Burning through the Desert         
Dan Rielger & Ayala Moriel

A few months ago (the last day of April, to be exact, which was also the first day of my Orientals week-long course), I had the pleasure and honour to host a special guest throughout the day: Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden - a purveyor of fair trade resins from around the world - especially frankincense and myrrh that are wild crafted in the traditional methods in countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya. He also sources Cretan labdanum, and other rare raw materials, and sells resin-centrered products that he concocts himself, which you can find on his online shop. One of them being a highly fragrant moustache wax which basically surrounded him with a cloud of frankincense - so obviously he made an instant good impression on me!

We started the day at the Baha'i Gardens in Akko (which deserve a full post dedicated to them) and then went to my studio to make incense - and burn a bunch too. Little did I know what I was signing up for. On top of the usual things I burn for this class (palo santo chips, sandalwood incense sticks, one type of myrrh and frankincense resins and my own rendition of Egyptian Kyphi) - Dan had a trunk-load of resins that he just imported from Africa, and was immensely kind and generous to share with us the most incredible incense resins with me and my class. We spent the afternoon burning rare myrrh, olibanum, and also some gums I never knew existed, namely Sandarac and Ammoniacum, the latter of which totally blew my mind.

I learned so much from Dan, about the resins (and the other raw materials he curates and sells), how they are harvested and collected, the chemical makeup of the resins and how it affects the stages of burning (it turns out that incense resins also have top, heart and base notes) - and this post is just a little taste of all the beautiful resins we burnt when he was here. I'm looking forward to meeting him again on his next visits in Israel on the way to the African continent.

Boswellia carterii
Frankincense usually comes in "tears" shape as this Boswellia carterii - but not always. Below is a specimen of the less known B. neglecta that look more like a chunk of resinous granules. B. carterii has the characteristic, most unmistakable scent of frankincense - beginning with sweet citrus notes of lemon drops and orange candy and continuing into more resinous, woody and even balsamic, caramel-like nuances as the incense burns on the charcoal.

While looking pretty much the same, other frankincense species provide further nuances and a whole frankincense burning comparative study (or incense games a-la Japenese Koh-Doh) can easily occupy half a day. Compare this to Maydi (Boswellia frereana) which albeit its slightly herbaceous (sage-like) opening, is more subtle, woody and perfumey. In fact, it smells almost powdery like violet and iris. Ethiopian frakincince (Boswellia papyrifea) is even finer with its suave, light perfume notes, slightly sweet and with notes of burnt sugar at the end of the charcoal burning process.

Boswellia negoecta - black and white

Boswellia neglecta is endemic to north Kenya and comes in white and black forms (as you can see in the photo) and is not widely known. The white and the black smell significantly different. The white begins resinous-green, piney and mysterious, surprisingly juice like crushed leaves with hints of parsley, galbanum and ammonia (smells a lot like amoniacum).  It has a hint of sweaty note, a little like coriander seed. The final burning moments bring to mind the smoke coming out of autumnal piles of fall leaves.

The black neglecta smells completely different - you wouldn't think it came from the same plant: it smells dark and looming, like moss, mushrooms, decaying fall leaves, peat, forest floor and hints of campfire. It's surprising and magical that a resin can possess so many different facets.

Sandarac
Sandarac (tetraclllyris) comes from Malta and just like its pure milky appearance, burns clean with a woody-balsamic-resinous scent that is fine and very pleasant. It's a little bit like elemi, a little like mastic but not quite. There is a tiny hint of seashore to it that I only detected after many times of burning. It is quite lovely, even if underwhelming at first impression.

Ammoniacum
Ammoniacum is intense and pungent, like a mixture of galbanum, asafoetida, sulphur, greens. It it a very interesting odour but I suspect it would have better effect in magic and exorcism ceremonies rather than contemplative incense rituals.

Commiphora confusa

Commiphora confusa, as the name suggests, is a type of myrrh that is hard to identify, and for several reasons: the flowers look different on each plant, the resin looks different as well - and the most surprising of all: it smells more like frankincense than myrrh.

Commiphora myrrha

Commiphora myrrha (from Ethiopea) has the characteristic bitter, rubbery scent when burnt, and is what I'd imagine the Queen of Sheba to wear on her neck when seducing King Solomon.

Commiphora karat

Commiphora kataf (from Kenya) has pieces of wood in it (which would change the smell of the smoke depending on which chunk you burn). It has a strange, sulphuric-sweaty odour. I guess you could call it spicy, as it has a hint of cumin in it too. Overall it reminds me more of the smell of food than incense - barbecuing kebabs comes to mind.

Commiphira holziana
Commiphora holtziana does not smell like myrrh at all to me. It's more woody than C. myrrha, and a tad fresh to start with. Dan describes it as briny and sea-like but I'm not getting it.

Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh
Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh is by far the most incredibly beautiful myrrh resin I've ever burnt. Although it came in a strange looking chunk, containing pieces of the plastic bags used by the collectors, and even a piece of wool yarn, it has the most fantastic scent, like a perfume on its own accord. It reminds me of the unique "version" of frankincense that B. papyrifea offers. I would love to have this as an essential oil and create a perfume with it.


          Comment on What Fair Trade Means and Why You Should Care by Diana        
Great info on coffee consumption!
          Comment on What Fair Trade Means and Why You Should Care by Vivian Dewberry        
Wow! Great information. Thanks so much for sharing!
          GIVEAWAY: Spread the Love! with some Compassion         


There are many interpretations and traditions involved with Valentine's Day. At the core of the legend it seems that Saint Valentine's performed acts of compassion to those who were forbidden to marry by marrying them. 

COMPASSION and EMPATHY
In this fast paced world, with the many expectations that we have on ourselves and others,  compassion can take the back seat. I see Valentine's as a reminder to show compassion. I am not saying that we all need to be the Dalai Lama, but there are things that we can do everyday to brighten up our lives as well as others. Being compassionate for example may involve: 
A kind act : the other day whilst at the shops (this store is notoriously filled with many grumpy people) a man found my gloves that I had briefly lost and was asking everyone who had lost their gloves. He made my day!
Give yourself a break and think positively : I gave a presentation at work the other day. I generally ruminate over what I think I should have said... this time I reminded myself to focus on everything that I did right. 


