Fair Trade farmer works to replant coconut trees

Fair Trade farmer works to replant coconut trees

Amid the coconut boom, Fair Trade certification empowers farmers and workers to improve their lives and protect the environment.

Although coconut products are booming in popularity, the individuals producing them are not always reaping the rewards. There is a significant gap between skyrocketing sales in North America and poverty level incomes earned by farmers in key coconut producing economies. In the Philippines, one of the world’s leading coconut producers, an estimated 60 percent of small-scale coconut farmers live in poverty.

Some of the most important challenges faced by coconut farmers include:

  • Extreme poverty: Coconut farmers are among the poorest of the poor in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, which threatens the sustainability of coconut farming as a livelihood. Low and volatile farm gate prices, low productivity, and a lack of diversified sources of income perpetuate poverty among coconut farming communities and limit their ability to access important resources such as quality food, education, sufficient healthcare, fair credit, etc.
  • Unfavorable and variable prices: An average single-serving coconut water from a leading brand sells for around $1.50 in the United States, yet farmers receive about $0.11-0.20 per nut. Extreme volatility of these farm gate nut prices make it difficult for farmers to plan and smooth their consumption over time and harvests.
  • Low yields and declining productivity: Particularly as coconut trees age, their yields decline significantly. Many of the world’s coconut producing trees are 50-60 years old, well beyond productive years. This results in declining overall supply and income for farmers, many of whom lack the necessary resources and technical assistance to replant unproductive trees.
  • Environmental vulnerability: A recent United Nations report identified the Philippines as the third-most at-risk from climate change in the world, meaning farmers are often subject to the damaging effects of violent weather and pests.
Coconut School Feeding Project

Fair Trade coconuts help to feed children healthy meals in schools

Fair Trade certification aims to address these and other issues by helping coconut farmers to develop sustainable livelihoods and strong communities, and to become better stewards of the land. One way this happens is through the rigorous Fair Trade standards—covering areas like child and forced labor, safe working conditions, water conservation and proper waste disposal. Another way is through the Fair Trade Community Development Premium. On top of the sale price, farmers earn an additional premium for each coconut sold. These funds are collectively maintained by the farmers and invested in community projects that address critical needs such as improved healthcare, food security, education, agricultural training and business development. Here is an overview of some projects farmers have already invested in to address the biggest issues they face.

  • Education

School supplies – to ensure children have proper materials to be productive in school
Scholarships – to subsidize tuition fees and higher education costs for children of farmers

  • Healthy Communities

School feeding program – to ensure nutritious meals for children in the community
Water purification station – to improve access to clean water for the entire community
Community rice buying and retailing program – to improve access to quality food staples

  • Resilient and Supportive Communities

Disaster fund – to help farmers to recover more quickly from unexpected disaster, like typhoons
Burial assistance – to support funeral costs for members that pass away

  • Sustainable and Productive Farms

Livestock program – to support transportation of coconuts from farm to buyer
Tree replanting program – to ensure productive farms and sustainable livelihoods for years to come

  • Financial Sustainability and Livelihood Development

Micro-lending program – to provide funds with nominal interest to farmers to start their own businesses and cover emergencies
Decorticating Machine – to enable farmers to earn additional income from processing coconut husks

Fair Trade is also a way for companies to build strong, reliable, transparent supply chains that foster long-term relationships with farmers. And, it’s an opportunity for consumers to choose high-quality products that also improve lives and protect the environment.

Coconut fiber processing center

We are proud to offer Fair Trade Certified coconut products to create new economic opportunities for coconut farmers across the globe,” said Nora Pittenger, Fair Trade USA’s Senior Manager for Consumer Packaged Goods. “With demand for coconuts on the rise, Fair Trade USA is empowering consumers and businesses to choose products that not only taste good, but also do good.

Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, announced the launch of Fair Trade Certified coconut products into the global market in February 2014. Beginning with coconut waters and oils, Fair Trade USA welcomes the versatile nut into its offerings with the aim of improving the lives of small-scale coconut farmers, and protecting workers in coconut processing facilities. The first Fair Trade Certified coconut products to hit store shelves include: Naked Coconut Water (1 liter), Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil (15 and 23 oz. glass), as well as Nutiva’s O’Coconut Treats. Recently launched products include: Arrowhead Mills coconut flour, Rice and Shine Cereal and Spectrum Coconut Oil.

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!






TPPlogo11-300x238Here’s what you need to know – the Obama administration still has sights set on completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest treaty of its kind, with secret text, closed door negotiations and a yes/no vote in Congress, without debate or discussion. We can prevent this, and we must be prepared to act this November.

