A Happy Fair Trade & Vegan Halloween!

It’s that time of year when kids young and old can get dressed up and enjoy spooktacular festivities, and we’re here to help you have a fun AND fair time.

Each year American spend billions of dollars on Halloween candy, but not all candy is created equal. Many chocolates and sugars come from supply chains that can include underpaid workers, child labor, and even slave labor, which is why we have some better ideas to keep the “scary” out of your sweets.

beth-teutschmann-154958“Trick or Treat! Now give us something FAIR to eat!”

For your one-stop-shop we suggest your local Whole Foods Market which should have a plethora of fair trade and vegan options.

  • Endangered Species Chocolate bars: not only are they fair trade but they donate also 10% of all profits to support conservation efforts. Plus, they offer plenty of vegan options including dark chocolate, espresso, and cacao nibs. Think of your typical Hersey’s or Crunch Bar, only better.
  • YumEarth Organic Pops: these delicious lollies come in a variety of flavors and are guilt free at the same time with no artificial flavors or colors, no preservatives, plus are gluten free and organic. Just don’t tell the kids that.

michal-grosicki-239853Now, if you’re like the rest of us and order online we have another great place for you! It’s called the Natural Candy Store, a fully functional online store specializing in natural and organic ingredients. Most of these delicious candies can never really be found in stores and they have fast and reliable shipping, including next-day shipping for your procrastinators. Beyond fair trade, they seek out recycled and biodegradable supplies, too. They even have an entire Halloween Candy section for easy shopping!

And don’t forget the apps! The Food Empower Project has a extensive list of fair trade and vegan chocolates, as well as an app for your iPhone or Android.

Happy Halloween!

9 Fair Trade Coffee Shops in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city on the go, and nothing keeps us going quite like a cup of joe – or perhaps several, depending on the day.

While most people may think of LA for our traffic, our celebrities, and our amazing food scene, one thing you may not know is that we also have an abundance of Fair Trade coffee shops to keep you fueled. No matter what part of town you’re in, you can find a thoughtful cup of coffee that supports global farmers and local small businesses.


Groundwork Coffee

Locations: Venice, Arts District, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Santa Monica, North Hollywood, Downtown, and The Grove

With 10 locations around Los Angeles from Venice to North Hollywood, Groundwork Coffee is one of the first fair trade certified organic coffee roaster in Southern California. Established in 1990 they are dedicated to maintaining the well-being of the people, environments, and economies of their entire supply chain, including using solar panels for manufacturing and sustainable materials for packaging. 

Find a shop near you: www.groundworkcoffee.com

Black Dog Coffee

Location: 5657 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036 

Serving coffee the past 18 years, every coffee drink (except the Bulletproof Coffee) is made from freshly delivered Groundwork Coffee organic and fair traded beans. Black Dog Coffee serves vegetarian and vegan options and is famous for their authentic Chicago Dog and Caffe Cubano. A pup friendly location, owners Mr. and Mrs. Black are animal lovers and donate a portion of their Friday profits to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Get more details: www.blackdogcoffee.com


screen-shot-2017-09-19-at-10-28-32-amIntellegentsia Coffee

Locations: Silverlake, Venice, Pasadena

Founded in 1995, Intellegentsia started in San Francisco and expanded to Chicago before landing in Los Angeles. They stick to their roots by roasting everything in-store with their old fashioned but quality equipment and practices. Intellegentsia goes above and beyond by paying above Fair Trade prices for delicious transparent coffee and adhering to sustainable farming and environmental practices.

Get more details: www.intelligentsiacoffee.com


TOMS Coffee Bar

Locations: Venice, Glendale

The popular minimal slip-on known for their humanitarian efforts has done it again but with coffee too! You can find their shops at two locations, in Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd and at the popular Americana in Glendale. TOMS buy a pair give a pair to a child in need has transferred that module to their savory roast also. With every TOMS Roasting Co. product you purchase, TOMS will help provide safe water to a person in need. TOMS partners with organizations like Water For People to provide safe water in 7 countries through sustainable, community-owned water systems. With TOMS Roasting Co. farmers are paid fairly, communities get safer water, and you get delicious coffee.