THE GIVEAWAY and PRODUCTS
I am sharing the love by giving away 2 of my FS Screen Printing products which really encompass the concept of compassion. Both products are certified Fair Trade and Organic. Which means that the workers and environment are treated with more respect and care. The giveaway includes:  



HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
What do you need to do to enter this compassion filled Giveaway? Share the love!

1. Follow @ficklesense and share this post via 
If you do not have these, Follow and comment on instagram or/ follow and favourite on Bloglovin


The giveaway ends on Friday the 27th of February at 18:00 GMT+1 (Berlin time)
Anyone can enter. The winner will be drawn randomly and notified after this date via their chosen social media.

You can see more Organic and Fair trade bags at FS Screen Printing and Handmade Pajamas at Fickle Sense. 



          The Scintilla Project: Day Four        

The prompt: What does your everyday look like? Describe the scene of your happiest moment of every day.

The rich stench of dark, freshly pressed, fair trade, organic lust fills the air whilst the tea kettle whistles. Harmoniously, cats trill and purr, busheled tails dancing to the beat of a new day's desert sun. Standing still in the east corner of my starting over space, the warmth of strong hands descend my neck and shoulders as chills and tangibly goosed skin ascend to meet them. "Good morning, _____", he greets me. I gaze over my left shoulder untoward him and return what we've come to refer to as simply, the look. We each smile, and while no words are uttered, much is said as I grab my mug and he fills his.

I nestle into the soft, floral chair afront my desk, mug raised, blank screen before me, steam fogs my lenses, but I don't care. I am watching him intently from an unobstructed periphery; blinking softly, slowly, steadily, I will the etching of this moment for eternity--which literally begins in less than 6 months.

I lower the mug from my lips just as the telephone rings and a New York City exchange shows on the caller ID. Smiling, I nod in blissful satiation, "Hi ____", I say, raising an octave and my foggy lenses, "I was just thinking about you!"

  
Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.-Gibran
      

          Welcome        

ChocoSol is a small, ecological and inter-communities initiative between farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, sustainable technologists based out of Oaxaca City, Mexico and horizontal traders and chocolatiers in Toronto, Ontario. The initial concept emerged from a research project at the Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca City that resulted in the development of solar roasters.

With the synergy of minds and hearts, the project has grown into an intercultural ad-venture, linking farmers and ecologically-minded producers in Southern Mexico with ecological and socially conscious producers and consumers in Southern Ontario. We work with the growers to help them diversify their production and elaborate their products.

ChocoSol is embarking on a friendlier trade route beyond the Fair Trade model, defining it as horizontal trade. This new structure is:

  • more direct and not determined by the markets in New York
  • akin to community supported agriculture
  • emphasizes diversity of production
  • influenced by Slow Food and food politics, and a form of pro-activism.

ChocoSol believes in the importance of creativity in the labour process and understanding the whole process in order to combine ethical, dietary, and ecological decision-making.

In all its endeavours, ChocoSol ultimately honours the spirit and integrity of all those involved in spreading the joy, flavour and nourishment that the cacao bean offers to the world.

Be Healthy and Happy!

Eat Chocolate and Cacao!

Cacao has been recently recognized as a superfood, meaning that it is filled with a multitude of goodness.

Cacao Beans and Dark Chocolate:

  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Protect us from toxins
  • Increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that promote positive outlook
  • Counter acts clinical depression
  • Balances brain chemistry
  • Build strong bones
  • Detoxify the liver
  • Support healthy pancreas functioning

Cacao Beans contain:

  • two saturated fatty acids, palmitic and stearic acids, and the mono-unsaturated oleic acid
  • Polyphenols with the antioxidant properties called flavonoids
  • Theobromine, a mild stimulant with a mild diuretic action
  • a very low amount of caffeine
  • the essential minerals: magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid

          Captive Interactive Advertising        

I love me some Lost. Occasionally, I actually miss it. And because I don't own a DVR and refuse to pay for it on iTunes because it's free on abc.com, I watch it there. ABC's online distribution is top-notch. More importantly it generates advertising revenue. Even more importantly, some advertisers have gotten very smart how to capitalize on the 30" of time you are captive waiting for your streaming clip to start back up. The first that made me take notice was from Fidelity. Correct, the stodgy old Fidelity got smart with their rich media interstitials.

As you watch an episode of Grey's, Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc, ABC presents the episodes in a handful of blocks. In between said blocks, they break for 30 seconds of commercials. As a viewer, this is a pretty fair trade. You get to watch the videos on demand, and only have to suffer through three or four commercial breaks of 30 seconds instead of five or six at 3 or 4 minutes in length. With that comes a certain appreciation for the advertiser who is "presenting" the episode for your viewing entertainment. I find myself slightly (just slightly) more willing to pay attention to their ads to see what this is all about.

So. I'm watching a missed episode of Lost, which was presented by Fidelity and was shocked by their intelligent use of the interstitial. They know they have you for 30" and that you have little interest in launching a new window to view their ad. So they came up with the "Wheel of Easy". Requiring all of the intelligence mustered up from a Wheel of Fortune contestant you click "spin wheel" - you don't even have to spin the wheel yourself. Be lazy. Then you get a Ze Frank-ish video showing someone doing whatever totally easy, lazy task need be performed.

Once ABC's 30" countdown clock ended I proceeded immediately to the nearest "skip" button so I could finish watching my episode. However, the effect was achieved. For thirty seconds, not only did I watch a Fidelity ad - I engaged in it - the holy grail of advertising experiences. Not to mention I'm writing about it weeks later :/

The step Fidelity has taken is an important one, for them and for other companies trying to navigate the muddy online delivery model. Allow people to engage at a superficial manner in a captive environment and you'll grab their attention.

