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Bethany Karbowski

Congregation Spotlight: Grandview United Methodist

Dorothy Killebrew is a member of  Grandview United Methodist Church in Lancaster, PA, one of Equal Exchange’s top faith based customers. Here is Dorothy‘s description of how her congregation connects with fair trade and social justice:

“Ours is a growing church with an average attendance about 250 members, with new members joining all of the time. This is because we’re an open and affirming Reconciling Congregation which makes people feel comfortable and safe. And whenever a new member joins we give them a gift of an Equal Exchange product whether it’s a box of tea, a bag of coffee, or a can of cocoa.  

We make it easy for people to access and purchase the Equal Exchange products throughout the week; they‘re available in a heavily-trafficked room where neighbors come to drop their kids off for Scouts or to participate in exercise classes. We also don’t seek to make a profit; we don’t jack up the price and use the products as a fundraiser. And we occasionally do things like Sunday school lessons and announcements to educate people about fair trade and the people it affects.

We also sell Equal Exchange products through an honor system where people can take the products they need and leave a check. Finally, as a member of a clergy choir in Central PA, I bring products once a month to display at every choir concert. What this means is that by May this year I will have taken a display to 26 different churches. My clergy colleagues always buy; but those attending the concert often purchase as well!”

Keep up the amazing work, Dorothy and friends!

 

To be featured in the Congregation Spotlight, please send a few paragraphs about how your congregation uses Equal Exchange products to promote justice. Don’t forget to include some photos, the higher the resolution the better!

Learn more about how you can sell Equal Exchange products in your congregation or community here>>

Image shows samples of Equal Exchange coffee, chocolate and tea.

 

Almond Butter Cups

Offer a snack that is vegan, paleo, gluten-free … and tastes decadent! You and your family can enjoy while feeling good about the ingredients you used and knowing how they were sourced!

Three chocolate almond cups on a plate next to a bag of fair trade chocolate chips.
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Almond Butter Cups

We like that these cups take very little time but fully satisfy your cravings for something chocolatey, sweet and crunchy. Plus, they’re made with organic, fairly traded ingredients!

Course Dessert, Snack
Keyword almond butter, Chocolate
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

Almond Butter Filling:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter (Make your own with Equal Exchange Almonds or use store-bought if you’re short on time.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup

Chocolate Mixture:

  • 10 oz. Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tablespoons melted organic coconut oil (We like Dr. Bronner’s because it’s fairly traded and whole kernel which gives it a nuttier flavor!)

Garnish:

Instructions

  1. Add almond butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a bowl. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pot of boiling water (but not touching the water) and stir until melted.

  3. Place paper cupcake lines inside the cups of a muffin tin. Add a tablespoon of melted chocolate to each cupcake liner. Use a spoon to work the chocolate up the sides of the liner. Place the whole muffin tin in the freezer for five minutes, until the chocolate hardens.

  4. Remove tin from the freezer and place one scoop of the almond butter mixture in the center of each chocolate filled cupcake liner.

  5. Top each filled cupcake liner with remaining chocolate until the almond butter is completely covered. Place two whole almonds on the top of each almond butter cup.

  6. Place the cups in the freezer for five more minutes to firm up.

  7. Remove from the freezer and garnish the tops with coarse sea salt if you’d like.
  8. Note: It’s recommended to store the cups in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. The airtight container ensures that the chocolate doesn’t absorb any other food smells and flavors that are also in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from JoyfulHealthyEats.com

Sharing + Saving = Buying Club

Buying clubs offer you the opportunity to make a real difference for small farmers around the world while paying less for your favorite organic and Fair Trade foods.  Order together and get staples like coffee, tea, chocolate, olive oil and more at low wholesale case prices. We’ll ship orders of $75 or more for free.

We’re not talking about ordering a pallet’s worth of coffee!  Although we do offer some bulk products, most products come 6 or 12 items in a case.  And you’re still welcome to purchase individual items at retail pricing too.

Buying clubs not only make financial sense and build community, they also minimize your environmental impact.  They help you use less packaging and achieve a lower carbon footprint by consolidating shipments. Buying clubs are also ideal for folks who don’t live near a natural foods store or food coop and want access to affordable, high quality, ethically sourced products. Ordering together also means a unique opportunity to try-out new products at a lower price than if you had to buy something individually off of the shelf.

Follow these 5 steps for a thriving buying club:

1.Gather your group

Reach out to

  • Family or friends
  • Members of your gardening club, book club, or social justice group
  • Neighbors
  • Co-workers

Pro Tip: Host a coffee or chocolate tasting when you introduce the idea of the buying club. Not only will it make it easier for folks to decide what to order, but we’ve found that once people taste the quality, they are likely to want a regular supply! Use these key talking points to get people on board.

2. Get organized 

Once you have a group together, select a coordinator and a treasurer.

The coordinator:

  • Takes individual orders from members and collects them into one group order
  • Places your group’s order with Equal Exchange
  • Distributes products to members or sets a pick up time and location after the products are delivered

The treasurer:

  • Collects payment from members
  • Pays Equal Exchange within 14 days of each order
  • Loves numbers and is organized

 

3. Plan an order

  • Visit shop.equalexchange.coop to see our full product range. You’ll see price options for an individual item and the discounted cost per case. Buying clubs must purchase a full case of  a particular product to qualify for wholesale pricing, although you are still welcome to purchase individual items at retail pricing as part of your order.
  • For your first order, we suggest limiting the range of orderable items to some of Equal Exchange’s most popular products, but for a larger selection you can print out our colorful product and price list for each member so they can see how many items are in each case and what the cost per item would be if there are enough orders to fill a case. Requiring pre-payment, at least on your first order, is a good way to make sure that the members of your buying club are serious about participating responsibly.
  • Equal Exchange’s best sellers include:

    Pro tips: Ordering 5-pound bulk bags of coffee to share? Order our tin-tie bags for easy  labeling and distribution. If your buying club is small, consider requiring that members purchase products in full or half-case quantities to minimize leftovers.

     

    4. Place the Order

    Gather individual orders from club members. Use our order form, or create your own that includes only the products your group orders.

    Pro Tip:  Order $75 worth of products to qualify for free shipping.

    Then, place your master order:

    You’ll pay in full at the time of your order, but if your group is interested in paying an invoice after receiving the shipment, Equal Exchange allows Net 14 payment terms. To apply for credit terms you’ll need to have one order pre-paid with a credit card then fill out our form agreeing you will pay within 14 days of receiving your order. Contact Customer Service at 774-776-7366 to find out more.

    5. Distribute, Enjoy and Reorder

    When products arrive at the designated pick-up location, have a consistent system for distribution. Collect payment when people pick up their orders, if you do not require members to pre-pay. A payment app like Venmo is an easy system to use. Enjoy your good deals, your good food, and place another order when you have critical mass.

