Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fair Trade Party!!!

Hi it's Caroline!
As you know, the purpose of this blog is to help us with our Girl Scout silver award. That said, we need a specific number of hours, (50) that need to be compleated by a deadline (by the start of high school). To say the least, we needed lots of hours, and the pressure was on. So, we are insanely lucky to have our parents helping us, and Ginger's mom came up with an idea to get us a lot of hours. What about a party? We could invite some friends, talk to them about fair trade, display fair trade products, and even make some fair trade food for them to eat.  Ginger and I split up the party planning duties, and got to work.
For the party, I made fair trade frozen chocolate and icing, while Ginger made stir-fry and some AMAZING fair trade chocolate chip cookies, and some fair trade cupcakes for the icing. Well, when I saw what my party jobs were, I thought, "Just cooking? Yeah, that's got to be easy!" I can cook basic things. Like boiling pasta. Not anything too complicated. ESPECIALLY not something that would require double boiling melted chocolate. Yeah, that frozen hot chocolate is still giving me anxiety issues, after a total cooking time of 1 1/2 hours! :)
In all, the party was a huge success, giving our friends the opprotunity to try fair trade products widely avalible in our area. We were even able to interview a few party guests about what they had learned about fair trade. Hopefully Ginger will post those videos soon (since I as always forgot my camera at home :) and you can all see the influence of just telling someone, how much you can influence the success of fair trade!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Aware Are We?

Hi it's Ginger!

As you may have noticed many people seem to lack awareness of Fair Trade.  I myself wasn't very aware until I went to Dominican Republic and saw all the factories from both sides (shopper and worker). 

Caroline and I took this into account when we went educating younger girls (in eliminatory school girls in girls scout troops) about Fair Trade. Before giving our lesson we gave out a True or False questionnaire of five question. They included the following.

1. Fair Trade is a charity  T   F
2. Fair Trade makes things expensive  T  F
3. Fair Trade and Organic have the same meaning   T  F
4. Fair Trade only effects people in poor places    T   F
5. When I buy something in a store it doesn't affect someone somewhere else T  F

After we went over the answers on the questionnaire i collected some of them back to see the results. Most of the girls admitted that they had guessed out of most of them and didn't really know what Fair Trade was at all. Out of the ones I took back to look at, none of the girls got 100% correct. 

I asked the girls if they had ever heard of Fair Trade and depending upon the group (usually around 15 girls per group) one or two had heard the term Fair Trade.

Thinking the results I found from the questionnaire and just asking the troops questions was because they were younger I took trying to educate youth with more lessens. 
To my surprise I was wrong about unawareness due to age.
When going to Fair Trade places and asking the workers what products were Fair Trade many of the workers did not know what it was either. Many workers didn't know which products in the store were Fair Trade or after reciting the items in stock to us they would ask what Fair Trade was. 

Considering that the goal or Fair Trade is to get people to buy Fair Trade items- it is a problem that people don't know what Fair Trade is.  I hope this blog showed you how so many people are unaware of Fair Trade. 
The only way to get people to be Fair Trade savvy is to get people to know what it is in the first place.  
It is up to us to spread awareness to everyone. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Alter Eco

Hi it's Caroline!
So, today, I'm not just writing about a product, I'm writing about a whole fair-trade COMPANY! I know, it's hard to believe that there's an entire brand dedicated to fair trade, and the products are STILL not easy to find! The brand is called Alter Eco, an it includes rice, grains, chocolate, any type of food that can be made fair trade. I mentioned one of their types of chocolate, dark chocolate almond, in one of my previous blogs about fair trade vs. non-fair trade chocolate. What makes Alter Eco different from other brands, is that they give you a sort of backstory on the product and the producer. They tell you where it's from, what cooperative, and what it was used for by the natives of that area originally. Some of the products are even organic. My mom decided to buy the pearl quinoa and the purple jasmine rice. The quinoa is grown in Bolivia, where it was originally used by the Incas, and the rie is grown is grown in Thailand, where t has traditionally been used as a staple for hundreds of years. They also show your impact on the earth right on the back. For example, the back of the jasmine rice says: 150 farmers benefit, there's a 60% increase in farmer's revenue, your purchase finances: rice mill and packing faciliy, construction of a health clinic, and social security program, and one tree is planted for every 167 packs of rice. Phew, all that, just because of one little package of rice? That takes helping the earth to a whole new level! :)

Fair Trade Quinoa 

Monday, July 4, 2011

The most important question...

 Hi it's Caroline!

Today, your most important fair-trade question will be answered. Which is better: fair trade or regular: CHOCOLATE! And yes, even though it is one of the most popular fair trade items, i think it deserves some recognition for its hard work! Chocolate has one of the biggest buyer markets in fair trade, since it is a well-know product. Here, I get to compare two different brands, Hershey's Milk Chocolate and Alter Eco Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Almond, grown at the El Ceibo Cooperative in Bolivia. A fair trade cooperative is essentially a fair trade farm where cocoa beans (in this case) are grown. Meanwhile, Hershey's cocoa is grown in Mexico, on a non fair trade farm. Fair trade vs. not. Let the battle begin! :)

Fair trade: This bar contained sun dried and slow-roasted almonds. It was dark chcolate, so it was more bitter than your average chocolate. It was really good, to my surprise, since I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate. The almonds added a really good flavoring, and even though it wasn't milk chocolate, it was a better alternative for your health and the world!

Normal: A Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar, nothing fancy or expensive. Milk chocolate, no additives, unless you count lots and lots of SUGAR! A little bland and too sweet, but not to bad on a s'more.

So, which one is the winner? It depends on what you're using it for. Just eating some chocolate for dessert? Go for the Dark Chocolate Almond. Making some s'mores with little kids? Stick with the milk chocolate. Either way, they were both good in their own ways. My choice? The almond, or course. It helps the world, and benefits the farmers who grow the ingredients for it. :)

Alter Eco - Dark Almond   Fair Trade

 Non fair-trade