          Trump Hints At New Limits On Steel Imports        
President Trump is hinting that he may impose tariffs, quotas or both on imported steel in an effort to protect the domestic steel industry. "Steel is a big problem," Trump told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One en route to Paris, where he landed Thursday. "We're like a dumping ground, OK? [Other countries are] dumping steel and destroying our steel industry. They've been doing it for decades and I'm stopping it." "There are two ways," Trump said, "quotas and tariffs. Maybe I'll do both." The Commerce Department has been conducting a review of both steel and aluminum imports under a rarely used 1962 statute designed to protect industries deemed vital to national security. Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters in April that imports now account for more than a quarter of the U.S. steel market, while domestic steel mills are operating at just 71 percent of capacity. Trump railed against what he called unfair trade practices throughout the campaign and has continued to advocate
          Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies        


I just finished the Diamond of the Tough Masters Qualifiers! http://www.diamondofthetough.com/
(40-44 division) Whew! And I was ready for a tasty reward. This fit the bill beautifully! I got this recipe from my dear friend and CrossFit trainer, Michele Mootz. It was past down to her by a friend that had it passed down to her by another friend, and so on (you get the idea)..... Therefore, I do NOT know who is responsible for this amazing Paleo recipe creation to give them the appropriate credit! I am truly sorry for that. I would also like to add that these delicious cookies were made FOR me by my 16 year old daughter who loves to bake Paleo. Am I lucky or what? I hope you enjoy... and if you're even more fortunate, maybe someone will make them for you! :-)

Recipe:
3 C Blanched Almond Flour
1/2 C Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 C Raw (local) Honey
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 C Organic 65% Cacao Bittersweet (dairy-free, soy-free) Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine coconut oil, eggs, honey and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly stir in the almond flour, sea salt and baking soda to the mixture. Add the chocolate chips! Mixture will seem a little sticky, that's okay! Drop spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
Soft, rich and decadent. Hey... we all deserve a treat now and again! One cookie goes a long way!
Enjoy!

* I did find dairy-free, soy-free organic chocolate chips locally at: "Staff of Life". The brand name is: SunSpire, Fair Trade Organic 65% Cacao!



          Ordinary female vice        
There's a post from one of those mumsnet sites that shows how a woman gives in to some specifically female vices. If I were a church leader I would use documents like this to draw a distinction between right and wrong behaviour in women.

Here is the post:
6 reasons why my husband should be my "punching bag"

Have you ever had the kind of fight with your husband where you’re being somewhat irrational and highly emotional and completely exhausted? You know, the kind where you just keep going around in crazy circles until he finally says something like, “What am I supposed to do, be your punching bag?” I have. Quite a few times. It goes down like this: My husband did, or didn’t do, something that made my life a little bit harder at a time when I’m just barely treading water (like, he shaved and left little hairs all over the bathroom that I had to clean up). I call him out and he says I’m upset “over nothing” (his words) but really I have every right to be mad. So, YES, dear husband, you should be my punching bag — and here’s why:

1. My hormones are making me crazy. Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about my period here. As you know, I recently had a baby and unless you’ve ever experienced pregnancy and postpartum (especially postpartum) hormones — which, of course, you haven’t — you just can’t understand what it’s like. In a nutshell, I feel a bit insane. Actually, sometimes a lot insane. I have high highs and low lows. I can be laughing and feeling happy one minute and crying the next. I can loose your sh*t over something really unimportant and not be able to stop myself. (And no, I’m not alone — ask around.) Sometimes these feelings make me lash out at you. And since these crazy hormones aren’t ruling your body, I think you should just take the lashing.

2. I have a baby on the boob all day long. You wouldn’t know this, but breastfeeding is ridiculously hard. It means that I have another person attached to me all day long. It robs me of my energy. It makes me super hungry. Considering how much you whine when you have a little cold, there’s no way you’d last a day after nursing all night long. So, the least you can do is let me take my frustration out on you once in awhile.

3. I resent the crap out of you. I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I resent you. And — sorry, there’s no way to say this nicely — sometimes I don’t even like you. Too often, you’re like an extra kid around the house that I have to take care of, except not as cute. You get to leave the house to work. You always find time to exercise, and you get to shower every day. You even spend 20 minutes in the bathroom all the damn time. On top of taking care of our children, I also run the house, buy the food, make the food, clean up the food, keep track of the schedules, deadlines, bills, and every other mundane detail of our lives. Aside from going to work and helping with the kids, you don’t have to do anything. And I resent you for it. So you should have to pick up the slack by taking a verbal punch from me every now and again.

4. I have no energy for niceties. Sometimes just listening to you talk drains the little bit of energy I have left. I respond and it might sound like the b*tchiest sentence ever. It’s not meant to be. It’s just that I literally don’t have the energy to sound nicer. Things come out fast, hard, and blunt. Whatever takes the least amount of effort to say is pretty much what comes out of my mouth. It’s also often why I say things that make no sense or forget things entirely (it’s called Mom Brain — look it up). So if I say something or respond to you and it doesn’t sound the nicest, just take it and move on.

5. I’d prefer to lose my sh*t on you than on the kids. Some days are so hard that someone has to be my release valve. On those days, it’s a definite that I didn’t get to leave the house alone, and I probably also didn’t get any time to myself (you know the baby hates to nap). If I’m going to lose it, better that it is on you than on the kids. You can take it — you’re a grown up that should be able to remember what I’m going through and where it’s coming from. You can remind yourself that it’s the hormones talking.

6. You expect me to have sex with you. On top of everything else, you still want to have sex. I’m somehow supposed to get in the mood, and feel and be sexy, and have intimate and romantic time with you. So if sex is what you need, a punching bag is what I need. Fair trade?

While I understand the concept of being someone’s punching bag is probably unfair and unappealing, as it turns out so are many aspects of motherhood. You didn’t get postpartum depression. You aren’t still fat with no time to work out. You aren’t treated like a short order cook by your toddler. You don’t have the life sucked out of you by a baby. So let’s call being a punching bag your husbandly duty, and I’ll do my best to drop the punching bag routine…just as soon as I’ve gotten more than two hours of sleep at a time.

Women are tested most when they have small children. It's definitely the case that some women react to the pressures involved the wrong way, by directing negative feelings toward the person doing the most to help them, namely their husband.

But it's one thing for a woman to have vicious thoughts and feelings appear at this time and another to give in to them, as this woman has done. It's a test of feminine character here - a woman of strong character will recognise how irrational and low-natured these thoughts are and do her best to subdue them.

Finally, the post is another reminder to men not to put all that is best within themselves into the relationship with their wife, as there are women who are simply not receptive to this. Men were always supposed to put some of their better qualities into their civilisational role - their role of upholding the larger tradition they belong to and acting in concert with other men to achieve this.
          Fair Trade Coffee        

So while I was trekking the Twin Cities looking for the best coffee houses I kept running into signs advertising for "Fair Trade Coffee." Time to de-mystify that term.