    Pro tips: Why not make the pick-up time a chance to enjoy each other’s company? You could hold a chocolate tasting or taste-test newer product releases. Equal Exchange offers a rewards program where you can earn “beans” to be redeemed for things like discounts!

    If folks tend to want the same products regularly, we’re soon going to debut a subscription order program so buying club members don’t always have to remember to re-order. It can arrive at monthly or on your own time-line.

    You can even expand your buying club to include sharing larger quantities of products from local farms. Imagine the feeling of knowing where almost all of your food comes from and the farmers behind the food!

     

    Not sure buying clubs are for you?

    Read why Edith Stacey-Huber, who runs a successful buying club, chose to start one. Maybe you have some of the same goals?

“The first buying club I started was in the early ‘90s. That club was started out of financial necessity, and as I look back, I was motivated by my view of a monopolized grocery system. There were very few stores, thus the lack of competition didn’t evoke any savings to the consumer. I was also looking for organic food, real food, and there were only two small health food stores in the city.

Since my relatives were farmers it wasn’t outside the box for me to seek out food from farms. Seeing the commitment of our local organic farmers to grow food the way they do, some for years, barely making it, but still staying committed to what they know is right–I couldn’t turn a blind eye to that. I found a small natural foods distributor, gathered a few friends and the first club was born.

Once I started procuring food this way, there was no turning back.  The club model has changed over the years with the obliteration of small distributors, and my deeper awareness of food justice and buying local, but I was always either a key member, treasurer, coordinator, or founder of a club.

Our current club model has taken bolder steps to remove ourselves completely from the commercial food system. Personally, our family has a direct connection to our food and I would say 80 percent of the food we eat, we know who grew it or the source it comes from.

I think consumers have the potential to hold all of the power, if we organize, become diligent in our efforts and become truly informed voters and active in spearheading the changes we want to see.”

  • Edith Stacey-Huber is passionate about food. She is the creator of the food buying club Authentic Provisions just outside of Ann Arbor, Mich. Authentic Provisions aims to reconnect people in the community to the food, land and farmers who sustain them, through collective purchasing outside of the corporate food system. Her quote above has been excerpted from a longer interview with Edith  on our blog from May 2017.

Inspiration for your Holiday Sale Display

We collected some of our favorite creative, yet simple display ideas for Holiday Sales! Check them out on our Pinterest Board>> and view inspirational examples below.

Use Inexpensive & Attractive Display Materials 

A sparkling, lighted display draws in shoppers, using wooden crates to add height and extra shelving. We also offer chocolate and tea racks for purchase. Garlands can drape the front of your table. You can bring greenery and pine cones indoors for a gorgeous, natural and economical display. Burlap coffee bags make an eye-catching table cloth or backdrop that couldn’t be more relevant to the products you’re featuring! Order authentic burlap bags that were used to transport coffee beans to Equal Exchange for $2 each.

 

While you’re at it, why not add on some free promotional materials like posters, pamphlets, stickers and comic books for your table? We recommend promoting your sale early to drum up excitement. Putting up our holiday sale poster with your event details and getting the word out using our e-newsletter template is a great way to do this. We’ve also created a shareable photo collection. Pull holiday images to make your own promo materials.

 

Showcase Equal Exchange Products in Ready-to Gift Ways

Pre-assembled gift baskets full of fairly traded goodies for people who want gifts to grab and go. Offer a variety of price points to fit every budget. Themed baskets like a “Baker’s Basket” including chocolate chips, baking cocoa, olive oil and high cacao content chocolate bars make choosing gifts fun and easy.

 

Move over, wine! Suggest a bottle of organic, fairly traded Palestinian Olive Oil as a unique & meaningful gift.  Tea-towels or silk scarves from the thrift store make beautiful and reusable gift wrap.

Don’t forget to order our free gift tags that can be attached to the bottles to give the gift recipients more information about this very special olive oil!

 

 

Our chocolate minis packaging kit contains 35 acrylic bags that can be filled with 25 dark chocolate minis. Add holiday stickers and voila! We find that $8 a bag is a fair price that covers your costs with a bit extra left as profit. Recommend them to shoppers as the perfect “little something” for a teacher, mail-person or neighbor.

 

Sell Other Fair Trade Items that Coordinate with Equal Exchange Products 

Cappuccino ornament from Ten Thousand Villages

Serving trays, coffee mugs, and cup cozies from the Fair Trade organization Ten Thousand Villages complement coffee, tea and cocoa and make perfect add-ons at your sale table. If you want to include more crafts at your sale, Ten Thousand Villages has an extensive selection of Fair Trade garlands, ornaments and nativities that can be purchased at discounted prices for groups who want to offer crafts for sale at events on consignment.

 

Attract Customers and Increase Sales 

Break up a chocolate bar into bite-sized pieces and offer samples of flavors people may not have tried, like our wildly popular Lemon, Ginger and Black Pepper,  Panama Extra Dark 80% or Milk Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt. They won’t be able to resist picking up a few bars for themselves as well as for gifts!

Brew up a carafe of coffee or hot cocoa for samples. Equal Exchange has compostable 4oz size sample cups and airpot labels so folks know what they’re tasting and can buy it from your table. If samples aren’t in your budget, charge just enough to cover your costs (about $0.15 per cup on average ). You could even charge a little more and use this as a fundraiser for your group.

 

Did you know that our best seller, Organic Breakfast Blend coffee, is the perfect coffee to feature at your sale? It’s not only most popular… it’s also our lowest-priced coffee! Your group makes a profit while offering a high-quality, fairly traded coffee for less than what most stores charge. And buying Equal Exchange coffee helps small-scale farmers stay on their land, supports your own organization and members get delicious coffee at a great price. What shopper could pass that up?

 

 DIY Gift Ideas 

Feeling crafty? Fill tin-tie bags with whole bean coffee from bulk 5lb bags and decorate the bags with stickers and markers. Tie chocolate bars with ribbon and sell them as a bundle with a price incentive like 5 for $15. You’ll sell more and customers have an instant gift.

Try your hand at creating a bunch of “tea-trees” with green and peppermint tea bags for fun gifts that also double as display! Or pre-assemble the ingredients needed to make Fair Trade brownies or cookies in mason jars and include the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love to bake? Offer treats made with Equal Exchange products for sale. Browse recipes made with fairly traded, organic ingredients like chocolate caramel pecan pie!

 

Learn more: Holiday Sale Tips>> and ideas for making Fair Trade gift baskets >> 

Share your displays with us!

Tag @equalexchange on Facebook or Instagram  when you post your photos.

How to Talk about Fair Trade

October is Fair Trade Month and there’s no better time to let people know why they should support Equal Exchange, a pioneer in the Fair Trade food and beverage industry in the United States. But, what do you say if people ask tough questions?  We’ve put together some talking points to help you explain why everyone should support authentic Fair Trade this month and all year long.

“I like my *insert non-Fair Trade brand product here*. Why should I switch to Equal Exchange?”