Find a shop near you: www.toms.com/toms-roasting-co



Cafecito Organico

Locations: Silverlake, Pacoima, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Malibu

“Supporting biodiversity and livelihoods” is the message you’ll see when you walk through their doors. Growing from roasting quality batches in a garage to farmers markets all over Socal, Cafecito Organico works with small growers and family farms that produce high quality coffee sustainably. Cafe Organico’s involvement with local community groups and grassroots organizations allows them to promote social and environmental justice while also paying a just price to ensure that the coffee producers can sustain a quality livelihood. 

Find a shop near you: cafecitoorganico.cratejoy.com


With Love LA

Location: 1969 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA

In South LA on Vermont Ave, With Love LA believed in bringing communities together from all walks of life. In the Market you will find a mix of local, organic, natural and delicious food and drinks. This was made possible by the California Freshworks Fund, who is public-private partnership loan fund created to bring grocery stores, markets that offer fresh produce, and other innovative forms of healthy food retail and distribution to communities that do not have them. Now a non-profit 501(c)(3) with their With Love Community Programs, With Love LA offers free classes around healthy eating, child development, exercise and other life skills, enabling our community to thrive. It’s amazing what a community market and popular cafe can do together!

Get details: www.withlovela.com



The Coffee Connection

Location: 3838 South Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA  90066

Coffee Connection has a rich past, once being a landmark Italian restaurant called Bruno’s Ristorante and then in 2000 transforming into the destination for certified fair trade, organic, shade grown, and carbon free coffee, espresso, tea & specialty drinks, along with a selection of locally prepared deli sandwiches, empanadas, salads & panini. This non-profit coffee shop offers affordable prices for everyone while still maintaining quality, and participates in community outreach with a variety of local charities. 

Get more details: coffeeconnectionla.com


Homegirl Cafe

Location: 130 W. Bruno St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Started by Homeboy enterprises back in 1992, Homegirl Cafe has a mission to help adolescents with no family support or direction. Homegirl Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and Saturday brunch, featuring an innovative veggie forward menu of contemporary Latin American cooked fresh daily. Homegirl Café & Catering is where young men and women are placed in what is often their first “real job,” learning to work side by side with their former enemies and gaining fundamental job skills in a supportive environment. Homeboy industries really does serve a beacon of hope and opportunity with one cup of coffee at a time. Meet the newly changed lives on Bruno Street in Los Angeles, just minutes away from Grand Park!

Get more details: www.homeboyindustries.org



Locations: West Hollywood, DTLA, Mid City

Originally started in Santa Cruz, Verve pays their farmers premiums for quality coffees through direct trade relationships. Their direct trade practice allows them to exceed Fair Trade minimums every time, with no exceptions. Nothing in their roasting facility is automated, with every step done by hand and with great attention to detail.

Get more details: www.vervecoffee.com


Did we miss a coffee shop? Let us know your favorite spot for Fair Trade coffee!

Fair Trade Pop-up

Join Fair Trade LA members at this beautiful pop-up selling Fair Trade items from around the world.

Fair Trade Pop-up

Join Fair Trade LA members at this beautiful boutique selling Fair Trade items from around the world.

Fair Trade Pop-up

Join Fair Trade LA members at this beautiful boutique selling Fair Trade items from around the world.

October 2016: Top 10 Reasons to Join Us and Why You Want to be There



Join Us:
GlobalFest 2016 Sunday Oct 30th, 1-4pm! Click here for info.
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GlobalFest Treats!

Dia de los Muertos

Sunday Oct 30th

Though ghosts and goblins abound, fear not, as you’re invited to a rare treat as Fair Trade LA celebrates its 11th anniversary by hosting GlobalFest 2016 at the USC Caruso Catholic Center on Sunday, October 30th 1-4pm. Treats include:

-A spooktacular entertaining and lively afternoon is assured.