Lets start with a definition of fair trade. Fair trade is an organizational process undertaken by many in the agricultural industry to promote a fair price for raw goods. The general philosophy is to help protect the interests of smaller producers that tend to be marginalized by global companies. Fair trade has grown to become a booming multi-billion dollar industry that grew by 47% year after year (once it caught on that is). Most would argue that success is indicative of the poor times that were experienced by produces prior to organization. While its difficult to surmise what a "fair" price really is in a mostly free market economy, one must admit that fair trade has become something of a marketing phenomenon.

Now lets turn to coffee. Coffee is an agricultural product. As with most ag products, it is raised largely by independent owners and purchased by (in coffee's case) roaster co-ops, speculators, and investors as a commodity. Growing up as a dairy farmer, I can tell you that the economics of supply and demand don't work out very well on a farmer-by-farmer basis. Typically the middle man makes the most money. That could be anyone from a speculator on the New York Mercantile Exchange to Starbucks.

Then, lets combine the two. Fair trade coffee originated with a Dutch company by the name of Max Havelaar Foundation. It was a labeling campaign, meant to enlighten coffee drinkers to the plight of the small time coffee farmer. Well its introduction was of tremendous success, so much so that today, major coffee lines are beginning to carry Fair Trade coffee. Even independent research has shown that fair trade coffee, which seeks to give farmers a negotiated pre-harvest price, has improved the lives of many farm families.

In essence Fair Trade coffee doesn't taste better (necessarily), it isn't better for you, but it may be better for the farmers producing it and that may be a humanitarian effort worth backing.

Ironically, in these hard times one of the first pieces of financial advice is to cut down on consumption (which further depresses markets, leading to a tail spin effect...roughly speaking). One of those items on the cutting board is the $6 Turtle Mocha each morning before work. How do you reconcile that price with poor farmers? The answer is obvious once you know it. The farmers don't get the bulk of that money. In fact, most of that cash is made off of greedy speculation - essentially paper trade. Little if nothing has to do with the actual coffee, the roaster or the Batista that serves it. A lot has to do with selling short and buying long in the commodities trade.

What then is the compromise? How can I look out for my fellow global citizen without breaking the bank? You can certainly look for the fair trade label on products and begin brewing a cup or two of coffee each morning. That will save a ton off the "half-caf, no whip, mocha latte with soy" that essentially is coffee with soy milk and a little cocoa powder. Try it out, you may be surprised how easy it is to get your own self-brewed cup of fantastic coffee.

Now you can ask the question "Is this fair trade?" not for the sake of sounding vogue, but for the sake of helping out a small coffee farmer somewhere in the world.
          Can some corporations become forces for good?        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

By Christopher Booker and Connie Kargbo

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: A tour through the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, passes through the bottling facility and brewhouse, before ending at the bar.

New Belgium is one the largest craft breweries in the country, distributing beer to all 50 states.

When you buy its best known brand, Fat Tire Belgian style ale, that “B” on the label doesn’t stand for beer, it’s stands for B Corp, a designation given to businesses dedicated to more than profit.

KATE WALLACE: I think when you get together with people you realize you have a lot of the same values.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Katie Wallace is New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability.

KATIE WALLACE: If you’re running a business that’s not considering the impact that you have on the environment and society, or the impact that those things have upon your business, then you’re not operating a business that’s really going to be in existence in the future.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium is privately owned and profitable, selling nearly a million barrels of beer a year and generating $225 million a year in revenue.

KATIE WALLACE: For a long time we felt that we kind of stumbled into this for values-based reasons but then found that economically it was a really powerful business model and has been a key ingredient of our success over time

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium took its dedication up a notch in 2013, when it became a certified B Corp, submitting to a rigorous audit of its community impact by the Pennsylvania based B Lab.

B Lab likens the certification to “Fair Trade” for coffee and the “LEED” certification for buildings with environmental and energy-efficient design.

Beyond charitable giving, companies can score more points for making eco-friendly products, offering robust benefit packages, and being transparent in their corporate governance.

New Belgium earned its certification in large part because of its environmental practices: generating 12 percent of its electricity from solar panels and biogas, a fuel they create by the wastewater produced when they make beer. After one year on the job, employees are given bikes to commute carbon free and given shares in the company, which is now employee owned.

KATIE WALLACE: B Corp has given us a way to measure things that aren’t inherently quantitative, but we know are important to us. Like providing 100 percent of our health care premiums for our co-workers or putting solar on site or biogas. It helps us to bring that into a measurement space where we can compare ourselves against other companies and see are we really being leaders in this area or is there a way we can improve?

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Believing business can function as “a force for good,” B Lab has certified 22,000 companies worldwide since 2007. Subjecting mostly small and medium-sized, privately held companies to a 200 point assessment.

The list includes ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s, eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker, and outdoor clothing giant Patagonia.

There are 99 B Corps in Colorado. That includes businesses that don’t manufacture anything like Denver law firm moye white. Attorney Dominick Sekich oversaw its B Corps application.

DOMINICK SEKICH: There are a lot of opportunities that, say, manufacturers have that, as a service organization, we don’t have. We can’t really point to a supply chain that we’ve improved, because our supply chain is fairly short and concrete.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Moye White acheived B Corp certification after it improved a number of employee benefits, expanding paid parental and family leave, increasing flex time, and starting an employee community service group that volunteers with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

Sekich says each time an employee takes advantage of their three-month paid family leave benefit, it can cost the firm between $20,000 and $50,000. But the firm believes it’s worth it.

DOMINICK SEKICH: We’ve had some clients approach us asking us how we’ve committed to the environment, how we’ve committed to our communities, and we’re able to point to our certification as a B Corporation as part of that effort.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: When Moye White was working toward its B Corp certification, it turned to B Lab’s Kim Coupanous for assistance.

KIM COUPANOS: If you look at society in general and all of the good things that capitalism has brought to civilization and humanity over the last hundred plus years, there’s been an equal number of really negative things. Massive income divides biotoxicity, greenhouse gases, you name your kind of social or environmental ill. Capitalism has kind of created that.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Before joining B Lab, Coupanous ran an outdoor clothing company for 16 years.

KIM COUPANOUS: I agree with the profit motive and there’s no bones about that. I also know that the power of business to transform society is huge. And we are going into this new century facing some pretty challenging problems that haven’t been solved by the nonprofit sector or the government sector. And at the same time, there’s this kind of spirit of innovation and optimism, especially among Millennials who say we can do better than this.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Economically, Colorado is doing better than most states. Its 2.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. The Denver skyline is filled with cranes constructing new apartment buildings for some of the 60,000 people who move to the state every year. Most settling in the relatively affluent greater Denver and Boulder areas.