Fair Trade products from committed brands are better for farmers, better for the environment and better for ourselves. A small change, like choosing fairly traded, organic products has a real and meaningful impact in all three areas. If you want to promote social justice, environmental sustainability and fair trading relationships, buying from Equal Exchange is way to connect your values with your actions as a consumer without sacrificing taste or quality.

Introduce Equal Exchange with this 2 minute video: Who We Are and What We Believe In or put up  this colorful display sign in your office, school or place of worship to inspire others to make a change.

“Are Fair Trade products really that different from non-Fair Trade products?”

Fair Trade is a way of doing business that aims to keep small-scale farmers an active part of the world marketplace. It’s not charity – it’s a sustainable and alternative trading model that helps producers make a viable living and stay on their own land while advancing many economic, social and environmental goals. Long-term trading relationships mean income that farmers can count on, year after year. When you buy a fairly traded product from Equal Exchange you know that a stable price was paid to farmers, significantly higher than the fluctuating market price.

 By choosing Fair Trade products, you’re supporting a different kind of business model. One that is based on dignity and transparency. One without forced child labor that is not focused on profit-maximizing at the expense of others in the supply chain. Fair Trade premiums allow farming communities to decide collectively which development projects they want to use the money on, like improving access to clean water and education.  Small changes we as consumers can make regarding what we choose to buy make a real impact on the quality of the lives of producers and their families. Read a more about Fair Trade principles here.

“Do Fair Trade products cost more?”

Often Fair Trade products cost about as much as other organic and specialty-grade products of similar quality. At local farmers markets in the US, many people are willing to pay prices that reflect the hard work of small-scale farmers because they know the care that their community members put into the organic cultivation of food on their farms.  It makes sense that local farmers should make more than what it costs them to grow a product, so, the same concept should apply to products like coffee, cacao and tea that aren’t grown locally, right?

We believe a shift in perception of value needs to take place in the marketplace before Fair Trade products become the norm. Equal Exchange has been dedicated to creating an alternative trading model since 1986 and we are committed to continuing to build this movement. To help make fairly traded products affordable for everyone, we offer wholesale pricing to faith-based groups, non-profits, offices, buying clubs and schools so they can access high-quality and fairly traded products for serving and fundraising. Read more a more in-depth answer to this question here>>

“Where does the money I pay go?”

Traditional supply chains have many middle men that take a large percentage, but buying from Equal Exchange, who trades directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives, ensures that that more of the money you spend on coffee and our other products reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow them.  In fact, by the time you purchase from Equal Exchange, the farmers have already been paid and received pre-harvest financing so they can pay for expenses when they need the money. A fairly traded product also means that the producer has received a guaranteed minimum price for their harvest, regardless of the highs and lows of the commodities market. When the market prices are low, the price a farmer gets for their coffee harvest often doesn’t even cover the cost of production. When the market price is high, Fair Trade premiums paid to farmers increase even higher.

Farmers in the Fair Trade system get additional premiums paid to their cooperatives because they farm organically. These premiums go towards projects that their communities choose to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Access to clean water, education, and healthcare are basic human rights we all deserve and Fair Trade purchases contribute directly toward that advancement.

“Where do the products come from and who grows them?”

At the heart of Equal Exchange’s story is our relationship with small farmers. We work directly with over 40 small farmer cooperatives in 25 countries in South American, Latin America, Africa, and Asia to bring you high quality, organic products grown with care by people who take pride in their harvests. There are a variety of videos to share as well as different educational resources, including cooperative profiles, on our website

“I see similar products with Fair Trade labels at stores. How is buying from Equal Exchange different?”

There’s a big difference! Equal Exchange has been fighting for market access for small-scale farmers from the moment we were founded. We’re a worker-owned cooperative whose mission is tied to building a just food system where consumers have choices and feel connected to the people in the supply chains. And Equal Exchange works only with other democratically-organized farmer groups. When you buy from one of the corporate big guys you might ask yourself these questions regarding whom you’re supporting.  Are 100% of the products they offer fairly traded? Are economic justice for producers and transparency for consumers among the top priorities for the CEO and shareholders?  Equal Exchange operates independently with a more democratic business model.

Another difference is quality and freshness! Did you know Equal Exchange expertly roasts our own organic coffee in Massachusetts daily with a team of quality control professionals? Each batch of coffee is “cupped” to make sure it meets the consistent and high quality standards we set for our coffees. We seal in the freshness on each package so it arrives directly from us to your door super fresh and delicious! Take a peek inside our roastery in this video.

And Equal Exchange partners with many relief, development and social justice organizations. Learn more about these partnerships here.

“What does Equal Exchange think about current controversies surrounding Fair Trade?”

We believe Fair Trade is one tool of many that are needed to build power and more equity for small-scale farmer cooperatives around the world.  The biggest problem from our vantage point has been the corporate takeover of Fair Trade.  Certifiers invited big players into a system designed for and by small farmers and permitted them to weaken it to meet their needs.  Equal Exchange continues to stay the course we initially charted to promote authentic Fair Trade that is in line with our mission.

“I’m committed to living a more Fair Trade lifestyle. What else can I do?”

There’s a great variety of choices in fairly traded and high quality apparel, body care, crafts and home goods and food from committed brands.  

And if you’re interested in going deeper on food justice issues we invite you to join Equal Exchange’s Action Forum.

 

Have other questions come up? We want to answer them! Post them right here in the comments or

Explore more Fair Trade FAQs from Equal Exchange >>

Read Fair Trade Fact sheet from the Fair World Project >>

 

Stay up-to-date with Fair Trade news by signing up for Equal Exchange’s biweekly newsletter.

By providing Equal Exchange with your email, you’re giving us permission to communicate with you electronically. Read our Privacy Policy for more details.

 

Pop-Up Fair Trade Stores on Campus

College campuses are full of change-makers and activists like you, making them the perfect locations for hosting successful Fair Trade sales. A pop-up store on campus can be a fundraising opportunity for departments and clubs, or just a great way to raise awareness about socially responsible consumerism.

Get inspired to host your own sale by two schools that recently hosted campus sales, Manhattan College and Bryant University.

Equal Exchange Coffee = Fair Trade Fuel!

At Manhattan College in New York, the School of Business teamed up with Campus Ministry and Social Action for a Fair Trade pop-up store on campus during Christmastime. Manhattan College was the first Fair Trade Certified College in New York City, which means they must carry a certain number of items in their cafeterias and in their bookstore that were produced by farmers and artisans who receive fair wages and can perform their duties in a safe working environment. Aileen Farrelly, assistant professor and assistant dean in the School of Business, said, “Fair Trade embodies our Lasallian values, is critical to the College’s mission, and using fair trade products to launch this project helped our students learn about all aspects of running a business.” The pop-up store was called Fair Trade Fuel and students were responsible for accounting and financing, marketing and publicity.  They sold chocolate, crafts, and clothing to their campus community over the course of three days. It was so successful that they held another sale around Valentine’s Day, selling Fair Trade chocolate and flowers. 

