Looking for affordable, meaningful gifts this holiday season? Let’s make it easy for you.  As the buyer for the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store, I spent months connecting with our artisan partners to bring in a line of unique gifts that carry a story AND fit your budget.  Here are my top 5 picks well under $10….perfect for your unexpected guest, teacher, neighbor, co-worker and loved ones.

heart JB1) Hand-Carved Olive Wood Heart $3.95:

Each one of these hearts is unique, as special care was taken to retain the natural grain and curvature of the olive wood they were carved from.  Each is hand-carved by an artisan of the Kamba people living in the bush of Eastern Kenya. Special permits must be received to fell an olive wood tree, and the carvers make use of every inch of this prized wood.

These hearts make a perfect gift for a far away friend because they slide nicely into a Christmas card envelope.  They also make a thoughtful gift for your best friend or partner, as they can be held well in a pocket.

2) Organic Fair Trade Chocolate $.25-$4.50:chocolate JB

We proudly carry Equal Exchange’s line of premium organic Fair Trade Chocolate crafted from the purest ingredients and grown with care by small farmer co-ops in Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama and The Dominican Republic. Equal Exchange only sources from small farmer organizations because they believe they are the heart and soul of Fair Trade.

On your way to a holiday party? Choose from Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, Coconut, Caramel Crunch Sea Salt and more to pair with a bottle of holiday spirits.  Or better yet check out Equal Exchange’s recipes for Chocolate Sugar Cookies or Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Cake.  Mmmmm.

bells JB3) Hand-Pounded Desert Bells $2.50:

These bells are made by rural artisans in a small cooperative in the Kutchchi desert region of western India.  Each bell is first pounded into shape by hand, and then buried under the hot desert sand in a kiln. This age-old technique of metalwork is what gives each piece its unique patina and tone.

What a great gift for your neighbor!  On a small piece of ribbon, the bells can tie off the wrapping on a plate of fresh baked cookies. They make for beautiful tree ornaments!

4) Hand-Carved Kisii Stone Animals $3.50eles JB

These festive little animals are hand carved from solid kisii or “soap stone” by Gusii artisans in western Kenya.  Each piece is then hand dyed (using non-toxic dyes) and etched at the Ndima Crafts finishing shop in Nairobi.  Kisii Stone is a metamorphic rock, soft due to its high talc content, that has been used as a medium for carving for thousands of years.

A perfect fit for a child’s small hand, these animals are a great addition to a Christmas stocking.  They also make a great gift for teachers or childcare providers!

Propsperity Hens5) Prosperity Hens $6.50

These colorful strands of hens are handmade in the stark desert region of northern India by a group of women who have formed a crafts co-operative, creating an economy where none existed.  Hens are a symbol of prosperity and this strand crafted from fabric scraps, is intended to bring prosperity into the home.  Carefully chosen glass beads, silver ornaments, and the unique tinkle of each hand-formed bronze bell reflect the personal touches of the women.

This is a perfect gift for your family.  Hang it in your home to bring your loved ones prosperity this holiday season and into the New Year!

Come visit us at the Global Exchange Store in Berkeley, CA for a wide selection of Fair Trade holiday gifts that simply fill the heart!

Walking into winter months when  jackets and scarves become a necessity,  a bold pair of Fair Trade earrings is an easy way to maintain your personal style, uplift your spirit, and participate in the greater economic good. This season Global Exchange‘s  offering of Fair Trade earrings are fantastic! 

Global Exchange in Berkeley has so many beautiful earrings to choose from in  a variety of materials, styles and colors. Lucky me, shop manager, I get to share my favorite five with you!

Fair Trade Earring1. Hand made in India, these earrings are carved from bone.  In warm orange and festive fuchsia, they are light weight, chic and fun to pair with jeans and a big sweater or a little black dress ($14.50) Fun Fact: all Global Exchange earring hooks are either sterling silver or surgical steel.



