible.”

Here is a list of the Certified Fair Trade Products that I found… See All Products and Continue Reading Here!

Discovery, Exploration and Where I’ve Been Lately.

I have realized a few things in the past few weeks not the least of which is that I am committed to discovering how I can be more conscientious about the way I spend my money. Just a few days ago, while I was in a Big Box store, I found myself thinking about “something that I needed”. It was really just something that I wanted and I found myself heading down the isle where this thing lived. As I made the turn a thought came to mind. I think it is a quote but I’m not sure who said it and I know it didn’t come from my own head. The realization was, “The more stuff we have the more clubs we need to defend it”. I didn’t need the thing anymore. For one, I didn’t have any room in my cart for clubs and for another, I have enough already. I turned my cart around and went in search of the necessities.

I have not posted anything in a while but I’ve been active in a process of discovery; mainly discovering just what Fair Trade goods are available in my area. It’s been fun to drop into a store that I’ve never been to and traverse the isles in search of “the labels”. Which, by the way, I realize that I need to post a list and description of these labels so others know that to look for.

These are not the only labels

I’ve discovered new stores carrying a wide range of Fair Trade products and I’ve met some great people curious about what I am doing and committed to Fair Trade as well. I tell them that I blog about Fair Trade and that I am trying to find what products are available in my area so I can let others know. This is leading me to another post about what specifically is available in the Sonoma County area – coming soon. Through this process I’ve photographed all the Fair Trade items in stores such as Surf Supermarket, Gualala Supermarket, Safeway, Shelton’s Market, Oliver’s Market, Harvest Market and Big John’s Market. I’m heading to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods next. I’ve also been into a toy store, a few cafe’s and some stores that sell mostly Fair Trade goods. When you know what you are looking for, it’s pretty easy to spot.

My family recently spent some time on the Mendocino Coast in Northern Ca. While I was there I took the time document what the area had to offer in the way of Fair Trade. It was a wonderful time of discovery and meeting new people. I visited the markets in the towns of Point Arena, Gualala, Mendocino and Fort Bragg. I visited the coffee shop in Mendocino owned by Thanksgiving Coffee and spoke to the Co-Founder and former president of Thanksgiving Coffee. She made me a mocha, by the way, that was simply amazing. I’ve put all the places on my map for you to find if you happen to be traveling in this area and want to know where to find Fair Trade products.

I’ve also been looking for other ways to be a more responsible shopper. I currently use the app on my phone (which I’ll provide some more info on later) and I recently purchased “” by Ellis Jones. I know that much of what I own is not Fair Trade Certified and I am discovering that much of it is not even ethically sourced. I’m not going to throw it all away and be wasteful but I am going to make sure that I replace it with goods made by companies whose business practices are ethical.

I’ve also discovered in the past few weeks how life can just get away from you. Getting back to work after the holidays takes a period of transition for some of us. There is so much going on and it’s easy to slip into routine and doing what is easiest. And as such, it’s been a few weeks since I have posted anything. But for me, the idea of Fair Trade is more than just a blog or feeling good about the chocolate that I am eating. It’s about living my life “Fairly”. And I want that way of living to permeate every aspect of my life. It’s a learning process and I have lots of room for growth but I’m moving in that direction.

It feels good to get these thoughts “down on paper” and to get the information about what I’ve found out to others. Mentioning that I’m going to post something soon helps keep me accountable to this process that I’ve said I’m committed to (I’m easily distracted). So until next time, Grace and Peace to you, let’s be fair.

Bittersweet: The Hot Chocolate Experiment

After a cold day at a Norther California beach I promised my nieces and nephew a nice cup of Fair Trade hot chocolate. The excitement level was through the roof. Just the night before we screened the film with the whole family, all 14 of them, including the five children. When they found out we were going to have hot chocolate, and it was Fair Trade Certified, they were buzzing. I on the other hand was a little nervous. I had two varieties of hot chocolate and I had never made either one. This was going to be interesting. It was the first test of an experiment that began with a Christmas party and a group of students.

The experiment seemed simple enough: find a “Fair Trade” alternative for hot chocolate. As I posted before we had some students over to our house for a Christmas party but we were out of hot chocolate. I went to my local Safeway to see if they had a fair trade option but I came up empty handed. So I was determined to see what was out there at some of the different merchants in my area. The experiment took about a month and covered a distance of over 200 miles. Continue reading