Social Change Marketplace. Photo courtesy of Bryant University.

Bryant University in Rhode Island is becoming known for their Social Change Marketplace, the first student-run program of its kind in the country. Local social enterprises are invited each year to participate as vendors selling their products on campus for a day in December. The pop-up holiday marketplace encourages conscious consumerism during the gift-giving season, and all products featured have a positive social impact. Companies each have their own table set up and talk with students about what makes their products special. Check out their market compilation video from 2017. The popularity of the Marketplace on campus inspired a corporate event at Fidelity Investments and the student organizers shared their successes at the Campus Compact National Conference where colleges and universities gather to build democracy through community development. 

Equal Exchange is an ideal partner for groups who are interested in hosting similar pop-up sales. We offer discounted wholesale pricing to organizations that want to sell organic coffee (in packages or freshly brewed at a coffee kiosk), tea, chocolate bars, olive oil and cocoa. You choose cases of what you want to sell, then mark up the products at prices that help you reach your fundraising goals or just covers your costs and promotes Fair Trade.  We can offer best selling product suggestions, pricing recommendations, and promotional materials to help make your sale a success. Our customer service team is available M-F 9-5 Eastern at 774-776-7366 to help.

Here are our top tips for planning a pop-up sale on campus:

1- Plan early: For a November or December sale, start planning in October so you can reserve a location with lots of foot traffic and coordinate with vendors or wholesalers. Choose a date or a series of dates when people are most likely to shop.  If planning a sale seems intimidating, start small by reserving a table at an existing gift fair. You’ll benefit from the excitement that’s already there.

Photo courtesy of Bryant University.

2- Recruit a strong team: Find volunteers who are interested in social justice but also look for helpers who are studying finances, accounting, sales and marketing. Put a call out for help on Facebook and at the school’s Volunteer or Ministries fair.  Professors are also great mentors to help guide you.

3-Add in multiple vendors and brands: Many other Fair Trade brands offer similar wholesale arrangements for event sales so you can have a variety of products for shoppers to choose from – find them here.

4- Invite the community: Opening up the sale to the public, if you’re able to, is a good way to increase foot traffic. Promote the sale on campus radio, social media, the school newspaper, and get it in the local media too. Doing interviews and explaining why this sale is special will draw shoppers who are looking for unique gifts that are also doing good in the world.

5-Align your sale with activism-focused events: Some of the best and most effective Fair Trade sales happen during Fair Trade Month in October, World Fair Trade Day in May, and Earth Day in April because they capitalize on existing publicity around social, economic and environmental justice.


We’ve got more ideas for Fair Trade events and fundraisers that work great for campus groups!

Ready to get started? Sign your organization up for a Wholesale account to order products at special prices.

Why Switch to Fair Trade, Organic Coffee?

How can you get your group to start using Equal Exchange’s organic, fairly traded coffee?

Based on the questions that come up most often, here are talking points to help energize them to take action.

“Why should we switch our coffee?”

Equal Exchange coffee is better for farmers, better for the environment and better for ourselves. A small change, like a commitment to using fairly traded, organic coffee has a real and meaningful impact in all three areas. If your members want to promote social justice, environmental sustainability and fair trading relationships, Equal Exchange offers an affordable way to connect your values with your actions without sacrificing taste and quality. Share this colorful display sign with your group.

“Why Equal Exchange instead of a different brand?”

Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative started in 1986 with a mission to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate the contribution of worker cooperatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world. Is your current coffee company 100% dedicated to doing the same?

Equal Exchange offers organic, ethically sourced products that you can find in natural grocery stores and cafes, but we offer discounted wholesale pricing to faith-based groups, non-profits, offices and schools so you can access affordable, high-quality and fairly traded products for serving and fundraising. Buying from Equal Exchange, who trades directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives, ensures that more of the money you spend on coffee and other products reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow them.  Introduce Equal Exchange’s mission with this 2 minute video

“Is Fair Trade coffee really that different from non-Fair Trade coffee?”

Fair Trade is a way of doing business that aims to keep small farmers an active part of the world marketplace. It’s not charity – it’s a sustainable and alternative trading model that helps producers make a viable living and stay on their own land while advancing many economic, social and environmental goals. Long-term trading relationships mean income that farmers can count on, year after year. When you buy a fairly traded product it means that a stable price was paid to farmers, significantly higher than the fluctuating market price. By choosing Fair Trade coffee, you’re supporting a different kind of business model, one without forced child labor and one that is based on dignity and transparency. Fair Trade premiums allow farming communities to collectively decide which development projects they want to use the money on, like improving access to clean water and education.  Small changes we can make surrounding what we choose to consume make a real impact on the quality of the lives of the producers and their families. Read a more in-depth explanation of Fair Trade principles here.

“Does it matter if coffee is organic?”

Conventional agricultural products are steeped in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Not only does the environment suffer from this overload, but so do the people who live and work nearby. Equal Exchange products are certified organic and produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides. Many people don’t want to put foods grown with pesticides into their bodies and have concerns for the safety of the farmers and for the future of our planet.   For more information, read our blog posts on conventional vs organic coffee.

“I see other Fair Trade coffees at stores. How is buying from Equal Exchange different?”

There’s a big difference! Equal Exchange has been fighting for market access for small-scale farmers from the moment we were founded. We’re a worker-owned cooperative whose mission is tied to building a just food system where consumers have choices and feel connected to the people in the supply chains. And Equal Exchange works only with other democratically-organized farmer cooperatives. Buying coffee from one of the big guys means supporting a corporation that may have a few Fair Trade products but isn’t 100% dedicated to Fair Trade like Equal Exchange is.  

Another difference is quality and freshness! Did you know Equal Exchange expertly roasts our own organic coffee in Massachusetts daily with a team of quality control professionals? Each batch of coffee is “cupped” to make sure it meets the consistent and high quality standards we set for our coffees. We seal in the freshness on each package so it arrives directly from us to your door super fresh and delicious! Take a peek inside our roastery in this video.

And Equal Exchange partners with many faith-based relief, development and social justice organizations. Learn more about these special partnerships here.

“Can we afford Equal Exchange coffee?”

Have our wholesale price list on hand to answer this question directly. Do folks know what they pay per cup of coffee from your current coffee provider?  Many of Equal Exchange’s coffee options work out be $0.10 per brewed cup. You won’t find specialty grade, organic, fairly traded coffee for less. Some groups afford it by collecting spare change near the coffee pot or by doing a sale of EE products like chocolate and snacks, marking up the costs slightly, and using the profits to cover the cost of their coffee.

“How does it taste?”

We recommend sharing samples to let the coffee do the talking for you!  We’ve heard that this is one of the most effective way to get the whole group on board. By trying samples, folks can experience firsthand the incredible quality and delicious taste of our products. Buy a few single bags of our coffee or order our discounted Organic Foods Variety Pack and let the decision-makers taste coffee, tea, and chocolate for themselves. Hold a taste-test event with darker and lighter roasts to see what people like best before you buy a full case.  We think our products are all mouth-watering, but read reviews from our customers to see which coffees are most popular.

