Tuesday, November 19, 2013


 The holidays are upon us!  And for most of us that means time with family,  gift giving, delicious food, and too many sweet treats.  But for many producers around the world, particularly those that grow and harvest our sweet ingredients, the holidays and life in general are not so joyous.  

 Lets take a look at two of the most popular baking ingredients, chocolate and sugar.  Both industries are laden with worker exploitation, extremely low wages, environmental degradation, and even child slavery.  According to the European Fair Trade Association, cocoa farmers on average get barely five percent of the profit from their chocolate. Compare this to the trading organizations and chocolate industry which receive upwards of 70 percent of profits - that's 14 times more than their producers!  But in an industry where 40% of the cocoa is slave grown, one might consider themselves lucky to even be getting that five percent.  In Cote d'Ivoire, for example, the US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children work under “the worst forms of child labor” in the cocoa industry and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement.   And the sugar industry is nearly as bad as the Chocolate industry.  In places like Cuba and Belize, where sugar exports make up to 70 percent of the country's total exports, sugar cane farmers are extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in market prices and are some of the most impoverished farmers in the world.  

How sweet does that brownie taste now??  Don't worry, there are alternatives to this system. We don't have to give up our tasty holiday traditions just yet.  Many Fair Trade companies are working hard to provide fair wages, safe working conditions, high quality and environmentally sustainable products.  We just need to support them through our purchases. 

So in the spirit of the coming holiday festivities, and in the hopes that we can all become more conscious about what our holiday sweets support, Awaz Handcrafts is excited to be hosting our first ever Fair Trade Bake Off!

Sunday, December 8th from 10am-2pm 
at The First Presbyterian Church
1200 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205

For a complete list of the Fair Trade Bake Off Rules and instructions, click here.  

   Look for the label!

The winner of the Fair Trade Bake Off will not only bask in the glory of Fair Trade goodness, but will be awarded a whole basket full of Fair Trade gifts! 

We are so looking forward to tasting your delicious holiday sweets!

Please direct questions to info@voiceforempowerment.com.

The Awaz Team

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