Five Ways To Fundraise This Valentine’s Day

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!

Sign up for your catalog fundraiser! 

Maple Berry Pie

Maple Berry Pie
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Maple Berry Pie

Course Dessert
Keyword Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tsp. Equal Exchange Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 c. pure amber maple syrup
  • 1 large egg or 2 small eggs
  • 1 package light cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. fresh or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. Equal Exchange Chilean Flame Raisins
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup additional

Instructions

Prepare the Crust

  1. Mix together the: ground flax, raisins, eggs and 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Oil your pie plate with the olive oil. Pour the crust mix into a small stoneware pie plate (8 inch diameter). Bake this crust in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cream Cheese Topping

  1. Whip together the cream cheese and the next round of maple syrup (1/4 cup). Now you have your Cream Cheese Topping. Set aside.
  2. Once the pie crust is done cooking, let it cool.

Creating the Pie

  1. Layer as such: crust, thick layer or heavy dollop of cream cheese mix, and cranberries on top.
  2. For an extra treat and added presentation, add a piece of Equal Exchange chocolate to the top!
  3. Refrigerate what has not been enjoyed that day!

Recipe Notes

Recipe submitted by Iris Miller

The Small Producer Symbol: What Does It Stand For?

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.

Find SPP coffee on our webstore

Fair Trade Coffee Liqueur

Glass of Coffee Liqueur
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Fair Trade Coffee Liqueur

Course Drinks
Keyword Coffee

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz. Equal Exchange Organic Coffee Beans course grind ¾ and leave ¼ as full bean
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa nibs
  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
  • 350 ml vodka
  • 100 ml brandy
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ c. raw cane sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the coffee beans/grounds, cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, vodka, and brandy in a mason jar. Let it sit in a dark corner of your counter or cupboard away from heat for 1 week, shaking every day or every time you think about it. At the end of one week, strain the mixture.
  2. Blend water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until just combined and the water no longer has sugar crystals in it. Cool completely. Mix coffee infusion with syrup and let age for at least 6 weeks before drinking. The longer it sits, the more the alcohol kick will mellow out and the coffee flavor will shine.
  3. Enjoy slowly in small cordial glasses.

Recipe Notes

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.

How To Place Your Fundraising Order

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:

 

Mushroom Crostini with Lemon Rosemary Cashew Cream

Mushoom crostini with cashew cream
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Mushroom Crostini with Lemon Rosemary Cashew Cream

Course Appetizer, Snack
Keyword Nuts, Olive Oil

Ingredients

Rosemary Lemon Cashew Cream:

Crostini:

  • 1 baguette sliced diagonally into ¼-½" slices
  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes, then drained
  • 8 oz. mini bella mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. restaurant blend mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Tbsp. Equal Exchange Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus more for drizzling
  • ½ tsp. ground thyme
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. red cooking wine

Instructions

  1. Begin with the Rosemary Lemon Cashew Cream. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Scoop cream into small dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400˚. Drizzle baguette slices with a small amount of the olive oil and place them on a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add mushrooms. Toss to coat with oil/garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and cooking wine; toss to coat. Cook for about 3 minutes longer, until mushrooms are tender and cooking wine has been absorbed.
  3. Top each toasted baguette slice with a spread of cashew cream and a rounded tablespoon of mushrooms. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from 86lemons

On Coffee Farmers And Thankfulness

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.

Bekah’s prayer: 
“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.
Amen .”

This Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll join us in sharing your appreciation for farmers around the world.

Decadent Rosemary Drinking Chocolate

Drinking chocolate with a sprig of rosemary
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Decadent Rosemary Drinking Chocolate

Course Dessert, Drinks
Keyword Chocolate, Cocoa
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add oat milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in chopped chocolate, salt, and rosemary sprigs and whisk to combine as the milk begins to come to a slow boil. Let it boil for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, and enjoy! To make this non-vegan, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream to the top.

Recipe Notes

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.

Ginger Chai Cupcakes

Ginger Chai Cupcakes and tea boxes
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Ginger Chai Cupcakes

Course Dessert
Keyword Tea

Ingredients

Ginger Cupcakes:

  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. candied ginger finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 3 bags Equal Exchange Organic Ginger Tea

Chai Cream Filling:

  • 1.5 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 bag Equal Exchange Organic Rooibos Chai
  • 2 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. spiced bourbon optional
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. arrowroot powder

Mascarpone Frosting:

  • 12 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Take the milk and microwave for 1 minutes 30 seconds, or bring to a simmer in a saucepan, then add the ginger tea bags and steep for at least 5-10 minutes. Whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss in the chopped candied ginger and use your fingers to separate the pieces stuck together and coat with flour so that you don’t get huge clumps of ginger.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter with an electric beater or use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat in one egg at a time making sure to combine it well with the butter and sugar before adding the next egg. Add the cardamom and beat for a few more seconds. Beat in a third of the flour followed by half of the milk tea. Then beat in another third of the flour, the last half of the milk and finally add the last of the flour. Beat until well combined. Using a 1/4 cup measure as a scoop, pour 1 scoop full into each section of the lined muffin pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cool completely on a rack before adding the filling and frosting.

Chai Filling:

  1. Heat the milk in the microwave for 20 seconds or bring to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stove. Add in the tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes. Strain. In a small bowl, beat together the mascarpone with the spices using an electric beater. Add the milk tea to the cheese and beat well. Add the bourbon and beat well. Beat in the powdered sugar and arrowroot powder. (The cream will be very loose.)
  2. Take a cooled cupcake, poke a small hole in the center, and pipe in the filling either using a pastry bag or a teaspoon.

Frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together both cheeses with an electric beater. Add in the vanilla, ginger and salt.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until all the powdered sugar is mixed in and the frosting is smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff. Fold them into the mascarpone frosting mixture until completely blended together.
  3. Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Idiaphile

Za’atar

Jar of za'atar with wooden scoop
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Za'atar

Course Side Dish, Snack
Keyword Olive Oil

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Stir together dry ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with bread and Equal Exchange Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.