-With monsters and mummies ensconced in their bog we will safely regal our honorees. They include Laurel Averill, a dynamic member of FTLA and owner of a fair trade business, Ten Thousand Villages of Pasadena and Redondo Beach, and The Little Market.

-With no zombies in sight, grog will be safely administered. Fair Spirits and REBBL will provide cocktails and ONEHOPE, which supports a cure for breast cancer and an end to global hunger, will provide the wine.

-There will be no apple bobbing or toad tossing but Leslie’s Party Rental will have mouths watering as they grill their indigenous specialties. Vampires may swear off plasma after they taste the goodies provided by Cup My Cakez.

-Spanish guitar music provided by Marcus Nand and the Silent Auction with fangtastic Fair Trade treasures will be highlights of a magical day you will long remember.

Photos from Cup My Cakez, Marcus Nand and Fair Spirits.


Fair Trade

Looking forward to seeing you there!


October 8
San Gabriel Regional Congress
Bishop Amat High School
La Puente

October 9
A Taste of Encino
Ventura Blvd, Encino
(between Balboa Blvd and Amestoy Ave)

October 16
Church of the Epiphany
2808 Altura St
Los Angeles
*short presentation about LA Campaign at their services (10am Spanish, noon English)

October 22
Homeboy 5K (Fair Trade LA table)
130 Bruno St
Los Angeles

October 22
Our Lady of the Angels Regional Congress
St. Mary’s Academy

October 30
GlobalFest 2016
USC Caruso Catholic Center
844 W 32nd St., LA

Fair Trade Campaigns

Help make LA a
Fair Trade Town

Volunteer Outreach Days

Join the campaign to make LA a Fair Trade Town! Check out the campaign website here. We are planning outreach days, events and more. Outreach days are when volunteers get together and hit the streets! We meet at a central location and go out in teams of two or more to have conversations with businesses in the area about the campaign. Our last Outreach Day in Westwood was both successful and fun. This is a great way for new volunteers to learn about Fair Trade LA. We also have volunteer opportunities for events, blogging, and other outreach opportunities. We want your voice to be heard. Our Campaign is growing every day and you can be part of it. If you are interested in volunteering, just email the Los Angeles Fair Trade LA Town Campaign Coordinator Michele Rolph here. We look forward to hearing from you!


One of our wonderful Interns!

Nikkie Belindar Singh

Nikkie is one of our fabulous interns, a third year student at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a San Francisco native. Enjoy getting to know her in her own words:

Sustainability has been an interest of mine since I can remember, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about Fair Trade Los Angeles (FTLA). Soon after UCLA became a Fair Trade University (!!!), I joined FTLA’s campaign that aims to make Los Angeles the largest Fair Trade city in the United States.

A highlight of this outreach has been getting to know brands that support Fair Trade like Alter Eco, a brand of Fair Trade Certified chocolate, sugar and grains. You can learn about their sustainable focus and the farmers who made the products here. Learn more about my experience with FTLA here.


Intern Highlight: Nikkie Belindar Singh

Nikkie Belindar Singh PhotoHello, my name is Nikkie. I am a third year student at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a San Francisco native. Sustainability in all its different forms has been an interest of mine since I can remember, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about Fair Trade Los Angeles (FTLA). Soon after UCLA became a Fair Trade University(!!!), I joined FTLA’s campaign that aims to make Los Angeles the largest Fair Trade city in the United States. My primary responsibility is to build relationships with local businesses in order to spread awareness about Fair Trade and recognize those businesses selling Fair Trade Certified products. If a business sells at least two Fair Trade Certified products, we recognize them as part of the LA Fair Trade Town Campaign on the Fair Trade Campaigns website. Benefits from that include free networking and advertising. Look for your favorite businesses and organizations to see if they are participating yet at our campaign website: www.FairTradeCamaigns.org/los-angeles-ca.