Will this be relegated to areas that are already populated by the upper middle class, the educated, the tech sector? I can think of many corners of America that they just want jobs. They’re not even having the ability to think about how does this save water.

KIM COUPANOUS: Certainly it really can’t be relegated to the realm of upper middle class progressive city. Because if we are trying to create shared and or durable prosperity for all it means cities that are depressed. It means, you know, local businesses, nail salons, and moving companies, and the local garage.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: The B Corp movement is not without its skeptics.

KENT GREENFIELD: It is a band aid on a cancerous patient.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Boston College law professor Kent Greenfield applauds the intent of b-corps but fears the B Corps movement may mask the need for far greater changes to the way American companies conduct themselves.

KENT GREENFIELD: Let’s be honest the real bad actors in the corporate world are not those who are voluntarily opting in .

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Greenfield argues that there must be changes in corporate governance to legally support companies working to be better citizens.

KENT GREENFIELD: As long as it’s voluntary, then it’s still gonna leave bad actors aside. So if you’re a Wall Street hedge fund manager, are you going to prefer companies that are B Corps? Are you gonna prefer companies who are saying, “no, we don’t think that being a B Corp is conducive to the shareholder value?” So I think our efforts need to be aimed at a more fundamental adjustment in the way we think about corporate obligation and the way we govern corporations.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Despite the lack of federal or state regulation compelling companies to function as better actors, there is a way for companies who pursue both profit and social good to be legally protected.

With a push from B Lab, Colorado and 32 other states have passed legislation allowing companies to incorporate as a public benefit corporation, which enshrines their social mission into their articles of incorporation.

This spring, food and beverage company DanoneWave became the largest public benefit corporation in the U.S., with 6,000 employees and $6 billion in annual revenue. A subsidiary of French multinational Danone, DanoneWave makes organic products like Horizon milk, Silk almond milk, and Wallaby yogurt.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: We encourage dietary practices that improve the health of people through food.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Deborah Eschmeyer is the vice president of communications and community affairs.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: When folks go to the grocery store, they want to know that the products are actually doing right by the employees and by the people and the planet.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Its production process is increasingly using natural ingredients and the company has spent money to reduce its waste and promote animal welfare.

Eschmeyer says DanoneWave believes the upfront costs pay off in the long run.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: These are things that help the bottom line. Because waste reduction, for example, is great for the bottom line. It’s also great for the planet. We have this greater goal of showing that you can meet the financial shareholders’ interests and do right by the people and the planet.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: DanoneWave is arguably providing a test case for scale.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: Yes.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How difficult is it to go through this process with such a large company

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: Yeah, I mean, we’re definitely proving the case. We want to make sure that large companies can do this, and we can do this at scale. And DanoneWave is now one of the top 15 food and beverage companies in the United States. And so when we do this, it’s a challenge to other companies to step up as well.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Six more states are now considering benefit corporation legislation. B Lab says it will certify its 100 Colorado company as a B-Corp next week.

The post Can some corporations become forces for good? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Trump threatens payback for U.S. companies that move abroad        
File photo of President-elect Donald Trump by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump has tweeted a threat to companies that move operations overseas while selling their product to Americans. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to impose heavy taxes on U.S. companies that move jobs overseas and still try to sell their products to Americans.

But the plan could drive up prices for U.S. businesses and consumers and risk setting off a trade war — if it’s legal to begin with.

In a series of early-morning tweets Sunday, Trump vowed a 35 percent tax on products sold inside the U.S. by any business that fired American workers and built a new factory or plant in another country.

Trump campaigned on a vow to help American workers but also to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.

Trump tweets “there will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 percent for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units, etc., back across the border.”

He says companies should be “forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake.”

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Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says Trump would face a potent legal challenge if he tried to impose taxes, known as tariffs, on specific companies without congressional approval.

Hufbauer also doubts that Trump could identify a group of companies —those that move jobs overseas, then ship goods back into America — for special tariffs. “I’m skeptical,” he says, predicting that courts would block such a move.

University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers saw another problem with Trump’s plan: His proposed tariffs would only hit U.S. companies that build plants overseas. They wouldn’t apply to foreign firms that ship goods to the U.S. “Tariffs are one thing,” Wolfers tweeted. “Tariffs that attack only on U.S. firms are another altogether.”

Trump made the comments three days after he announced that appliance maker Carrier had agreed to reverse its decision to ship 800 jobs from an Indiana factory to Mexico.

During the presidential campaign, he repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs — 35 percent on Mexican imports, 45 percent on Chinese. Tariffs are meant to give homegrown companies a price edge by making their foreign competitors’ products more expensive — and to punish foreign countries for unfair trade practices.

Since Trump’s election, his team has described tariffs as a potential tool to be used to pry concessions from America’s trading partners. “Tariffs are part of the negotiation,” Wilbur Ross, an investment banker slated to become Trump’s Commerce secretary, told CNBC last week.

Tariffs could prove costly. They are imposed at the border, and importers would likely try to pass along as much of the cost as possible to their customers.

A 45 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods could drive up U.S. retail prices on those goods by an average of about 10 percent, Capital Economics has calculated. Consumers would probably have to pay up because there are few alternatives to Chinese-made for many products. China, for instance, produces about 70 percent of the world’s laptops and cellphones.

Taxing foreign goods could also start a trade war. The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, has already warned that China could retaliate by limiting sales of U.S. cars and iPhones and by ordering aircraft from Europe’s Airbus instead of America’s Boeing.

In 2009, the Obama administration taxed Chinese tires to protect American tire makers from a surge in imports. Beijing retaliated with a tax of up to 105 percent on U.S. chicken parts.

Researchers at the Peterson Institute found that the tire tariffs probably saved 1,200 jobs in the U.S. tire industry. But higher tire prices cost American consumers an extra $1.1 billion — more than $900,000 for every job saved.

He says companies should be “forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake.”