“Does Fair Trade coffee cost more?”

In most cases Fair Trade products are priced closely to similar high-quality products. At local farmers markets in the US, many people are willing to pay prices that reflect the hard work of small-scale farmers because they know the care that their community members put into the organic cultivation of food on their farms.  It makes sense to people that local farmers should make more than what it costs them to grow a product, so, the same concept should apply to products that aren’t grown locally, right? If you’re paying really cheap price for coffee or any other labor-intensive product, there’s a good chance that someone in the supply chain is being exploited. 

We believe a shift in perception of value needs to take place in the marketplace. Equal Exchange has been dedicated to creating an alternative trading model since 1986 and we are committed to continuing to build this movement.

“Where does the money we pay go?” 

In traditional supply chains, middle men take the lion’s share of the profits.  In Equal Exchange’s case, we ensure that more of the money you pay goes to the farmers because we trade directly with the farmer cooperatives. They are the ones doing the hardest work and taking most of the risk, after all! Actually, by the time you purchase from Equal Exchange, the farmers have already been paid and given pre-harvest financing so they can pay expenses well before products reach the US.A fairly traded product means that the producer has received a guaranteed minimum price for their coffee, regardless of the highs and lows of the commodities market. When the market prices are low, the price a farmer gets for their coffee harvest often doesn’t even cover the cost of production. When the market price is high, Fair Trade premiums paid to farmers increase even higher. Farmers in the Fair Trade system even get additional premiums paid to their cooperatives because they sell organic products. These premiums go towards projects that the farming communities choose to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Access to clean water, education, and healthcare are basic human rights everyone deserves. 

“Where does Equal Exchange’s coffee come from and who grows it?”

At the heart of Equal Exchange’s story is our relationship with small farmers. We work directly with over 40 small farmer co-operatives in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to bring you high quality, organic coffee.  We have a variety of videos to share as well as different educational resources like farmer stories on our website.

Don’t like mayo? Try Za’atar Potato Salad!

Anticipating of the arrival of the Palestinian Farmer’s Box later this summer, we were excited to try this flavorful za’atar potato salad. It’s a zesty alternative to traditional mayo-heavy potato salads, made with za’atar, a savory Middle Eastern spice mix of fragrant thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. We added our special Palestinian Olive Oil to the recipe.

5 from 2 votes
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Za'atar Potato Salad

This easy-to-prepare salad did not disappoint. And it looked positively beautiful before we dove into it! It's perfect for vegans. It’s also dairy- and gluten-free.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword potato, za'atar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cider or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse mustard
  • 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon za’atar, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • ¼ cup scallions, minced

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook until just fork tender. Drain potatoes into a colander, allowing the steam to evaporate for 5–10 minutes.
  2. Next, combine the next 7 ingredients into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk to make an emulsion.
  3. Finally, add potatoes along with the remaining ingredients and stir to blend, coating the potatoes in the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with za’atar.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from “The Local Palate” recipe by Matt Moore.

A glass bowl of mayo-free potato salad with a bottle of fair trade olive oil and za'atar spices.

 

Hungry? Read more picnic recipes!

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Are your Values Skipping Coffee Hour?

You’re part of a social justice-minded congregation.  You’re always educating people about the importance of buying coffee that is ethically sourced, accounting for the hard work and risks that small-scale farmers take to produce Organic, high-quality coffee and support their families.

So why is your congregation still brewing coffee from the big plastic tub after services? Or maybe they serve another fair trade certified coffee from one of the big-box stores, because it’s convenient to pick it up when they buy other supplies.  They may not realize that they’re also supporting a corporation that isn’t 100% dedicated to changing our food system and that the non-Organic coffee is grown using synthetic chemicals and pesticides.

We want to help you make a better choice.

Shop Organic Breakfast Blend >>

We’ve just made it easier than ever before to make the jump and become a fully-committed congregation that only serves Organic, fairly traded coffee every week.  If there were cost barriers that prevented your group from supporting Fair Trade in the past, you can serve our 12oz Organic Breakfast Blend, (our most popular blend!) for only $0.10 a cup!  It’s possible to have affordable, high quality coffee — along with peace of mind — because you’re helping farming families stay on their own land, educate their children, and improve their quality of life.

If you already serve our coffee on occasion, now you can serve it more often. Coffee that matches your values belongs at every gathering!

 

Free resources to promote the flavor of justice in your cup:

Reusable Airpot Labels tell your congregation that they’re drinking organic, fairly traded coffee. Stick them front and center on your coffee pot or carafe. We even have specific Breakfast Blend Airpot Labels!

Our Coffee Hour Poster says, “it’s not just coffee, it’s solidarity.” Use this colorful double-sided poster to announce to members and guests that your church has proudly made the commitment to serving 100% fairly-traded products!

Table Signs  give you multiple opportunities to show that you serve coffee from small-scale farmers and it changes lives. You can even put them next to the coffee pot to advertise that you offer bags of this delicious coffee for sale too!

Message the change using our customizable e- bulletin announcement or paper bulletin insert.

Show or share short videos that explain why fair trade matters.

 

serving Equal Exchange coffee at coffee hour

 

 

You don’t just have to take our word for it. Read why Bethesda Lutheran Church serves Equal Exchange coffee and how they’ve made it work well for everyone, here on our blog.

Keep the switch simple with these five tips for serving fairer coffee.

 

 

Small Farmer Fund Project Updates

Did you know that your purchases support projects that help level the playing field for small-scale farmers?

Equal Exchange allocates a portion of sales from over 7,000 participating congregations to the relief, development and human rights organizations that make up our Interfaith Partner groups.

Here are just a few projects that some of our Partners worked on in 2017 that were funded in part by your purchases.

 

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Photo courtesy of the Franklinton Center at Bricks

UCC Fair Trade Project Small Farmer Fund contributions supported the Just Food Project at the UCC Franklinton Center at Bricks. A former slave plantation in Whitakers, North Carolina, today, it is a conference, retreat, and educational facility focusing on justice advocacy and leadership development.This project supports a farmers market held at FCAB where local small farmers sell their produce and local residents purchase affordable fresh vegetables and fruits. FCAB is located in eastern North Carolina in an area where many people are in poor health, experience food insecurity, and have poor access to healthy foods. The Small Farm Project is part of a comprehensive approach to community economic development, environmental education, social justice, and health.”