A Summary of Recent TPP Negotiations – Ottawa to Hanoi
The failed attempt to have Fast Track (or TPA – Trade Promotion Authority) ended in the spring session of Congress, but has not stopped rounds of discussions between country and corporate negotiators through the summer.

Eight days of talks occurred in Ottawa, Canada in early July. While certain concessions were reached dealing with trade in services and intellectual property, agreements between the U.S. and Japan stalled, with Japan seeking exclusion of sensitive agricultural products (rice, wheat, sugar, dairy, beef and pork) from the TPP.

Negotiators met for another ten days of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, which concluded (sadly for us, those opposing the TPP) with optimistic messaging from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In a statement released, it announced,

“Having reduced the number of outstanding issues, the United States and the other 11 TPP countries share a commitment to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible, including both on the text and market access packages.”

However, not all the reports our of the Hanoi round were as rosy, with others stating only ‘limited progress’ was achieved.

Additionally, Japan’s deputy chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiroshi Oe said, “We were not able to make as much progress as we had expected,” after leaving a working-level meeting with Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler in Tokyo.

Each and every stalled round of negotiations is good news for us, giving us more time to mobilize to stop the TPP from passing!

The November Push
While no ‘next’ TPP negotiating meeting has been officially announced, the focus is clearly on November when leaders of TPP countries will gather for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit taking place in China from Nov. 10-11, the East Asia Summit taking place in Myanmar during the week of Nov. 9, and the G20 leaders’ summit taking place Nov. 15-16 in Australia.

President Obama, the USTR and Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee have referred to these November meetings as places where side TPP negotiations can take place.

Also on deck for November, in the United States Congress, is the likely re-introduction of a version of Fast Track (TPA) – with hopes that when TPP text negotiations conclude there will be swift federal approval of the treaty. Both Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden and Speaker of the House John Boenher have stated that they intend to prioritize TPA during the Lame Duck session.

On September 10, over 600 organizations, including Global Exchange, signed and delivered a letter  to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen Wyden, to register dissent with the Fast Track model and lay out provisions for “a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements that provides for more congressional and public accountability.”

Meanwhile, in Berkeley, CA, on September 9, the Berkeley City Council passed the Berkeley Resolution to Protect Democracy and the Public Interest from TAFTA & TPP Trade Agreements. The resolution declares Berkeley to be a TPP and TAFTA Free Zone. Berkeley will not recognize trade provisions and tribunal rulings related to these agreements. Specifically, it states:

“to every extent allowable by law, rules which do not promote the interests of workers, protect the environment, and improve the quality of life in all participating countries and which were negotiated without transparency as well as meaningful congressional and public input, and related tribunals’ rulings, will not be recognized.”

*The TAFTA is the TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also currently under negotiation the is a proposal to create a trans-atlantic free-trade area covering Europe and North America. Such proposals have been made since the 1990s and since 2013 an agreement between the United States and European Union has been under negotiation: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Once complete, if combined with free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and the European Free Trade Association it could form a free trade area covering a large portion of the two continents.


Defeating the TPP depends on taking action this fall. Once the mid-term elections are over, things are expected to move fast. Stay up-to-date by joining Global Exchange’s News and Action email list for updates and action alerts.

Call your Representative’s office and leave a message urging them to oppose Fast Track in any form. The Congressional switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

Join the Week of Action November 8-14. We’ll keep you up to date, also check here.

Fair Trade clothing After the summer sun begins to fade, I am directed toward the cozy and fabulous fashions of fall. I am dedicated to the finesse of fall weather and clothing. Dark charcoal, heather gray and creamy whites mix with cobalt blue, turquoise teal and royal purple make up the rich color palette for this fall, fair trade season. Fall is burnt orange and hot pink sunsets, crimson leaves, ponchos with fringes, chunky cowl neck sweaters and warm wool hats, gloves and scarves. This fall I am so excited to welcome Indigenous Designs clothing into our Berkeley shop!

Ponchos, cardigans and raglan pullovers are just a few of the treasures we are proudly carrying. The Hooded Jacquard Cardigan, stands out with it’s geometric pattern and is knit with the most luxurious blend of super fine guage alpaca, organic cotton and soft tencel. This cardigan will help ease any summer blues.

lux tee


After last season the much awaited long EZ skirt has made a comeback in beautiful night shadow (purple) which perfectly pairs with the Luxury Long Sleeve Tee both made from 100% organic pima cotton jersey, so soft it melts in your hands.




