Monday, April 30, 2007

"Mommy, may I have some fair trade chocolate?"

That's how Ramona asked for dessert last night.

Let me back up a bit.

For Lent, I gave up chocolate, among some other things. If you know me, you know that I'm tragically, pathetically addicted to chocolate (thus, the absence of said addiction for 40 days might account for the fruitful Lent I experienced ... it's amazing how much you can ponder and accomplish when you're not looking for the next chocolate fix.)

Over those forty days, one of the things our family did was to follow suggested readings and activities from Operation Rice Bowl. ORB focused on a different part of the world every week, taking us inside the lives of people who have a very different standard of living than we Americans have. My children were struck (as I'd hoped they would be) by the fact that we live with so many luxuries.

And, over those forty days, I read up a bit on where and how the things I so often take for granted are produced. I started making some changes in our buying habits. It's a process, and it hasn't happened overnight. I can't say we're fully converted yet. But, so far, I've found and enjoyed these fair trade products:

A variety of coffees

Divine Chocolate, which is also available in the U.S. through A Greater Gift. (I have no vested interest in this particular organization. I've just found them, so far, to be a great place to buy some fair trade products, including -- shh, don't tell her -- my mother's birthday present.)

You can read more about fair trade practices and products at the Catholic Relief Services website, here.


momof3feistykids said...

Good for Ramona! I have been thinking about the same kind of thing a great deal today. It saddens me when I ponder all the things we take for granted in this society.

I will take a peek at your fair trade site. My Dad does an environmental education thing titled "Coffee With the Birds" to make people aware that you can buy "shade grown" coffee that does not involve clearing out large areas of rainforest.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Okay, but how does the fair trade coffee taste? :)

I should look into this as well, though, because I could probably support a small country with my habit. But honestly Karen, I have so many things that I already feel guilty about (not buying organic being WAY at the top of the list) that I'm wondering if I should add another distraction.

Then again, maybe that's just how we Americans are supposed to think. Ply us with stuff and we forget to care...

Okay. I'm going to bed now. I'll let you know tomorrow how I slept. ;)

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks, and do you have a link to any info?

Margaret, so far I really both like the Caramel Toffee (not highly flavored, but just very smooth and delicious) and the Decaf Hazelnut from A Greater Gift. I ordered one during Lent, from Amazon, that I did not like *at all*, but I think the Greater Gift ones are a higher quality coffee. Don't feel guilty ... changes can come one little step at a time ... I just need to get in the habit of ordering my coffee rather than grabbing it at the grocery store. Caribou's Rainforest Blend is certified Fair Trade and organic (but I haven't tried it, so can't speak to the taste ....)

I hope you slept well. :-)

The Bookworm said...

Star's Brownie pack (girl scouts) worked on a world issues badge earlier this year and one of their tasks was to learn about fair trade. Since then I have been trying to buy fair trade tea, coffee and bananas. No excuses when I don't, as both our town and Church have official "fair trade" status - th supermarkets stock fair trade items, and there is a Traidcraft stall after Mass once a month.

The Bookworm said...

Meant to add ... there is some great fairtrade chocolate around, but I just haven't been able to break out of the habit of buying cheap supermarket own brand stuff. I can't get out of the mindset of seeing the fair trade choc as an occasional, extravagant treat.