Fair Trade Earring2.  Handmade in Guatemala from Geo cut semi- precious stones, cotton tassels, bronze metal leaves and brass chains, these unique earrings are a show stopper. We carry these exotic beauties in a blue and green color way,  they are a perfect way to spice things up ($32.50)



Fair Trade Earrings3. Handmade in India  these bold,  brushed, brass  earrings are not only a sustainable metal alternative to gold,  they are light weight with a big personality and can pair with just about anything ($18.50) Fun Fact: Brass will always shine to a brilliance.



Fair Trade Earring4. Handmade in Guatemala these elegant earrings are intricately woven in interesting patterns with rich colored, glass beads. These beads feel nice on your neck and the vibrant colors really pop. We carry these beauties in a variety of colors! ($32.50)



E 15. Hand made in India these mod earrings are made of cube shaped beads in silver, gold and gunmetal hoops that dance together when hanging from your ear. Their elegant  sparkle is perfect for New Years Eve! $16.50




E6**Bonus **I know, I said top 5 but I have to throw in some beautiful Balinese, 3 tear drop, semi-precious, Garnets in sterling silver! Perfect for the ballet,symphony or opera, these one of a kind treasures are deep in color and timeless treasures. ($85)



Whether its a gift for family, a friend or yourself, Global Exchange offers  earrings in all lengths, from edgy studs to elegant drops to swaying hoops, it was a challenge to choose only 5! You should come in, I just finished lighting our cloth lanterns, decorating our trees with ornaments and filling our jewelry cases!







Peace Action Kit

Allow me to introduce you to the brand new, limited addition Global Exchange Peace On Earth Action Kits!

Exactly what you need to Fair Trade your holidays this season, each kit includes a combination of goodies  to help educate and take action.

Similar to our Halloween Action Kits which sold out in less than a week, Peace On Earth Action Kits will be available on a first-come first-served basis, so please order yours asap to make sure you don’t miss out.

Color-in postcard to send to Ghirardelli's

Color-in postcard to send to Ghirardelli’s

Each Peace on Earth Action Kit includes:

  • 4Not So Sweet Facts About Chocolate” postcards
  • 4 Ghirardelli color-in action postcards
  • 1 Booklet filled with Fair Trade holiday carols
  • 1 Set of 6 Peace on Earth greeting cards (featuring designs from our What About Peace youth art contest)
  • 1 Bundle of Divine Fair Trade milk chocolate coins
  • 1 Fair Trade peace crane ornament
  • 1 DVD copy of The Dark Side of Chocolate

Everything in the kit comes  packaged together in a recycled newspaper gift bag. Kits are $18.00 which includes shipping. One kit per household since there is a limited number of kits available..

The kits are on sale now through December 16 (or until we run out) so order yours today and proudly spread the Fair Trade cheer this holiday season!

Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or none of the above, the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store Holiday Parties are a great time for socially responsible shoppers to come together and celebrate. And they’re coming up fast!

This year, all of our Fair Trade store locations will be celebrating on the same evening; Thursday, December 6th. (See below for more details.)

Party highlights:

  • Enjoy some holiday cheer and find gifts for your loved ones, while creating a more sustainable and just world.
  • FREE Fair Trade mug hand-painted in Tunisia FULL of steaming Fair Trade hot chocolate! *First 25 people to spend $25 or more
  • Mix and mingle with new friends and old
  • One-Night! 20% OFF Storewide for Global Exchange Members Only (Click here to become a member now). *Please bring your Global Exchange membership card to receive your discount.

RSVP On Facebook:

  • Berkeley Store2840 College Ave (at Russell) Berkeley, CA 94705 510-548-0370
  • San Francisco Store: 4018 24th Street (near Noe) San Francisco, CA 94114 415-648-8068
  • Virginia Store (inside Busboys & Poets): Shirlington Village 4251 South Campbell Avenue Arlington VA 22206 703-379-9756
  • Washington, DC Store (inside Busboys & Poets): 5 & K 1025 5th Street NW Washington, DC 20001 202-842-4525

 I seriously don’t think I’ve missed a single Global Exchange Fair Trade Store holiday party since I started working here waaaay back when. It’s such a fun night. I’ll be at the San Francisco party this year, hope to meet some of you there!