Fair Trade clothingIf you are looking for beautifully designed, high quality clothes made from only the finest organic and natural fibers we have them here.


Fair Trade clothingRare to the fashion world and a progressive beacon, Indigenous Designs commits to producing quality clothes without compromising the environment and stays steadfast to the artisan cooperatives they work with by ensuring fair trade wages.

I catch myself daydreaming about sitting in front of a fire wearing my new hooded sweater, steam rising up from a cup of hot coffee, knowing, happily that my sweater was made honoring the hands who knit it and with respect to the planet around it.

I invite you to come in and share the joy of fall. Come in see the new design of the Berkeley shop, try on our fall clothing and become inspired for your holiday shopping.


Fair Trade clothing

The following post was written by Sakshi Pathania, Global Exchange’s Social Media and Online Communications intern. Global Exchange thanks Sakshi for all her hard work this summer. She will be missed!


Coming from a place where morals and values are still held high in spite of the ever growing need for westernization to a city that is liberal, multicultural, yet beautiful. My journey from New Delhi to San Francisco has been no less than what I ever dreamt of. Having pursued my education in Journalism with a career background in media and communications, I became an integral part of media campaigns and revolutions around human rights and social justice in New Delhi.

My belief in standing up for these issues and life experiences brought me to Global Exchange. What better way to support a cause that is close to your heart and using a medium where your interest lie than to take up the Social Media summer internship at Global Exchange.

With a well structured internship program in place, I began my internship under the guidance of Global Exchange’s Online Communications Manager-Zarah Patriana. While working closely with her, I not only gained practical online community management experience but also helped to promote Global Exchange’s campaigns, events, actions, and programs.

One such event that I became a part of was the 12th Annual Human Rights Awards Gala. The 12th annual Human Rights Awards were held May 8th, 2014. I helped promote the inspiring event on social media and witnessed an evening that honoured the great work by 2014 honorees: The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Schools, Maria Estela Barco Huerta, and the Cuban Five.hra

By keeping Global Exchange in a mix of tweeting, facebooking and blogging, I got to manage social media networks and learned the latest tips & trends. From creating social media content on Community Rights, Green Festival, Reforming FIFA, Reality Tours to blogging on Fair Trade and interviewing the winners of What about Peace program, this internship has definitely opened my eyes to a variety of issues concerning human rights that need immediate attention in our society.

An interesting aspect of my work is the ability to analyze, manage and grow social media channels and audiences by undertaking several workshops and projects on communication strategy. Coming up with social media best practices and brainstorming on how it can be implemented has been very challenging yet fun.

The best feature in the whole internship program is the weekly intern workshops that featured various campaigners and speakers who talk about the issues we are concerned about. One of these issues that Global Exchange is actively involved is Fair Trade Program and the Ghirardelli campaign. It’s an ongoing campaign that really excites me and was my summer project too!


Global Exchange has actively challenged the entire cocoa industry to stop using child labor and start using Fair Trade certified cocoa and this summer our target was San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate company.  We came up with a social media strategy to best target Ghirardelli and urged them to go Fair Trade! And yes, Ghirardelli definitely heard us loud and clear. Ghirardelli executives have agreed to meet us very soon.

As I spend the last day of my internship in Global Exchange, I remind myself of the take-aways. They have been many-gaining knowledge on human and social justice issues, learning online advocacy tools and enhancing social media skills.

2014-07-24 12.33.21

But one thing for which Global Exchange will always remain special to my heart is that this program opened my mind to a whole new experience. It has built a new road for my career-breaking into Social Media.

And my journey begins here…


The following blog post is written by Global Exchange summer intern, Sophie Ipsen about her summer project researching corporate criminals for our Top Ten Most Wanted Corporate Criminals of 2014 list. Thank you, Sophie for all your help and hard work all summer!


I’m Sophie Ipsen, a 20-year-old college student studying international relations and global business at the University of Southern California.

Growing up, I started volunteering in my community: tutoring low-income students, serving food to recovering drug-addicts, and assisting people with disabilities. These experiences first opened my eyes to the injustices and inequalities in my own backyard. Now, as a young adult and an American consumer, I have become cognizant of the global challenges created by the corporate domination all around the world.