Before I started outreach, I was nervous that the information I was trying to convey would not be well-received. I wanted to do justice for FTLA, so I practiced my spiel on family and friends for days before I went out to retail locations. Despite my nerves, every person I spoke to seemed genuinely interested in Fair Trade and it felt so good to be able to spread awareness about it. I also very much enjoyed connecting with my local community about such an important message. I have been pleasantly surprised by how kind people can be. Some people are very well informed about Fair Trade and I have been able to introduce them to our organization and invite them to our meetings. Sometimes, people know nearly nothing about Fair Trade, which gives me the opportunity to educate my community about it and FTLA.


Unreal Candy can be found at Whole Foods.

I began by visiting smaller businesses and was able to connect with owners of the stores or people very involved and knowledgeable about purchasing for the store. The larger stores seemed daunting, but I found that, even at huge chains such as Whole Foods, everyone was very friendly and approachable.

Another highlight of doing outreach has been getting to know brands that support Fair Trade. One of my favorite is Alter Eco, a brand of chocolate I found at EarthBar. The Alter Eco dark salted burnt caramel chocolate bar is something I was drawn to for several reasons. First, I love dark chocolate and I think salted caramel is probably the best flavor on the planet! But mostly, I love the brand. Alter Eco also sells chocolate, sugar, quinoa, and rice, all of which are Fair Trade certified. On their website, they describe their relationship with their farmers as well as the brand’s focus on sustainability as a whole, which is something about which I am really passionate. On the Alter Eco website, you can click on their products and meet the farmers behind the products! The brand is so sustainably aware, which I think is really inspiring.


Atilio Perez, a farmer who makes Alter Eco’s quinoa.

All in all, working with FTLA has been very meaningful to me. Every time I get to explain what Fair Trade is and what FTLA does, it reminds me how important the cause is and how my time can make an impact on a city as large as Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Fair Trade Town campaign is recognizing businesses and organizations within the city of LA that support Fair Trade. If your organization serves or would like to serve a Fair Trade Certified product at meetings, in the office, or at events, let us know! If your business sells or would like to sell at least 2 Fair Trade Certified products, let us know! The campaign can recognize your commitment by listing the organization or business here. You will be connected to consumers and other businesses who support Fair Trade through this free advertising and networking opportunity. Help make Los Angeles a Fair Trade Town! Email the Los Angeles Fair Trade LA Town Campaign Coordinator Michele Rolph here. or visit our website FairTradeLA.org.

Member Highlight: Rachel Winokur of Rachel Winokur Interiors


I’m on the far right in the hat (in a sweater knit by my mom)!

A little bit about myself:

Much of my childhood in New England was spent enjoying the outdoors and that included living on a sailboat when I was about 8 for 2 ½ years. Also, I was named after Rachel Carson (my middle name is Carson) who was an environmentalist and wrote books like the well known Silent Spring. So at an early age, I developed an appreciation and respect for nature. However, it wasn’t until much later that I was aware of other important aspects of sustainability and that includes fair trade.

How did I hear about fair trade?

Given my strong relationship to the environment, I focused my business, which started in 2007, on sustainable design. However, I didn’t realize at first that to be truly sustainable, it must include being socially responsible.


These children are part of GoodWeave’s program.

When did I first get involved with fair trade?

I think my first exposure to fair trade in terms of the Interior Design industry (where very few were discussing this topic at the time) was about 7 years ago when I discovered a GoodWeave rug for a hotel spa client. GoodWeave label on a rug certifies that no child was involved in making it. With about 250,000 children making rugs in South Asia, it’s helpful to know which rugs are not. That spa rug not only looks beautiful but my client and I were able to make a difference in the lives of others through its purchase. It just seems so simple to me that if you’re already going to buy a rug, why not buy one that you know didn’t harm the environment or the people involved in making it and that won’t harm the customer who buys it (by being non-toxic).

A little bit about Rachel Winokur Interiors.

CasaSpaEntrance (2)

Eco-luxe spa at hotel Casa del Mar.