The post Trump threatens payback for U.S. companies that move abroad appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Pirkka Fair Trade Black Loose Tea from Forsman Tea        
This tea was really good! I just finished the bag today. I was quite surprised at the quality, as usually the pre-packaged teas you get from supermarkets aren't that delicious. However, this one was very smooth and difficult to overbrew. Though the package didn't specify which kinds of tea were included, it was a nice blend that went well with milk, but was even better plain. I'll definitely buy this again.
          Our Love Of 'All Natural' Is Causing A Vanilla Shortage        
Gerry Newman buys vanilla by the gallon. He's co-owner of Albemarle Baking Co. , in Charlottesville, Va., and vanilla goes into everything from his cookies to pastry cream. A few years ago, each 1-gallon bottle of organic, fair-trade vanilla set him back $64. Today, it's $245, more than Newman can comfortably stomach. It's a global phenomenon, hitting pastry chefs and ice cream makers alike. Some have changed their recipes to use less vanilla. Newman has switched suppliers to find a cheaper product. "It's not certified organic. It's not fair trade," he says. "There's a guilt I have over that, because we're talking about something that's all hand labor, and if these people aren't being treated fairly, it's really sad." To understand the current vanilla crisis, this is the first thing to understand: It's one of the most labor-intensive foods on Earth. Vanilla beans are the seeds of an orchid. It grows wild in Mexico, where its flowers are pollinated by birds and insects. Most of the
          the witchling's charm number 2 - solid perfume locket of brass - dastardly-delightful natural perfume romance & victorian kink by pixxxiepieandposie        

33.00 USD

An act of sweetest alchemy, these solid perfumes are a Victorian delight to the senses. Each aroma blend is meticulously forged to be an act of seduction, beset with tender tendrils & nuanced layers ever anxious to evolve against the warmth of your skin. For an added touch of sorcery, the solid perfume/cologne in this offering is held captive inside a romantic brass compact I like to call "The Witchling's Charm #2".

♥-------About the potion: Handmade by mine own hands & eco-friendly, my luxurious solid perfume/cologne blends are the preternatural bees knees & don't let any charlatan or snake oil salesman tell you different. Full ingredient details are below the list of available aroma blends. Just pick your aroma option from the drop down menu.

♥-------About the charm: The Witchling's Charm is a dapper thing indeed, festooned with embossed filigree. All brass & antique loveliness, it's a spitfire of a charm just dripping with Steampunk-Victorian sultriness. It measures 44 MM x 33 MM and the internal compartment holds a 7/8" diameter silven pan of solid perfume wonder.

Public Service Announcement: I'd suggest you dare not wear this little treasure during full moon phases whilst roaming about unattended. It's known for generating a shallow pool of fog about the feet of the wearer and also for attracting all manner of otherworldly creature, from vampires to forest fairies.

♥-------Attached to "The Witchling's Charm #2": Affixed to the charm you'll find 16-17 inches of adjustable brass chain, to which a small bumblebee charm is attached. The charm will come to you snug as bug in a lovely drawstring keepsake bag.

♥-------Not sure which aroma to pick? All aromas have been organized into families allowing you to find your signature scent with ease! There are 9 Aroma Families in the Pixxxie Pie Aroma Library, insuring that there's something for everyone. To help you narrow things down further, you'll also find handy notations regarding everything from aroma gender to which seasons pair up with which aromas. Once you've made your decision, just pick the aroma from the drop down menu accordingly.

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬●Available Aromas●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬●
Consider This: Copy, paste and print the menu. Mull over it slowly while drinking tea or coffee: take your time. If you need help choosing the aroma blend that’s right for you I’m more than happy to give you an email consultation. Just convo me via Etsy with info regarding the types of aromas you like (and don’t like) and I’ll get back to you with personalized recommendations within 24-48 business hours. You can also see the full detailed menu if you glance at the top of my Policy page here on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixxxiepieandposie/policy?ref=shopinfo_policies_leftnav

Aroma Gender & Nuances: My aroma blends hold an intricate charm and a certain "green" and "dark woodsy" sensuality. Many are unisex, so they're perfect for all manner of mysterious man and oddly whimsical woman.

♥----------Aroma Family: My Devil’s Heart
Personality: Deeply woody, bold, fiery and musky, My Devil’s Heart is sewn of leather and rare resins. Balsamic, smoky, exotic, primal, shamelessly sensual and complex, these are perfumes pulled from ancient times and parallel dimensions. Perfect for those that love heady aroma blends, these are unique and uninhibited. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----The Gunslinger - (primary notes: leather, sandalwood, amber, rose, oak, tobacco & caramel)
persona: boldly sensual, exotic, complex, primal, musky, woody, dark, warm, smoky & compelling (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Fire, Walk With Me - (primary notes: hazelnut, tobacco, vanilla & scorched woods)
persona: uninhibited, seductive, smoky, deep, dark, woodsy-sweet, warm vanilla cream & fine pipe tobacco (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Dark Willow - (primary notes: patchouli, cedar & amber)
persona: grounding, persistently woody, spicy, exotic, full bodied, darkly sweet, bold & balsamic (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Warm Leatherette - (primary notes: leather, frankincense & clove)
persona: heavily spiced, balsamic, rawhide, masculine, smooth with woody overtones, mildly smoky (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Bene Gesserit - (primary notes: sandalwood & peony)
persona: a rich heart of precious Sandalwood reveals her golden notes & hints of Peony bind her edges (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----The Blackwood Cello - (primary notes: burmese wood, ebony, pine resin & black amber)
persona: hypnotic, layered, warm, a resonant base of elder woods beset with a smooth & resinous heart (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Barbaroi - (primary notes: frankincense & sandalwood)
persona: headstrong, dark-woodsy, richly earthy, warm & spicy, rare, sensual, exotic and ancient (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Ether - (primary notes: ginger, amber & thyme)
persona: playful, uplifting, delicately earthy, warm, subtly green & zesty (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Bellatrix - (primary notes: patchouli & vetivert)
persona: earthy, uninhibited, woody & fantastically musky, Bellatrix resides where the wild things are. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----True Blood - (primary notes: dragons blood, spanish moss & honeysuckle)
persona: dark, bold, a touch earthy, oddly resinous, Patchouli & Sandalwood tones linger next to moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

♥----------Aroma Family: The Secret Garden
Personality: Here be the flower maidens, spriteling garden girls with blossoms crushed to blushing cheeks and woven into hair. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Late Winter/Spring/Summer