More information about the project can be found here

 

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Photo courtesy of UUSC

“Small Farmer Funds from the UUSC Fair Trade Project benefit Fundación Entre Mujeres (Foundation Amongst Women) or “FEM”, a women’s NGO and social movement that was founded in 1995 in Estelí, Nicaragua. The organization’s members are feminist women leaders from rural communities. FEM’s mission is to promote the empowerment of rural women through a variety of projects, such as advancing economic independence through land rights and food sovereignty, preventing violence against women, and promoting literacy. The project is designed to support FEM’s efforts to advance the economic independence of rural women through economic assistance and technical assistance for agroecology projects. Through the agroecology projects, the rural women grow basic grains, coffee, Rose of Jamaica, and will engage in beekeeping.”

 For more information about projects UUSC is working on, visit The Good Buy blog

Presbyterian Hunger Program, Enough for Everyone

Photo courtesy of Presbyterian Church USA, Hunger Program

“The project at the Amrita Bhoomi Center in India was funded in part by PCUSA Coffee Project Small Farmer Fund contributions. The project carries out various training programs on agroecology, including practical farming techniques, seed saving, value addition of produce for improved income and plants to grow to combat malnutrition. It is focused especially on farmer-to-farmer training where successful farmers will share their experiences and resolve problems of new trainee farmers. This methodology is important to build the capacity of farmers themselves — for farmers, seeing is believing. This is also important because farmers need training on agro-ecological techniques to implement them on their farms in a viable manner. The project built a seed savers network linking up existing seed expert seed savers and collecting and conserving their seeds both in situ (on farms) as well as ex situ (in a seed bank) for distribution to farmers. This is important to make farmer saved seeds accessible to all and future generations. The project will also construct a peasant’s seed bank for the conservation of native seeds, which will be distributed to farmers.”

You can find out more about PHP’s work here

Catholic Relief Services 

Photo Courtesy of Catholic Relief Services

“Catholic Relief Services uses donations from partners to invest in cooperatives around the world. Recently funded projects include: Improving soil, water and production practices for members of CEPCO, a fair trade coffee cooperative in Oaxaca Mexico, which is a long time Equal Exchange trading partner. Through the creation of 5 demonstration plots and farmer field schools farmers are learning how to protect local watersheds from coffee waste water and increase soil fertility to increase yields. Additionally 40 vulnerable cooperative members not eligible for government funds for coffee leaf rust renovation were provided rust resistant varieties in order to replace plants lost to coffee leaf rust. Partner funds have also been used for: investing in raw materials for women members of a basket weaving cooperative in Ghana; providing technical assistance to Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society; assistance to a delegation of organic fair trade cotton farmers from Burkina Faso to attend an international textile conference; assistance for labor rights delegates for a gathering of representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the US, and Canada in Mexico City.” Read more about CRS Ethical Trade programs here 

Click here to learn more about our Interfaith Partnerships and the projects associated with Small Farmer Funds

Your Stories: Highlights of 2017

We’re extremely proud of the work that our customers are doing to advance food justice, environmental sustainability and human rights in their communities and around the world. These highlights from 2017 were shared by some of our dedicated supporters.

Patty Sanders, Hunger Action Enabler, Presbytery of the Redwoods in Northern California    “The Pedal for Protein bike ride raises funds for often-lacking protein food at local Northern California food pantries. The 4th annual September ride was a 6 day ride traversing the coast, redwoods and wine country in Northern California, concluding in Santa Rosa with a one day ride for riders of all abilities and 59 eager riders. This year we raised over $45,000, all donated to food banks for free, healthy protein for food pantries. Many of our pantries are in rural areas of Northern California and many other areas devastated by the October wildfires. We also fund a international grant through the  Presbyterian Hunger Program for a hunger justice project. Equal Exchange donated to our rider “swag bag” and provided our host churches with coffee, tea and chocolate. We also sell Equal Exchange coffee, tea and chocolate at our Pedal for Protein promotion Sundays all summer, at Presbytery meetings and Holiday Fair Trade Fairs at local churches.”

Sara Pirtle, Student Alliance for Global Health at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE    “Our Student Alliance for Global Health has been selling Equal Exchange products since 2001! We use the sale proceeds to help support our annual medical service trips to Nicaragua, Jamaica, and a Native American reservation. In May we took a service trip to Nicaragua. The accompanying photo is of two of our physical therapy students working with a handicapped child at an orphanage, under the supervision of the orphanage’s physical therapist. Our students appreciate, and so do our customers, that our fundraiser helps empower small farmers and growers’ cooperatives and also supports our efforts to improve healthcare in impoverished communities while providing valuable cross-cultural training to our students. A win-win for everyone.”

Paula Rosenberg, The Women’s Club of Albany, NY    “In January, The Women’s Club of Albany was delighted to have Equal Exchange chocolates to accompany Ellen Messer’s excellent discussion of “The Culinary and Cultural History of Chocolate.” Ellen skillfully guided the audience on how to bite, savor, taste, smell, and evaluate the components of each of the chocolates provided. For many, this was their first experience in realizing the complexities of various chocolates. Ellen’s presentation was also the first time many had heard about the history, process, and socio-political consequences of chocolate production. I believe there was a good shift among many to understand what they can do to support fair and humanitarian farming and trade.”

JenJoy Roybal is an artist living in Brooklyn and does communications for Episcopal Relief & Development      “Last February I took a trip to Nicaragua with Equal Exchange ​led by​ the Unitarian Universalist  College of Social Justice.​ Our delegation met with a number of groups including the all-women’s cooperative FEM in Esteli and Palacaguina. We had a chance to do a  home stay with the Cooperativo Zacarias Padilla in the mountainous village of Quibuto, one of many small farmer groups rolling their harvest up into what becomes Equal Exchange coffee. I always look out for the fair trade label on products and make an effort to support commerce that is holistic and just, but seeing a label and believing intentions is far from actually following the winding journey it takes to embody those intentions and coming to an understanding of what it truly entails. I learned that despite the many complexities involved in pursuit of this vision, that Equal Exchange is committed to fair trade on every level.”

Amy Meredith, Clinical Professor in Speech and Hearing Sciences for Washington State University, Spokane, WA     “I’ve been selling Equal Exchange products to raise money for the speech therapy materials we brought to Guatemala to provide rehabilitation services. We raised about $3,000 selling fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, which has allowed us to buy Spanish children’s books, special feeding spoons and cups, Guatemalan sign language books, low tech alternative augmentative communication tools, assessment materials, and many other items that help communication, cognition, and feeding. We see children and adults with a variety of disorders, such as autism, developmental delay, aphasia, apraxia, dysphagia, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and cleft lip and palate. This photo is of a mom we worked with who has severe cleft lip and palate. Although the surgeons repaired her palate, she will not have good speech due to the age of repair and the inability to correct her jaw position. Hence, her speech is quiet and a lot of air comes out of her nose. Her husband is elderly with severe hearing loss. Our solution was to make her a picture communication book, since she is illiterate, and a Guatemalan sign language book, that we customized with pictures, so that reading the words for each sign would not be an issue. We love the people we serve. They feed our souls.”

