Valentine’s Day always comes as a delightful break from winter doldrums for all ages, and at school, it offers a festive and easy fundraising opportunity. Here are a few ways to celebrate with your students and raise money for your next project!
1. Set up a fundraising table and sell boxes of our Chocolate Minis. These sweet treats are a delicious alternative to conventional chocolate, and a fun way to share your love for the environment, small farmers and your community!
2. Distribute personalized handmade valentines that feature fun facts about Fair Trade and why it matters. These can tell students where to find Fair Trade chocolate (hint: your fundraising table)! Some sample text for your cards: “We (heart) Fair Trade! Fair Trade means that farmers are paid a fair price, work together in democratic co-ops and can invest in their communities and their land. Be sweet! Choose Fair Trade.”
3. At your fundraising table, share our short and entertaining video about why Fair Trade chocolate matters. Kids will come for the yummy chocolate, and leave feeling good and more informed about where their chocolate comes from.
4. Sell individual Chocolate Minis. They’re bite-sized and individually wrapped, so you can sell them for pocket change — but it’ll add up fast toward your goal! You can also glue individual wrapped chocolates to paper hearts and offer to deliver them to your customer’s desired recipient.
5. Sell Fair Trade hot cocoa by the cup. It’s easy: just set up an urn of hot water, cups and one of our hot cocoa or hot chocolate mixes. It’s an instant sweet and warming treat that will be irresistible on a cold February day and bring in great profit for your group. This works especially well for after-school meetings or sports games.
How do you fundraise around Valentine’s Day? Share your idea in the comments!
Recipe submitted by Iris Miller
In the last year, you may have noticed a new logo on the package of your coffee: the Small Producer Symbol. The SPP (the acronym of the Spanish name, Simbolo de Pequeños Productores ) is a relatively new certification label that you can now find on many of our coffees and in stores nationwide.
Certification labels help us understand our food choices better, allowing us to make informed decisions about what businesses we want to support based on their practices. At first glance, the SPP symbol may seem like another logo in a sea of logos – but the movement behind it is unique and profound. The SPP is the first Fair Trade farmer-owned certification system, representing the emerging leadership of small farmers in global trade. In a world where certification systems have been defined and controlled by people in the global north, it’s exciting and important that farmers in Latin America are taking control and defining what a just trade system looks like to them.
The need for the SPP emerged as a response to changing Fair Trade certification standards, which have broadened to include coffee and cacao plantations. Many people find this move to be counter to the founding principles that focus on small-scale farmers, who have trouble competing with plantations on the conventional market. In response, the Coordinating Body of Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAC) began strategizing a way to keep Fair Trade fair for small farmers – and the SPP was born. The certification system is run by the nonprofit group the Foundation of Organized Small Producers (FUNDEPPO), who best understand the needs and goals of small farmers like themselves.
So what exactly does the Small Producer Symbol mean for farmers, and how are its standards different from other certifications? SPP standards are comprehensive, and include 50 criteria for small farmer member organizations, including maximum individual farm sizes and a maximum percentage of farm work performed by hired help. This means that plantations and large-scale operations are excluded from SPP certification. Buyers who use the SPP label, like Equal Exchange, must meet nearly three dozen criteria, including a minimum of five percent annual volume growth in program purchases. This means that buyers are committed to supporting the farmers of the SPP long-term. And most importantly, the SPP is run and governed by farmers themselves.
We’re proud and excited to support the Small Producer Symbol and the farmer-led movement it represents. We hope you’ll join us in supporting the SPP by spreading the word, seeking out the logo when you shop and choosing to brew the coffee that represents authentic Fair Trade.
You can also infuse this base coffee liqueur with other spices and flavors. For a spiced coffee, add 1 cinnamon stick and 1 tbsp cardamom pods to the beginning mixture to age for a week and strain as usual.
For an orange coffee liqueur, add the peel of half an orange taking care not to include the pith to the starting mixture to age for a week and strain as usual.
