Posts with Category Engaged Consumer

Walmart, 112 Dead Bangaldeshis, And You


(My friends at the Fantasy Kingdom amusement park located near the site of the factory that burned on Sunday in Ashulia, Bangladesh, killing 112 workers.)

They stood at the windows of the building, 100-feet above the ground, skin boiling. Fire behind and nothing ahead.

There was no choice.

Was it more courageous to stay and burn or to jump? It takes about two-and-a-half seconds for a person to fall 100 feet. That’s two-and-a-half seconds of air cooling enflamed skin, two-and-a-half-seconds of relief before the end.

One of the advantages — and there are few — of jumping was that your family could identify your body. Eight workers jumped. Workers on the ground thought they were bails of clothing being thrown out the windows,…

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Wear a shirt that changes lives


The good folks at Forgotten Shirts have designed two “Where Am I Wearing?” inspired T-shirts. I’m a huge fan of Forgotten shirts. The shirts are sewn from Fair Trade cotton in Uganda where they provide opportunities to people who could use some. And then they are shipped to Minneapolis where 50 teenagers from poor neighborhoods work part-time to screen print the shirts and participate in a tutoring program.

From Uganda to Minnesota, Forgotten Shirts give opportunities to folks facing poverty. You can’t get more glocal than that. During a time when so many of us have forgotten about the lives of the people who make our stuff, Forgotten…

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Students looking for Cliff’s Notes…

Where am I wearing? (part 1)

How exhaustive is the overview of WHERE AM I WEARING by Well, they made the Lego recreation above about the time I took 19 kids and 1 old farmer to Fantasy Kingdom in Bangladesh. If you are doing a report, story, or are just plain interested in diving into the subjects I wrote about in WEARING, I’ve never seen a better place to start.

This is by far the most extensive review of everything that’s ever been said about my book, both good and bad. These folks did their homework. I’m surprised they didn’t call my grandma to see what she thought.

Here’s how they introduce the book:


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Speaking in Chicago at Fair Trade Towns Conference

I’m the keynote speaker at the Fair Trade Towns conference this weekend in Chicago October 26-28th. I’m speaking on Friday evening, but will probably hang around most of Saturday too.  I’d love to see you there.  It will be the first time I’ll share some of my adventures from Where Am I Eating?
Register here. If you aren’t sure what Fair Trade is, I just wrote an essay for Triple Punditon my experience with Fair Trade coffee growers in Colombia.

What’s your favorite Fair Trade product? What questions do you have about Fair Trade?

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The Time to Be Awesome is Now

Forget decision 2012 (For a moment. You better vote in a few weeks!). Forget Obama vs. Romney. Check out the Kid President. This dude is hilarious and inspiring. His messages:

Be awesome now.

Choose fun.

Don’t be in a party. Be a party!

If people keep throwing balloons in your face, DANCE!

He recorded this video for Krochet Kids International. I saw CEO Kohl Crecilius, CEO of KKi, speak at Ball State last night. I believe that we aren’t going to shop our way to a better world, but what we buy does make an impact. And KKi’s hats are making a big impact by employing 150 women in Northern Uganda. Each of them signs the hats they produce. I’ll write more about KKi later, when I add…

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Fair Trade Changes Lives – Can it Preserve Culture?

I wrote this piece for Triple Pundit in celebration of Fair Trade month.

“This is where the sun was born,” Migoel says of his home, Nabusimake. “If anything happened here, the world would end. This place isn’t just land; it’s spiritual. Can you feel it?”

The setting sun reflects off the clouds, washing the mountains to the east in a perfect pink light that photographers would wait for all day to capture. Migoel — a proud member of the Arhuaco, a group of indigenous people who live in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Northern Colombia — stops to let us “feel” the place.

What do I feel?


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How are you a glocal?

It has been a good week, but the last few days have been tough. I needed a pick-me-up and a reminder of why it is I do what I do. That pick-me-up came in an email from Dr. Cristian Lienick from Texas State University. Texas State is using WHERE AM I WEARING? as a common reader this fall. Here’s what he wrote:

Am I glocal? Yes, no – wait, maybe. I don’t know. I think so, partially. I am well-traveled within the continental United States, yet have only been to another country (Mexico) once, and that was on my honeymoon, which probably doesn’t count. I do not speak another language other than English, even after taking French in high school and Spanish in college. …

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USA Olympic uniforms made in China

TEAM USA uniforms

You can barely press an on button in the last 24 hours and not see someone in Congress complaining that the USA’s Olympic uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren were made in China.

This is grandstanding except when it isn’t

Yes, it’s an election year, but one of the most outspoken members of Congress Senator Sherrod Brown has always been outspoken on this issue. He suggested that Hugo Boss could have designed the uniforms and manufactured them in his home state of Ohio where they have a factory.

I had no idea Hugo Boss had a factory in Ohio. Brown’s point is a good one: Yes, 97% of our clothes are made…

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Coming to a Starbucks near you!


I planted this coffee plant in a farm that provides Starbucks with coffee. In about two years you might be drinking some Kelsey-planted coffee.

From my notes:

I gently place the plant into the ground and cover it up, patting it like I’m putting it to bed.  In this valley surrounded by volcanoes and sweeping vistas, where you damn near can see Ecuador, where the adjectives that come to mind first all seem to be swear words (___ beautiful), my plant looks so defenseless and small.  But tiny little plants like mine planted throughout Colombia, have shaped the lives of the people here every bit as much as the volcanoes have shaped the landscape….

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People aren't proprietary information

I’m at it again. Calling brands, working the corporate phone chain, sending emails, filling out contact forms, and in general not getting anywhere fast.

I’m working on a new book project – WHERE AM I EATING – out in the spring of 2013. In March I was in Costa Rica working as a banana worker and soon I’ll be on a coffee farm in Colombia.

Whole Foods and EARTH University worked with me to arrange my banana farm visit and I’m so grateful. There you have two major institutions kind enough to help me. Awesome! But that’s not always the case.

The other day I received an email from a food brand that you are definitely familiar with. Most of you probably have one of their products sitting…

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