Large corporations control almost everything we touch: from the clothing we wear, to the computers we work on, to the medications we take, and even the food we eat. I was aware of sweatshops, human trafficking, and forced labor prior to my time at Global Exchange, but I had not fully considered all the implications of today’s corporation giants. Over the past several weeks, I have been investigating corporations that are guilty of human rights abuses and environmental disasters for Global Exchange’s Top Ten Most Wanted Corporate Criminal List of 2014.

It was through this process that I realized these large corporations are not only forcing cheap or wage-free labor, but also seizing indigenous lands, destroying communities, causing species extinction, and killing people in devastating factory disasters, just to name a few offenses. Of course I had heard stories on the news about horrific disasters like the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, but I, as do many others, had not truly understood how this connects to my daily life and my decisions. The fact is the companies that are exploiting human rights and the environment everyday are the same companies from which we consume everyday.

But this does not have to be the case, we are the consumers and fortunately we have the ability to decide what we purchase. There is a tremendous opportunity available for us, the consumers, to take a stand, boycott corporations violating human rights, and support institutions like Fair Trade.

This summer, the other interns and I embarked on a project to continue Global Exchange’s campaign pressuring San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate Company to go Fair Trade. We worked together to plan a virtual, online rally as well as an in-person rally at the San Francisco flagship store in Ghirardelli Square on July 24th. While preparing for our big day, we visited Fair Trade USA’s offices in Oakland and got an in-depth look at Fair Trade and how the certification process works. I learned that Fair Trade certified cocoa farms ensure that no child labor is used, farmers earn a fair, living wage, and a premium goes back to the community.


Global Exchange interns at Ghirardelli rally

After doing our research and preparing our rally materials, we took to the streets and started talking to our fellow consumers. Many people were very interested in learning about Fair Trade and joined in to tell Ghirardelli to make the important switch. This experience, speaking with Ghirardelli’s consumers started to spread the word about the importance of purchasing power, and showed me that the general public really can make a difference. Corporations really do listen to their consumers, and it takes our voices to make our desires known. As consumers we can endorse Fair Trade through our purchases of commodities like chocolate, coffee, bananas, sugar, and even some jewelry and clothing.

As my research continued, we finalized the corporations for this year’s Corporate Criminals list, and I then connected with other non-profit organizations challenging these corporations. I learned that large corporations really care about their public image, and do not like to be publicly shamed. When people start to speak up and spread the word about a corporation’s abuses, the corporation has to start taking action. The more the people know about a corporation’s abuses, it is less able to continue these abuses in the public eye.

So which corporations made the list? There are 10 companies form a wide variety of industries. And the corporations are… Alpha Natural Resources, Bayer, Carnival Corporation, FIFA, Gap Inc., Ghirardelli, Glencore Xstrata, HSBC, Koch Industries, and PepsiCo. This year we also decided to include Monsanto as a “repeat offender,” as it has been featured on our list before. Now that you know the corporations, you may have expected a few, and are probably surprised by a few as well. I strongly encourage you to read the list, and discover the unfortunate truth about these corporations!

I hope that after reading through the list, you will reconsider these corporations and take action through what you purchase. Additionally, we have added a new element to the list this year, an opportunity for you to easily take action from home. Each featured corporation includes a link to take action by either emailing an executive or signing a petition. I encourage you to do so and to also connect with other organizations working on the issues.

Take-ActionThis is an opportunity for you to start conversation about human rights and environmental abuses in your own networks. Share the information with your family, friends, and co-workers. You can start by making small changes in your everyday life that will grow and become large positive changes for our world. It’s time to fight back against corporate power and give the rights back to the people. Use the list as an educational opportunity, and then take a stand to put people over profits!

Ghirardelli_FTlabel450pxThis year, we’ve emailed Ghirardelli’s headquarters over 700 times and more than 10,000 people have joined the call to ensure that the premium chocolate sold is made using certified Fair Trade cocoa.

Ghirardelli Chocolate claims to make premium chocolate by carefully selecting cocoa beans of the highest quality, but real quality should not come at the cost of environmental destruction, poverty, and bitter child labor. We are demanding the company label its chocolate as certified Fair Trade

Earlier this month we were set to meet with Ghirardelli’s leadership, however they postponed the meeting a second time. And now it’s time we take to the streets!

Join us on Thursday, July 24 to tell Ghirardelli to go Fair Trade.

We think this issue is too important to be postponed. We want Ghirardelli to start listening NOW!

On Thursday, July 24th, we are calling on the Fair Trade community to come together to speak up for cocoa farmers and urge Ghirardelli to Put a Fair Trade Label On It.