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving  when frenzied holiday shoppers hit the malls and super stores, is fast approaching as news about major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving circulates, forcing thousands of employees to work instead of spending time with their families.

As I write this, the petition over Walmart opening on Thanksgiving has garnered more than 30,000 Signatures (and counting!). Not to mention, Walmart workers across the US calling for a strike in an effort to end the retaliation against workers who speak out for their rights.

Our friends from The Story of Stuff released this new one-minute video parodying Black Friday, which features footage of shoppers behaving badly set to a classic holiday tune. It’s a wee bit disturbing, but worth a watch!

The Story of Stuff folks encourage viewers to “Choose Family over Frenzy.” That sounds a lot more pleasant to me! Visit their website to support striking Walmart workers and to share your mall-free holiday plans.

Here’s what Chie Abad, Global Exchange’s Sweatshop Policy Analyst (and former sweatshop-worker) wants shoppers to think about this Black Friday:

I want shoppers to be conscientious about what products they buy and think about how those products were made, where they were made, and who made them. I want people to consider the working conditions of workers who make the products and sell the products. Companies should be accountable for the working conditions of its workers.

One of the Global Exchange Gift Membership packages

Your Alternative Gift Choice to Avoid Black Friday

Instead of buying mass-produced products from big-box stores this holiday season, consider avoiding the mayhem by giving the gift of Global Exchange membership to folks on your gift list. It’s the same price as a regular annual Global Exchange membership, but it comes with extra Fair Trade gifts!

There are six membership packages to choose from, including “Support a Farmer” and “Stand for Human Rights.” You pick the gift and Global Exchange takes care of the rest. Each gift membership includes:

  • One-Year Membership to Global Exchange;
  • Special Gift Certificate;
  • Fair Trade Gift(s) that represent Global Exchange’s work towards a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

To see what Fair Trade gifts are included in each package, check them out online here.


Ask Chie Abad to speak to your school or church about how you can create a Sweat-free community. Invite her at Chie@globalexchange.org

San Francisco Global Exchange Fair Trade Store

Election season may be over, but the holiday season is right around the corner–can you believe it?! And while some of you may be busily stocking up on Fair Trade ingredients for the big Thanksgiving meal (like Fair Trade spices for pumpkin pie), over at the Global Exchange Fair Trade stores we’re getting ready for some exciting events!

Here’s what we’ve got coming up:

1) We’re taking part in Fair Tuesday, a Fair Trade day of action;

2) We’ll be lending our support to a handful of local organizations by hosting “Shop for a Cause” nights in their honor.

Here’s more about both:

Image courtesy of Global Goods Partners


Not sure when to kick off your holiday shopping? Avoid Black Friday blues by participating in Fair Tuesday on November 27th, an event spearheaded by Global Goods Partners, a New York-based nonprofit. Fair Tuesday is a Fair Trade initiative created in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the goal to inspire conscious consumerism and show how an everyday purchase can change lives in a whole community.

Here’s how to participate in Fair Tuesday:

Whether you are an individual, organization, or a member of the press, you can join Global Exchange in the #FairTuesday movement in two simple ways:

1) Buy a fair trade item on Tuesday November 27th at a Global Exchange Fair Trade store near you, or any other brick-and-mortar or online Fair Trade store—Check out this great list of Fair Tuesday partners for some good ideas, or let us know about your favorite store in the comments!

2) Help us spread the word about this movement on social media using hashtag #FairTuesday. Tell your family and friends that what you really want for the holidays is global economic justice.

Global Goods Partners is a fair trade organization that supports over 40 women-led artisan groups in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Their goal—and our challenge to you—is to galvanize the fair trade community around #FairTuesday and make this movement global!


This year we are partnering with FOUR inspiring organizations to host “Shop for a Cause” nights at our Fair Trade stores in the Bay Area. Our goal is simple and speaks to our vision for a better global economic system: give back to our communities while giving back to artisans around the world through Fair Trade.

