Posts Tagged ‘fair trade’

HEALTHY ORGANIC FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!

Image by blueathena7 Flickr.com

Before you send your sweetheart a romantic bouquet of flowers, think about sending organic flowers instead.  Most flowers are grown with highly toxic chemicals. Even the floral foam used in floral arrangements contains toxic elements; there is an appalling lack of toxicity regulation in the flower industry.  Colombia, the world’s second largest flower exporter after the Netherlands, douses the plants in pesticides to prevent diseases and blemishes.  During peak season, the workers (many of whom are single mothers and even children) work long hours with low wages and a steady exposure to herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.  Many suffer work related health issues as a result.  The soil and the ground water are contaminated and the soil is depleted of biology. Flowers grown in the US are partially regulated by the EPA, mostly concerning the safety issues for the growers.  The possible dangers, including allergic reactions, from chemical residues on flowers passed onto consumers however, are not addressed.

The market is growing for organic flowers – the more the demand, of course the more available they will become.  With each purchase, you know you are helping the life of a floral farm worker.  Visit organicbouquet.com, which according to the Sierra Club, is a carbon-neutral company that not only sells pesticide-free flowers but also gives their workers in underdeveloped countries zero-interest loans, healthcare, and education.  Another option, if possible, buy seasonal flowers from a farmer’s market, pick them from your garden or consider a potted plant.  Potted orchids are a lovely Valentine’s Day gift.

My favorite Valentine’s gift is chocolate and happily the health benefits of dark chocolate are becoming well-known.  Besides tasting delicious, dark chocolate, which is at least 65% cocoa, contains a large number of antioxidants, nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries. The flavonoids help relax blood pressure, have been shown to lower cholesterol by up to 10%, may protect arteries from damage and fend off heart disease.  Dark chocolate stimulates endorphin production, or the feel good hormones, and contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.  It may even help with tooth decay.   Like coffee, it contains caffeine, a natural stimulant.

This year, get your Valentines organic, fair trade chocolate… Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods carry lots of varieties, and I noticed CVS carries some too.  Dark chocolate still contains sugar and fat, so indulge moderately!  (Unfortunately, milk and white chocolate do not contain the same benefits.)  Yes, even Valentine’s Day can be green!

English: Dark chocolate. Español: Chocolate negro.

Image by sweet mustache Flickr.Com

Some information compiled from greenamerica.org and sierraclub.org

VALENTINE’S DAY QUOTE

Image by patrizia-ferri Flickr.com

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz, “Peanuts” cartoonist

This Valentine’s Day, indulge  ——– in a little chocolate, dark, organic, fair trade chocolate that’s actually good for you and good for the planet!  Click here to read more.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!♥♥♥

“GREEN” COFFEE (AND TEA)

 

Image by Peter Wild

 

After crude oil coffee is the world’s most commonly traded commodity, and tea is the world’s most consumed beverage after water.  Making an “eco-correct” purchase of these mainstays of the American diet, however, can be complicated.

There are several categories for coffee. “Fair Trade” applies to coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, handicrafts that are produced in a way which ensures living wages and safe working conditions for farmers, promotes sustainability and usually includes rigorous environmental standards.  “Shade Grown” coffee refers to the traditional method where coffee beans grow in shade and mature slowly, creating richer flavors. Coffee farmers were encouraged to replace shade grown coffee with sun cultivation in order to increase yield.  To do this, over 2.5 million acres of forests in Central America were destroyed, which caused an immediate loss in biodiversity, both in the many types of trees and plants that were eliminated and the animals that depended on them.  When I visited Brazil, we saw sun cultivated coffee plantations everywhere and were told that 95% of the Atlantic rainforest has been destroyed.  Coffee and tea with the organic certification are ecofriendly, grown without toxic chemicals, thus sparing workers from exposure to the harmful pesticides and herbicides.  They are also harvested in a way that protects the environment.

In summary, most fair trade coffee is also shade grown and organic.  Otherwise, you choose which of the certifications is the most important to you and buy accordingly. Fortunately, you can now buy coffee and tea with these green certifications at most grocery stores, Starbucks, Peets Coffee and Dunkin Donuts.

One more tip, coffee grounds and tea leaves make outstanding compost!


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