Join us for a rally at Ghirardelli’s flagship store during the height of tourist season. We’ll be collecting signatures to our petition and educating passersby about Ghirardelli’s practice and the benefits of Fair Trade to producers around the globe.

Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf
Thursday, July 24, 2014
12pm – 2pm

See you at Ghirardelli Square

Can’t make it? Sign up to take part in our virtual rally on July 24th.

Holy Land PestoQ: What has a robust aroma, flavors evocative of fresh fruit, a peppery bite and a hint of bitterness?

A: Holy Land olive oil from Palestine, available at Global Exchange Fair Trade shop in Berkeley.


Tonight I am using Holy Land olive oil to make:

Holy Land 2014-3

  1. Delicious and versatile no-cook pesto sauce for pasta
  2. Baby heirloom tomato salad drizzled with olive oil
  3. Kale, feta and carrot salad drizzled with olive oil

The flavor of this olive oil is enough to dress salads alone but I added a dash of salt, pepper, and lemon.

Pesto Ingredients:

1/4 cup walnuts

Holy Land Pesto

2 cups packed chopped basil

1/2 cup grated hard Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons HOLYLAND extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method: Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. I am adding this pesto to hot noodles but it can also be paired with steamed vegetables, used as a spread on sandwiches or served as a simple and healthy dip with raw veggies or pita chips.

Holy Land Pesto

Holy Land is proud to be the first to import Palestinian olive oil into the U.S. and their mission is to create and sustain a permanent market for Palestinian farmers. Your purchase of Holy Land is valued as an expression of support for the olive farmers. Reading about Palestinian olive trees, looking at beautiful pictures of Palestine and enjoying the rich taste of this olive oil makes me want to experience the harvest for myself, luckily I have a great connection.

Global Exchange invites you to travel to Palestine and Israel for a very special “Fair Olive Harvest” Reality Tour to learn how Fair Trade cooperatives are restoring hope and providing economic alternatives to a population under occupation.

Holy Land Pesto

Witness communities building economic alternatives by way of the Fair Trade model, experience and cultivate a greater appreciation of Palestinian traditions, food and people, and spend a day or two harvesting olives with a farm family. Participants will also discuss integral human rights issues with Palestinian and Israeli organizations, as well as observe first-hand the effects of occupation on the Palestinian economy, the land and life.

Become inspired to change the U.S.’s negative role in the conflict, and become a conduit for promoting solidarity between internationals and Palestinian farming communities while learning the benefits of supporting Palestinian Fair Trade products in the U.S. 

Photography by Lauren Matley

Karas' of ElmwoodWe just received our summer shipment of hand, blockprinted table cloths from India so I invited Kara Hammond, the amazing General Manager of The Elmwood Café to come in and choose her favorite design. Afterwards Kara invited me to her café for my favorite hot drink!

“The Elmwood District” is a neighborhood in Berkeley where the Global Exchange Fair Trade shop has lived since 1991. Right across the street from us is The Elmwood Café which first opened its doors in 1921. The Elmwood Café serves locally sourced, seasonal goods from artisanal producers and wholeheartedly believes that “the simple things in life can be really fantastic when done well.”

Karas' of Elmwood

In addition to truly delicious food, every month The Elmwood Café funds a different community partner who works to create meaningful change. They call this:  One Community Program.

At the Global Exchange shop, we source our beautiful tablecloths from Natural Habitat.

Karas' of Elmwood

Natural Habitat is just one of our partners who creates meaningful change in peoples lives through fantastic, Fair Trade work. Natural Habitat‘s hand-woven tablecloths are made from only natural fibers, are as ecologically friendly as possible and all block printing is done by hand and by traditional production techniques.

Kara walked over on a bright sunny morning and looked through our variety of tablecloths. As we dove into the beautiful fabrics we talked about the intricacy of block print patterns, the softness of the cotton, richness of color and the heart, soul and hands behind each tablecloth.

Karas' of Elmwood

It took time, but Kara found her favorite design, Muskoka! Muskoka is a blend of chartreuse, indigo, white, and teal with a contemporary mod pattern.  Muskoka (like all our cloths) comes in 60×60 or 60×90 and don’t forget matching napkins!

Karas' of Elmwood

Carrying her new tablecloth with matching napkins, Kara and I walked across the street to The Elmwood Café. Kara knowingly, made me my usual–a delicious latte–and we continued our conversation.

I would love for you to see all of our new treasures! Come in to the shop, choose your favorite summer tablecloth and then let’s go to The Elmwood Café for a treat!


Photography by Lauren Matley