Claudia Moore, West Highlands UMC, Kennewick, WA     “This year we ordered our first shipment of Equal Exchange products for our church. I chair the Missions Committee at West Highlands United Methodist Church. We were given a $5,000 gift from the death of a member. We didn’t want to just “use” the money and have it gone, so we decided to make the gift sustainable and multifaceted by supporting farmers and workers through Fair Trade and Equal Exchange, educate our church members and be able to continue that process with each item we sell and replenish. Our congregation is really enjoying the Equal Exchange products. We look forward to expanding our sharing.” 

 

Fair Trade and Faith

Equal Exchange’s interfaith program highlights the connections between faith and Fair Trade in social-justice driven congregations around the country. We asked program participants from faith-based groups to share what drives them to support small-scale farmers and describe how their Fair Trade programs impact their own community at the same time. Read on to learn more about these inspiring organizers and communities!

Gary Estep, Trinity United Methodist in Chico, CA

“We at Trinity United Methodist Church have been selling Equal Exchange coffee, tea and chocolate for several years now. Since UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) is associated with Equal Exchange, it was a natural fit for us.

Profits generated from our sales support our outreach program to assist those in the community who are transitioning from homelessness to under a roof. We have helped two single moms who found themselves homeless, at no fault of their own, and a young woman who had been living in a shelter but wanted to enroll in college. She needed $500 to move into a dorm at the college and we were able to give that to her.

We’re also donating to a local shelter for teens and young adults who have found themselves homeless because of difficult home situations and inability to find employment sufficient to meet their needs. We accumulated over $1,000 over the past several years and are so pleased that we have been able to make a difference for these individuals in our community. Besides, the products are wonderful and our church members appreciate the quality we can offer them through Equal Exchange participation.”

Nancy Hoatson, Hershey United Methodist Church, Hershey, Nebraska

“I have been using Equal Exchange products since 2004, when I went to a church conference and started purchasing them there. In 2008 I went to a conference workshop that was about setting up Equal Exchange sales in your hometown church. At the time, we were planning a mission trip to Africa and so I set up a Mission Store and stocked coffee, tea, dried fruits, and chocolate. I marked up the items a tiny bit and the profits went to our Mission Fund. For several years after the African mission we have supported African children’s education with the profits from the Mission Store and now, for the last 4 years, we have supported Imagine No Malaria with our Fair Trade sale profits.

I especially enjoy using the tea, coffee and chocolate, and so does my congregation. Many use them for special meaningful gifts. I’ve presented in area churches educating others on the mission of Equal Exchange, as fairly traded products help individuals, families and communities develop schools and medical care for entire villages.”

Jeanette Ruyle of UU Society of Grafton and Upton, Grafton, MA

“The Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton in Grafton, MA, has been purchasing Equal Exchange Fair Trade coffee for at least the past ten years to serve at our Sunday social hour. Not only is it delicious, buying Fair Trade coffee is a simple way for congregants to practice social justice. Our Unitarian Universalist principles include working toward the goal of peace, liberty, and justice for all.

Seven years ago, our religious education program for children started hosting a Fair Trade sale table at our annual town winter holidays fair. The children learn what “Fair Trade” means, particularly in regards to Fair Trade chocolate. They hear that people can be social justice activists by the way they decide to purchase goods such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and more. Even if children cannot buy these things themselves, they can be aware of what is happening and they can actually teach their parents and family members! As we have kept up this effort, it is gratifying to see older children who have been with us for a while explain Fair Trade to the younger ones and why we are doing what we do.”

Molly Zeff, Brooklyn, NY

Molly, pictured left, worked at Equal Exchange from 2010 to 2014 before moving on to study social enterprise/nonprofit management in an MBA program.

“What would your life be like if you got to work at a job every day that reflected your religion’s deeply held values? I had the opportunity to experience that perfect match while working in Community Sales at Equal Exchange, where the Fair Trade mission offered a way to act upon Jewish values.

The main value I’m referring to comes from one of Judaism’s greatest sages, Maimonedes: the highest level of tzedekah – often translated as “charity” but from the root word “tzedek” (justice) – is to give someone a gift or interest-free loan; enter into a business partnership; or find the person a job, so that they are not dependent upon charity. This teaching from Hebrew School helped guide my career search: although I knew from age 14 that I wanted to work on poverty, there are countless ways to do so, and my religious background taught me to focus on economic empowerment. Through working with congregations that sell and serve fairly traded products, I found a powerful way to pursue that path.

I’m a new member of three lay-led Jewish communities in Brooklyn, NY, and the buying club I’m starting will span multiple Jewish communities. I’m excited to introduce new and old friends to Equal Exchange!”

 

Stephanie Line of First Christian Church, Galesburg, IL

“Our church has a long-time relationship with the Democratic Republic of Congo and our sister church in Mbandaka, DRC. Our goal is to support New City Church of Mbandaka and their ministries. What a blessing Equal Exchange Congo Coffee has been to our efforts!

Once a month, we serve Congo Coffee at our Fellowship Time. The love offering taken becomes part of the funds sent to our sister church to support micro-credit education for women, school uniform/supply programs, livestock projects and clean water/well construction. The ripple effect of serving Equal Exchange coffee is amazing! Purchasing Organic Congo Coffee benefits Panzi Hospital, Fair Trade farmers, Disciples of Christ: Week of Compassion and New City church of the DRC.

We are proud to say, ‘Our coffee has never been so strong!’”

 

Holiday Sale Inspiration: Gift Baskets!

This year, give back to your community and to farmers around the world by offering conscious consumers at your congregation meaningful and unique gift options. Combine your creative talents with recycled baskets and offer one-of-a-kind pre-made gift baskets this year. By offering people a few kinds of gift-giving options, you’ll sell more and make things quick and convenient for last-minute shoppers or the less-than-crafty.

Send a call out to your congregation a few weeks in advance of your sale for donations of old baskets collecting dust at home. Collect the baskets, dust them off and give them new life by putting together pre-made baskets full of organic, fairly traded coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate. A basket with a variety of a bag of coffee, a box of tea and a few chocolate bars always makes a delicious, well-rounded and inexpensive gift. Have some fun with creating themed baskets like a “Baker’s Basket” with our Organic Baking Cocoa, Organic Chocolate Chips and Organic Olive Oil, or a “Bold Woman” basket with Organic Lemon Ginger with Black Pepper Dark Chocolate, Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa and Organic French Roast coffee.

Dress it up with some colorful tissue paper, add a ribbon and you’ve made a ready-to-give gift! We suggest offering baskets with a variety of price points so folks can choose the right gift for each person on their list, ranging from something small but thoughtful for your co-worker to an overflowing basket of goodies for your significant other.

For lower price point gifts, you can assemble bite-sized chocolate minis in gift bags using stickers and ribbon or start with our Minis Packaging Kits and add your own special touches. Another great option is to buy some bulk bags of whole bean coffee and let folks fill their own bags. Decorate our plain paper tin-tie bags with markers, colored pencils, stickers and glitter glue, then fill them with beans from some of our most exciting blends and single origin bulk coffee bags. This is a great activity for both kids and adults!

