#BeFair: Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Since I’m eating Fair Trade chocolate today for lunch and nothing else, I have a question for you:

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Leave your answer to be entered to win this bag of Fair Trade goods. After you leave a comment take the BeFair Survey.

Happy last day of Fair Trade month and Happy Halloween!

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#BeFair: Fair Trade vs. Fairtrade

Did you know there were two fair trade organizations? Answer with a YES or NO in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a Fair Trade gift bag.

Huh? There are two fair trade certifications?

Yes, there are. As of 2011 Fair Trade USA, formerly known as Transfair, and Fairtrade International parted ways.

Who has a bigger and better impact? Fair Trade wonks can argue about this all day. From my view, their goal is the same: improve the lives of farmers. They both set minimum prices for farmers and pay social premiums back to farmers. These two points set them above all other certifications in my opinion.

The trick with any certification is that the stricter the environmental and social standards, the fewer farmers and laborers who benefit from the standards….

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#BeFair: Is McDonald’s coffee more ethical than Starbucks?

Have you heard of the Fair Trade, C.A.F.E. Practices, Utz, or Rainforest Alliance certifications? Leave a comment listing the certs that you’ve heard of and you’ll be entered to win a Fair Trade gift bag.

In Where Am I Eating? I mention a major fast food chain that buys a lot of Fair Trade coffee, but couldn’t reveal what chain. Now I can.

It was McDonald’s! Surprised?

Here’s how the section should read now:

You already support fair trade more than you know. Two separate sources confirmed that McDonald’s buys 30 percent of their coffee certified Fair Trade. That’s 22 percent more than Starbucks. Yet here’s the problem: no one knows this or can talk about it publicly because the company is worried that…

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#BeFair: Ending Fair Trade Month with a bang!

October is Fair Trade Month. I know it’s sort of late to be noting this, given that there is only one week of the month left. Better late than never, I guess.

I want Fair Trade month to go out with a bang and will be writing a series of #BeFair posts, starting with the one you are reading right now. If you leave a comment on any of these posts, you’ll be entered to win a shiny environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious gift bag. The winner will be randomly selected on Halloween and will win this…

This gift bag is awesome, but pales in comparison to the absolutely gi-freaking-normous grand prize that Fair Trade USA is giving away (both…

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Indiana Authors Award

“Dude, why do you live in Indiana?”

I’m repeatedly asked that question, and this week I answered it over at the Indiana Authors Award Blog.

I’m honored to be one of three finalists for this year’s Emerging Author Award. The banquet is sold out, but the award-winning and nominated authors will participate in a book signing and Q&A event at the Indianapolis Central Library on October 26.

Here are the details:

Meet the Authors
Central Library’s Clowes Auditorium
10:30 a.m. – 12 noon
Sit down with the winners and finalists of the 2013 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award as they discuss their writing and connections to Indiana. Book sales and signings will follow. Featured will be National Award winner Michael Martone, Regional Award winner James H. Madison, and Emerging Author finalists…

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Shutdown threatening our already questionable food security

Marion Nestle author of SAFE FOOD: The Politics of Food Safety writes that the American food system is “breathtaking in its irrationality: 35 separate laws administered by 12 agencies housed in 6 cabinet-level departments.” She calls the fact that more of us aren’t dropping over with food borne illnesses “nothing less than miraculous, a tribute more to our immune systems, the benefits of cooking and food preservation, and plain good luck than to federal oversight.”

I wrote about this in Where Am I Eating?

In 2001, the United State’s Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) inspected less than 1 percent of imported foods. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, they doubled the amount of imported food inspected. But still in 2004 Tommy Thompson, the then…

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Most awkward hotel check in ever

I had been in airport world for 12 hours and then had to drive two hours in a beat up rental car to a hotel in wine country in California. Back home I would’ve been in bed for a few hours already.

I was tired and in need of a shower.

I almost told the young woman behind the front desk, “Good morning,” when I pushed my way in through the front door. I hoped she would just throw me the key to my room and I could go and collapse on the bed.

Instead she was chipper.The kind of chipper that exhaustion doesn’t like. The kind that just reminds you of how tired you are. We went through the motions–the credit card for incidentals, the complimentary breakfast…

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