----La Petite Morte - (primary notes: honeysuckle & vine)
persona: lightly green with delicate floral overtones, soft, soothing, bright & intricately sensual (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Sweet Olivander - (primary notes: lilac & field)
persona: wild lilacs, green fields, tall grasses, light, airy, heady-sweet, shamelessly floral (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Burlesque - (primary notes: white gardenia & musk)
persona: a bouquet of hot-house flowers, deliberately heady, vivaciously floral w/ a tawdry muskiness (Aroma Gender: Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: Greenwoods and Vine
Personality: These natural perfume and cologne oils are reminiscent of strange forests filled with alien flowers, mosses slinking up the walls of old temples. Robed in creeping vines & deep green-muskiness, this velvet underground beckons you. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Lush Alchemy - (primary notes: firewood, lotus and moss)
persona: a forest floor awash w/ leaves, cut wood, rich layers, nuanced sweetness redolent with moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Shadow Woods - (primary notes: frasier fir, jasmine & pine)
persona: intensely woody, fresh, leafy, a forest of evergreens & pines with subtle floral undertones (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Marrakesh - (primary notes: nag champa, bamboo, teak)
persona: rich, woody, exotic, earthy like fine temple incense, lightly floral, musky & quite grounding (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Arsenic & Old Lace - (primary notes: rosewood & bay)
persona: antique, headstrong & warm like a centuries-old rosewood piano polished with resinous oils (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

-----Dandelo - (primary notes: dandelion blossom, pomegranate, geranium & willow)
persona: green blossoms next to the strange fruit of the underworld, semi-sweet, multifaceted & odd (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Prim - (primary notes: cypress, clover & lily)
persona: a primordial rainforest, lush, fantastically green, old-growth trees and their clinging vines (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Cabin Fever - (primary notes: juniper woods, clinging vines, wild flowers)
persona: woody & mildly sugared, a log cabin in the heart of a Juniper Forest at the edge of the world (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: White Frost On Filigree
Personality: Here are the members of the frozen winter forests, water nymphs and wildling rainforests, sunlit lily ponds alive with croaking things, white tea with Mad Hatters, fresh rainstorms and the dreamy mists they like to leave behind. Herbaceous, mildly floral undertones glimmer out clean & ozonic. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Winter/Spring

----Stormbringer - (primary notes: hyacinth, heather, lotus & musk)
persona: intoxicating, headstrong, unique with wild flower notes tinged in green-muskiness & rain (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Morphine - (primary notes: frost, white woods, white amber, musk & nag champa)
persona: Morpheus, bright and dreamy, mildly floral, herbaceous musk simmering with temple incense (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Lichen & Loam - (primary notes: lush clover & aloe)
persona: wondrously green, lush, clean, light, a verdant rainforest shivering with morning mist & dew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----White Willow - (primary notes: white tea & green woods)
persona: serene, delicate, light, a singular beauty outlined in ribbons of pale chartreuse and white (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Tiger Lily - (primary notes: calla lily & juniper woods)
persona: lilting, floral, untamed like wild lilies growing in a thick grove far from the hands of man (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Severus - (primary notes: cedar, spearmint, musk & rosemary)
persona: boldly minty, layered, musky, pleasantly herbaceous, woody & burnished by internal fires (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Sackcloth and Ashes- (primary notes: lavender burned woods)
persona: lavender is the dominant tone, heavily herbal, full-bodied, & flanked by scorched woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Absinthe Sugar
Personality: These are the members of the noble Absinthe Family. A great choice for connoisseurs of the Green Fairy, Old-Fashioned Black Licorice and exotic Star Anise, these two are Siamese twins and each one has a distinct personality. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter/Spring

----The Wormwood - (primary notes: anise, sweet pea blossom & mint)
persona: deeply green, heavy pools of licorice with mellow floral tones hemmed in a peppermint lace (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Sweet Absinthe - (primary notes: ravensara, sweet sage, anise)
persona: a mellow backing note of Anise next to warmly nuanced chords created by Ravensara & Sage (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Of Springtime & Voodoo
Personality: Here are the Citrus Types: derived from the bitter orange tree and similar variants, the aromas here are vibrant with delicate, floral undertones. These work great for those that are fond of Ylang Ylang, Blood Oranges and Jasmine. Like the joy of sipping fresh lemonade on a porch in Summertime, this coven is refreshing, uplifting and bright. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Voodoo - (primary notes: neroli, white tea & ginger)
persona: floral, green, captivating, delicate, sweet, intricate, sun-dappled, sensual, relaxing & feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Devotchka - (primary notes: petitgrain & musk)
persona: fresh, woody, uplifting, a mildly citrus-y undertone is rounded with splashes of green musk (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Arcana - (primary notes: bergamot, lavender & myrrh)
persona: vibrant green, comforting, softly floral, herbaceous, balsamic, a mild sweet dashed with citrus (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Verbeana - (primary notes: lush lemongrass)
persona: vibrant, herbaceous, mildly woody, brightly lit with notes of lemon & leafy wildling woods. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Turkish Delights
Personality: Fabulously fresh and mayhaps a dash dastardly in it's occasional fruitiness, the Turkish Delight family of aromas is sweet in all the right ways. Balanced effortlessly with fantastic chords of green and a light dusting of powered sugar, this bunch shows a rare mix of youth tempered in wisdom. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Sugar Plum Fairie - (primary notes: plum, yuzu & chamomile)
persona: sweet, fruity, ripe, tea-green, fancifully effervescent, up-lifting, fun and playfully feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----For Strange Little Girls - (primary notes: cucumber & green tea)
persona: clean, fresh, airy, carefree, bright, flirty, lusciously green & brightly feminine (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Laudanum - (primary notes: apricot, fig & ivy)
persona: fresh, subtle fruit w/ a bit of sweetness underpinned by green forest vines and other wild flora (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Ergot - (primary notes: kiwi, coriander, sage & vetivert)
persona: heady, bold and magnificently herbaceous with a lightly kiwi undertone to balance the brew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Fooly Cooly - (primary notes: cherry blossom & green grass)
persona: a deliriously sassy cherry bomb, fruity and bold, shamelessly flirty, sweet with a green edge (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Swan Bow & Foxglove - (primary notes: currants, peaches & wild woods)
persona: arboreal, bright snow, loamy earth, crushed twigs, currants, evergreens & pepper peach Lambic (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Weirding Way - (primary notes: pear glace & vine)
persona: diaphanous, fruity, lightly sweet, wild vines entwine a core of ripe green Anjou Pears (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Miette - (primary notes: honeydew & green grass)
persona: a light, cool breeze, fresh cut honeydew melon outlined in a fringe of tall green grass (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Hester Prynne's Lot - (primary notes: wild summer watermelon)
persona: whimsical, dazzlingly, high green notes blend w/ the fresh sweetness of summer watermelons (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Barbarella - (primary notes: coconut pina colada)
persona: adventurous, boldly saccharine, sunny viridian notes nestle close to tropical coconut & rum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Blue Velvet - (primary notes: wild blueberry & violet)
persona: darkly lustrous, a fruity sweetness subdued by a heavy pressing of musky, sensual violets (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Little Red Riding Hood - (primary notes: fire baked pears & cinnamon)
persona: daringly sweet & warm, Sri Lankan Cinnamon dusts fire-baked pears in a halo of sultry spice (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Orient Express
Personality: Richly layered, the aromas beneath the roof of the Orient Express are woven with a mix of fine spices, rare chocolate, roasted java, golden honey and other prized components from far off lands. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----For Lost Boys - (primary notes: chocolate-spiced colombian coffee)
persona: decadent, layered, dark-chocolaty, invigorating, warm & bold as a fresh cup of spiced espresso (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Spice Melange - (primary notes: cinnamon, clove & orange)
persona: sultry, wildly spicy, unconventionally bold, exotic and rich with softly chiming citrus-y notes (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Na Dobranich - (primary notes: spicy pumpkin pie & clove)
persona: a sweet-wood core filled with rich and spicy pumpkin pie powdered with the dust of cloves (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Patronus Charm - (primary notes: honey, almond & caramelo)
persona: old-fashioned candy, carefree notes of honey & caramel play warmly across toasted almonds (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Hemlock & Cream - (primary notes: colombian coffee & sweet orange blossom)
persona: vibrant, deep warm tones, an invigorating romance between roasted coffee & blood oranges (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Siamese Dream - (primary notes: allspice, coconut, vanilla & tonka)
persona: decked in bells of Allspice and Nutmeg, Coconut and Tonka pad in on velvet feet, purring sweetly, goose-down coats redolent with the woodsy scorch of java laced with chai and vanilla. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary
Personality: This candle lit backroom of an old-world apothecary shop is strictly for the adults. Have a sit down on the velvet settee and get comfy. Pull up the hookah and rest a spell and Mr. Wormwood with take care of all your needs. Terribly handsome with eyes like the Devil, he's well known for making the best sasparilla in the Northern Hemisphere. He also specializes in debauchery, caramels, odd magic, spiced rum, renegade medicinals and sweet cakes. No one leaves the parlor disappointed and they always come back for more. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----Vatrushka - (primary notes: chocolate ganache over yellow cake)
persona: buttery yellow cake slathered in a warm shell of chocolate Ganache (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑LUX AROMAS: THE MAJOR ARCANA๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬●