During these special event evenings, you can shop for your friends and family and 20% of your purchase will go to the featured local Bay Area organization to help support their social justice work.

ONE: La Casa de las Madres
Where: San Francisco Store
When: Wednesday November 28th 4pm-7pm
Rsvp on Facebook here

La Casa de las Madres acts boldly to create a community where violence against women and children is not tolerated. They offer a continuum of comprehensive and empowering services to women, teens, and children exposed to and at risk of abuse. La Casa also provides access, tools and support—clinical and peer-based—that strengthen their ability to affect change and break the cycle of violence.

TWO: Berkeley Student Food Collective
Berkeley Store
Wednesday December 5th, 2pm-6pm
Rsvp on Facebook here

The Berkeley Student Food Collective is dedicated to providing fresh, local, healthy, environmentally sustainable and ethically produced food at affordable prices to the Berkeley campus and greater community. They seek to educate students about nutrition and food systems, empower new leaders, and train youth to work in and manage a sustainable business. Through inclusive, democratic decision-making, they operate a cooperative grocery market that promotes community-building and environmental stewardship.

Photo courtesy of Turning Heads & the Sweet Dreams Project

THREE: Turning Heads
Where: San Francisco Store
When: Wednesday, December 5th 4pm-7pm
Rsvp on Facebook here

Turning Heads Sewing and Fashion Design provides vocational arts education, entrepreneurship training, and develops young women leaders in San Francisco. They challenge race, class and gender stereotypes by believing that young women of color can work together and create a future that is personally, socially, academically and financially successful. Turning Heads Sewing and Fashion Design gives young women the opportunity to express their creativity, develop a sense of self-reliance, and follow their dreams.

Photo courtesy of the OMI Family Resource Center

FOUR: OMI Family Resource Center–YMCA SF Urban Services
Where: San Francisco Store
When: Thursday, December 13th 4pm-7pm
Rsvp on Facebook here

The OMI Family Resource Center’s mission is to empower families living in the Oceanview, Merced and Ingleside neighborhoods through services aimed at strengthening relationships, building community and fostering healthy lifestyles. They offer a safe and welcoming environment and aim to engage families in services that build on current strengths and are respectful of each participant’s right to self-determination. All services are offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.


All in all, we have a great list of events coming up–we hope to see you. Visit our Facebook page to see the complete list of upcoming events, including our annual Fair Trade Store holiday parties. Stay tuned for more about those!

You can’t think of everything, can you?

The holiday season always seems to take over like a train barreling down the tracks faster than you can control. You want to live up to your values, appreciate your friends and family and have fun during this season.  Here are five ways you can accomplish all three:

Equal Exchange Singing a Fair Trade Carol

1) Fair Trade Caroling is a great way to share the message of Fair Trade with your neighbors and community, so put on your Santa hat and have some fun!

To get you in the spirit, here are some clips of carolers making music and sharing the ideals of Fair Trade:

Ready to Start Caroling? Great, here’s all you need to know: First, download lyrics from our web site or make up your own. Next gather your carolers and start singing. Don’t forget to film it and send us the short video clip link of your Fair Trade Caroling adventure so we can share it with the world.

Fair Trade Gift Membership Package

2) Shop Fair Trade.  Yes you probably had thought of that, but did you know there is a way to give a Fair Trade gift that won’t take up much space in your friends tiny apartment but will still make a big difference in the lives of small producers and farmers? It’s true. Simply give a Fair Trade Membership Gift Package. Your gift supports Global Exchange’s Fair Trade program and commitment to growing the Fair Trade movement and includes all sorts of cool perks. Check it out online here!

Of course, if you are looking for unique Fair Trade products, pop by one of our Bay Area or DC stores to find a wide selection of Fair Trade products. Or use the Fair Trade Federation product locator http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ to search for Fair Trade products throughout the US.