Congratulations on running a Fair Trade fundraiser with Equal Exchange! Now that the selling phase is over, it’s time to place your compiled order.
Need some help navigating the Master Order Form? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! This is the part of the fundraiser that requires the most attention to detail, but you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. We’re here to walk you through the process step-by-step, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it actually is!
Watch our video:
Recipe adapted from 86lemons
Every year, small groups of Equal Exchange worker-owners journey to Nicaragua to meet small-scale coffee producers and to experience what it feels like to pick coffee. The trip often evokes feelings of connection with the farmers and an appreciation for the hard work that they do.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving back in the United States, we’re remembering the gratitude that we felt in Nicaragua, and giving thanks for the people who help bring food our tables. Here are some journal excerpts that reflect feelings of gratitude from our delegation in January 2015.
From Rick, Midwest Warehouse Lead:
“Eight months later, the intense emotional experience of our delegation has sort of distilled to a deep thankfulness and overall reverence for those who toil to produce the products that we, as consumers, eat or drink without a thought. I definitely think a little harder now about the products that I buy and the stories behind them.”
From Bethany, Community Sales Events Coordinator:
“Emotions from my journey to the coffee farm in Nicaragua play back in my mind frequently. The feeling of fighting off my quickness to label something as unpleasant just because it wasn’t easy. My challenge to see the dirt under my fingernails as earth and life. Feelings of frustration with my lack of ability to communicate with limited Spanish but also pride that I was finally able to struggle through expressing my immense gratitude to my host family for their sincere hospitality and for the truly unique opportunity.”
From Sara, Copywriter and Content Coordinator:
“We spent hours picking coffee, climbing muddy slopes in the rain, reaching for red cherries beyond our fingertips, grasping branches for balance. At the end, the heavy basket tied around my waist was barely a quarter full. Wet and tired, I’d only picked enough to make a single cup of coffee. As I realized this, every taken-for-granted cup of coffee I’d ever had came back to me: every cup before work, every road trip pit stop, every exam cram session, every cup I brewed out of boredom, every coffee date, pumpkin spice latte, extra large iced coffee, and both complimentary cups on the flight to Nicaragua. Each one of those cups of coffee, immediately accessible, necessary and effortless for me, was the product of hours of work. And who is doing that work every day? It’s the farmers whose livelihoods rely on the success of their coffee trees. Farmers who innovate, invest all they have and struggle to grow their crop the hard way. Farmers who send their children to school in the city, and hope they come back with some new knowledge to carry them safely into an unpredictable future. Farmers who shared their homes and meals and stories with me that week in Dipilto. I can’t help but feel gratitude with every cup, reliving the memory of those mountains.”
One of the delegates, Bekah, was moved to write a prayer following our trip. She worked in the Equal Exchange Interfaith department for a few years and finally left to pursue her dream to become a Methodist minister. She’s currently a first year student in divinity school.
“God, bless the campesinos, the small-scale coffee farmers who spend all year working small, family-owned farms, with unpredictable harvests.
Renew their souls to so that they might carry on through the next harvest as their coffee fuels me through the next challenge in my life.
Help me remember that when I choose to buy the things that I need from fair trade companies, I’m investing in social projects like fresh water wells, educational materials, and organic agriculture projects.
Remind me every day that I do mission work simply by choosing the coffee that I drink.
This Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll join us in sharing your appreciation for farmers around the world.
Please note, this makes about 4-5 servings of drinking chocolate. Drinking chocolate is richer and heavier than hot chocolate and should only be drunk in smaller amounts. This recipe does not add additional sweetener as the brand of oat milk used was lightly sweetened, but if you wanted yours to be sweeter, add 1-2 tbsp cane sugar. This is also a great shot to add to fresh Equal Exchange coffee to make a rich mocha.
Other delicious flavor pairings via extracts, spices, and rinds to replace the rosemary: cinnamon & chipotle, orange, mint, coffee, nutmeg, coconut, almond.
Recipe adapted from Idiaphile