Rachel Winokur Interiors is a small Interior Design firm based in LA which I started in 2007. I’ve grown it to serve clients between Boston, LA, Shanghai and Saudi Arabia. I provide my residential and hospitality clients solutions that not only look stunning but are also sustainable which includes being eco-friendly, ethical, non-toxic and durable.

What do I enjoy most about working in fair trade?

I absolutely love being part of the fair trade movement. I find it extremely empowering that I get to choose how to spend my purchasing dollars and that it could literally save a life! Plus, it is an honor to share that opportunity with my clients and teach them solutions and share sources to help them accomplish that.


One of a kind lighting made with hand rolled clay beads by klaylife.

What is unique about fair trade products?

Fair trade design products tend to be unique because they are handmade and many are made throughout the world which means distinctive materials with centuries old techniques as well as innovative processes. They are made with heart and soul. Also, fair trade products allow the consumer to have a direct relationship with the artisan and the result is a respect for the product as well as enhanced joy in having that product in their home.

What action items can you take when shopping for home decor?

My recommendation is to ask a lot of questions when purchasing any item, décor related or not. In addition, there are wonderful resources to help guide you to fair trade products like Sustainable Furnishings Council. Even large brands like West Elm offer fabulous fair trade options. Plus, look for labels like GoodWeave, Fair Trade Certified (from Fair Trade USA) and Fair Trade America.

Member Highlight: Mike Farid, BGREEN and Nature USA


Mike Farid, Owner of BGREEN and Nature USA.

Mike Farid, owner of BGREEN and Nature USA.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am originally from Iran but my Dad made a huge sacrifice to leave a successful life and garment business behind to give me and my siblings an opportunity for a better life in the US in the mid-80s. I actually went to high school in Germany but soon joined my family back in the States once I graduated. My Dad started a small knitting business which after many, many years of hard work, turned into what we have today with Nature USA. I’ve always loved to create things and growing up on the factory floor gave me priceless hours of hands-on experience in manufacturing apparel. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone with a product I’ve helped create that is actually useful to them. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning….that and my beautiful wife and son.

How did you hear about Fair Trade?
I’ve always believed quality products can only be produced by happy, engaged workers. For years we searched for a way to reinforce and get recognition for all the good work we do for our employees, our community and our environment. I began hearing about Fair Trade products (coffee, chocolate, etc.) and was very interested to see if I could find a way for our manufacturing to be part of such a great mission. However, apparel manufacturing wasn’t even included as an option to be Fair Trade Certified (FTC) until about 5 years ago. I ended up approaching Fair Trade USA to let them know I was interested in becoming certified, and they let me know there were actually no FTC factories in the United States. So I quickly told them I would love to be considered to become the first. Because there were no Fair Trade standards in place for apparel manufacturing in the US, it took a year and a half for us to work through the process. I’m very proud of the fact that we did succeed in becoming America’s First FTC Factory in March of 2015.

When did you first get involved with Fair Trade?
About 2.5 years ago, I started down the road to getting certified.Visit to bGreen 7-11-16

Tell us about Nature USA and/or BGREEN.
Nature USA is our private label business and BGREEN our own brand.

What do you enjoy the most about working in Fair Trade?
I enjoy the fact that our workers have the opportunity to earn extra income and that excites and encourages them. To be able to get a few thousand extra dollars a year, as a blue-collar worker, it really can be a major difference in their quality of life. I am thrilled that my partnership with Fair Trade USA gives me the ability to actually make a difference in their day-to-day lives.

What is unique about Fair Trade products?
The Fair Trade Certified™ label on every BGREEN product signifies that rigorous social, environmental and economic standards have been met in our factory and that our workers earn financial premiums with every sale to support sustainable livelihoods for their families and communities.

What action items can our readers take when they shop for clothes?
There are SO many it would take me two hours to get them all out here. However, I think the most important thing your readers should know is that they have a LOT of power over what products they buy and how these products are made. You can greatly influence what happens in the marketplace by choosing to spend your dollars in an intentional and socially/environmentally conscious way.