3) Petition HersheyWith all those bowls of chocolates at holiday parties wouldn’t  it be nice to be able to nibble without worrying about whether a child’s forced labor was used to produce it?  Over 50,000 signatures have been collected encouraging Hershey’s to “Raise the Bar” by making the switch and they have heard us. We’d like to reach 100,000 by Valentine’s Day. Add your name here.

4) Bake Something Delicious – Instead of Hershey’s kisses or guilty gelt in your stocking, try making your own delicious Fair trade treat – Here is a recipe for Zarah’s own mud pie as featured in our sister organization CodePink’s cookbook Peace Never Tasted So Sweet:

Fair Trade Mud Pie

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup Fair Trade cocoa powder
1/3 cup Fair Trade powdered sugar
6 tablespoons melted margarine

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and press it into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Cool.

1 cup Fair Trade powdered sugar
1 cup (6oz) Fair Trade semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped nuts (Fair Trade almonds)
1 1/2-2 pints Fair Trade coffee ice cream (Ben & Jerrys!) make sure it is slightly softened. [If you want, can make one pint FT chocolate, one pint FT coffee ice cream. !! yum]
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Heat up the FT sugar, FT chocolate chips, butter, cream & corn syrup in a small heavy duty saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. (Can look online for good tips on how to melt chocolate and get to a good consistency.)
Once smooth, remove it from heat and stir in the organic vanilla. Cool it down until it is slightly warm.

Drizzle 1/3 cup of chocolate mixture in bottom of crust, sprinkle FT chopped almonds. Layer 1/2-1 pint of FT coffee ice cream, using thin scoops. Freeze for one hour to one hour and a half.
Repeat layering with remaining mixture, nuts and ice cream until ingredients gone or no more room in pie crust.

Freeze for two more hours or until pie is firm then enjoy! You have yourself and Fair Trade mud pie. Yum.

5) Be Generous It’s been a rough year, many of us don’t have a lot of money to spare, but generosity of spirit enriches. Donate what you can afford to your favorite Fair Trade organization or if you can’t do that, share your time, your attention and your good energy.

What else haven’t we thought of? Share your Fair Trade holiday ideas that we’ve left out.

Halloween is over, but keep the celebration going and start thinking about the holidays. Fair Trade Federation Executive Director, Carmen Iezzi offered to write a guest blog post for Global Exchange to highlight the newly released FTF Holiday Gift Guide for all your Fair Trade gifting needs.

We all know that the holidays are a time for reconnecting with family and friends. They are also a time to connect with our global community. When you support Fair Trade, you become part of a network of people dedicated to facilitating change for disadvantaged artisans and farmers.

To make this process simple, the Fair Trade Federation has created a NEW holiday gift guide full of products that empower women, provide education for children, heal the earth, and so much more!

It’s easy! You can just click on the link in each profile and visit FairTrade.us, an independent online news magazine celebrating Fair Trade, to read a full review of these and other great products and link directly to the seller of each one!

Whether you’re looking for a gift for Mom, Dad, the kids, or to dress your home in style, your purchases change lives! All of the gifts in this guide are sold by fully committed Fair Trade Organizations – members of the Fair Trade Federation – so you know these great choices really do make a difference.

Celebrate Fair Trade
In addition to the great items in the guide, they have even more ideas to Fair Trade your holiday and your life:

  • Prepare a great Fair Trade Dish,
  • Educate your Community with Films and Speakers,
  • Invest in or Donate to a Fair Trade Organization,
  • Host a Fair Trade Home Party when the weather’s too bad to go out,
  • Suggest your office choose Fair Trade for its Corporate Gifts,
  • So much more!!

At www.FairTradeFederation.org and www.FairTrade.us, you can find these and other great ways to be an advocate for change throughout the year.

For more than sixty years, Fair Trade Organizations have connected you with artisans and farmers across the globe by delivering high quality products that create a tremendous impact on their communities. This holiday season, let’s continue that momentum for change.

Be sure to check out this gift guide for a list of great places to get Fair Trade gifts this holiday season, including our own Global Exchange stores.

Also, you can find out more about Carmen Iezzi in this Change.org Faces of Fair Trade feature on her.