If you’re short on time or not the craftiest, give each person an empty basket that they can fill with items of their choice. Offer complimentary ribbon or a bow to top off the basket or charge a dollar or two to cover your costs.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help from others – this is a great way to get more folks involved and let their creativity shine.

For inspiration, check out a few of the gift baskets we put together!

 

Submitted by customer Jean Marie Faltus:

Tips for Your Holiday Sale

Holiday sales are a great way to bring Fair Trade gift options to your community, raise money, and share your group’s social justice mission. Here are some of our best tips for a successful sale!

Dress up your table Use a colorful tablecloth to make it festive and eye-catching. Organize products neatly and use vertical display racks to save space. Use our table signs, olive oil gift tags and brochures to share information and draw people in. We even offer authentic and inexpensive burlap coffee bags to display.

Offer free samples Everybody loves the chance to try something delicious, and odds are good that they’ll want to buy more once they have a taste! Break chocolate bars into pieces and arrange them on a decorative plate. (Don’t forget tongs!). Brew batches of coffee or hot cocoa and offer samples in small paper cups. The aroma alone will draw people to your table.

Team up with others Incorporate Equal Exchange products into a larger alternative gift market with other fairly traded items, like artisan crafts from SERRV and Ten Thousand Villages, symbolic gifts from Heifer International, or handmade products from artists in your community. Keep prices close to wholesale or mark them up to earn money for your church or social justice committee.

Share the mission You know that Fair Trade is important for our global community, and now is a great time to tell your own community why it matters. The meaning behind the products you sell will really set your holiday sale apart from the rest – so don’t be afraid to talk about it! Our talking points and brochures make it easy.

Promote your sale Announce your sale early and often. Let people know that they can do all of their gift shopping in one place and feel good about their choices. Spread the word in your congregation by making announcements during services, put up a sale poster in a visible area and use our customizable bulletin inserts. Promote to your broader community with announcements in newsletters, email lists and on your web site or social media pages, community bulletin boards and local news.

Try this example wording: “Give gifts that give more! Join us for our Holiday Sale [insert date, time and location] Give fairly traded, organic gifts this holiday season. Equal Exchange products are sourced from small-scale coffee, tea, cocoa and olive oil farmer co-operatives worldwide and profits from our sale go towards [insert your group, committee or reason for the sale here]. Through Fair Trade, farmers are better able to support their families, protect the environment and strengthen their communities.”

Set the right prices You can raise funds for special congregation projects, trips or activities by marking up your products 25% to 40% of your cost. Round up to the nearest dollar to help cover your costs and make giving change easier. Remember to tell folks what you’re raising money for — they’ll love being able to gift shop and help your cause! You can also make gifts more accessible by selling them close to the discounted cost you paid when you bought by the case. Sell multiple items at slightly reduced prices to help encourage more sales. An assortment of chocolate bars tied with a ribbon makes a beautiful, decadent but affordable gift!

For more selling tips, check out our general, comprehensive how-to guide. 

Read our favorite ideas for a festive and creative display with DIY and ready-t0-give gifts

Download the PDF of our Resource Toolkit  for our product and price list and a coupon code for your order

 

On the Road with the Interfaith Team

This summer, the Equal Exchange interfaith team traveled around the country to events celebrating our faith-based partnerships. We were excited to meet and talk with so many of our supporters and hear about the work that they are doing in their communities. Meet some of our extended Equal Exchange family and read their stories below!

Wherever Marion Bell travels, including to the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans, she brings the following with her in a special bag: Equal Exchange French Roast coffee freshly ground the night before she leaves, a pourover brewer and filters, a small electric water kettle, and a porcelain coffee mug. She wants to drink socially-just coffee wherever she goes and clearly takes it seriously!

Rev. Tim Bobbitt of First Christian Church in Alexandria, VA shared this great photo with us at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana. For Father’s Day, his two sons knew exactly what he wanted and gifted him bulk bags of Equal Exchange coffee beans.

At the Disciples of Christ General Assembly, Rev. Robert Bushey of Central Christian Church in Bourbonnais, IL shared photos of his incredible Fair Trade parade float with giant Equal Exchange chocolate bars! They sell Equal Exchange products at their local farmer’s market to encourage folks to support small farmers globally, too.

In Minneapolis, MN at the Women of the ELCA Triennial, Alice Carlson from Advent ELCA in Middleboro, MA told us that our baking cocoa is the best she’s ever tried!

 

“How does it go from cacao to cocoa?”
Darlene Brewer & Justin Schwartz of Wyndholme Christian Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia loved our dried cacao pod and shared an impromptu song and dance with us at the Week of Compassion booth at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly.

Ariel Aaronson-Eves and Rev. Sam Teitel ran into each other at the UU General Assembly in New Orleans after not seeing one another for years. They posed in front of the Equal Exchange booth for old time’s sake.

Ariel and Sam were two of the first wave of baristas who worked at the Equal Exchange cafe in Boston 9 years ago!

Rev. David Hutchinson (in a vintage Equal Exchange tee shirt) is the pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Houlton, ME.

They’ve served Equal Exchange coffee at the church’s “Cup Cafe” for six years. It’s also a fizz bar with italian sodas and a music venue. Visit them off of the last Maine exit on I-95N to stop by their cafe or stay at their Airbnb!

Mr. Equal Exchange, Peter Buck, shared a table with Rachel Brink of Foods Resource Bank at the Church of the Brethren Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.

In New Orleans at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, we met John Adrian from United Church in Staten Island, NY. John told us that he never liked dark chocolate until he had an Equal Exchange bar! Equal Exchange: converting milk chocolate lovers since 2001.

We visited Jenni Heimach at Irvington Presbyterian Church, one of our top church customers in Indiana and saw her in action selling and sampling Equal Exchange products after services. Profits from their weekly sales pay for their Fair Trade, organic coffee hour.

We hosted an Equal Exchange coffee tasting at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church right in our own backyard in Boston.

We’re always happy to help fuel conference-goers! Nathalie Bigord of UU Congregation of Gwinnett said that munching on our wholesome Fruit and Nut Bars helped her survive the 6 day long Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans.

Chocolate lovers unite! At the Women of the ELCA Triennial we met long-time Fair Trade chocolate fans Karen Edwards and Kathleen Sumrall of Trinity Church in Sparta, WI and Gretchen Jensen of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in LaCrosse, WI.

Meet Jann McIsinr and Dawn Hassle of Milwaukee Lutheran Church, pictured at the Women of the ELCA Triennial in MN. Jann told us, “The coffee that you served at the New Attendees Breakfast was the best coffee that I’ve had the whole time here.” Thank you, Jann, we love hearing that!

To all of our partners and supporters, we thank you for the work that you do in your congregations and communities to promote economic justice for small scale farmers. We loved getting to know you better and hope to see you soon!