Some Pixxxie Pie and Posie aroma blends are priced at a slightly higher price point than others due to the expense of the essential oil components contained therein. These Deluxe Aroma Blends are listed below along with info indicating which aroma families these belong to for your convenience.

—–A Tight Corset – (primary notes: moroccan amber & cardamom)
persona: carnal, spicy, sweetly-earthy, dark, intoxicating, a smoky brew inspired by legends and lore (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

-----Satin Coffin – (primary notes: carrot seed, nagarmotha & maté)
Aroma Gender and Persona - Unisex, exotic, fantastically head strong & brown-sugar musky as if the very wood she's carved from were an ancient antique, once used as barrels for storing wild rum, sugar cane & primeval voodoo spices. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–Persia – (primary notes: indian oudh/agarwood, labdanum & myrrh)
persona: dark, resinous, exotic, dry-herbaceous, extra-bold and wonderfully faceted, the aroma is marked by a distinctly musky fringe of Indian Oudh slowly melding with warm, maple-syrupy Labdanum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–The Blade Runner – (primary notes: angelica root, opopanax & musk)
persona: exotic, mildly wood, complex, a unique heart of gold with tendrils of musk & unlikely resins (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) -- Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

-----The Devil & Miss Jones – (primary notes: lychee, bergamot & blue tansy)
persona: feminine, uplifting, mildly woodsy w/ faint fruity notes hemmed in unique floral overtones thanks the inclusion of blue tansy. (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

—–Anguisette – (primary notes: moonflower, orchid, violet & musk)
persona: voluptuous, sweet and sexy, a musky, night blooming flower cultivated with purpose & care (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

-----Behind The Green Door – (primary notes: spruce, wild woods, coriander & wild peppermint)
persona: unisex, wild, green, invigorating, this scent is a primal rain forest that's both lingering & bold in just the right ways. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

-----Lovecraft – (primary notes: opopanax, oakmoss, vetivert, sandalwood & heavy musk)
persona: a complex creation made with a mesmerizing conspiracy of oils, deeply green and strangely woody, this potion is unisex, persistent, bold & heavily herbaceous with a heady musky fringe. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

—–Rasputina – (primary notes: davana, benzoin resin & fresh baked honey cakes)
persona: a quirky strumpet, spiced rum, rich layers, striped bloomers, honey cakes & vanilla bourbon (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

—–Sirius Black – (primary notes: immortelle flowers, teak & musk)
persona: deep, charming, musky, unbelievably warm, syrup-heavy caramel poured over antique woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●FORGET-ME-NOTS!●▬▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬●

♥------NATURAL COMPONENTS: About the potion: Handmade by mine own hands, my luxurious solid perfume/cologne blends are natural and eco-friendly.The base of this solid perfume consists of 100% natural and organic ingredients that help moisturize the skin while offering longevity to the aroma blend itself. Wholesome oils are used from Olive, Castor & Soybeans. A dash Carnauba Palm oil & Jojoba oil round things out a bit more. Topping it all off, the noble bumblebee contributes lush beeswax to complete a extra-powerful potion that leaves the skin ultra soft and supple. Only the finest essential oils are used for these Victorian-inspired concoctions, along with top quality botanical oils, pure plant resins & absolutes.

Most Pixxxie Pie ingredients are organic or wild crafted, fair trade and all are GMO and cruelty-free. So get a little closer to nature and grab yourself a slice of Pixxxie Pie today=)

♥-------NUANCES OF NATURAL PERFUMES/COLOGNES: If this is your first time to try a natural perfume/cologne oil, consider checking out my blog article regarding the various nuances of natural perfume/cologne oils via the following handy link: http://www.pixxxiepieandposie.com/?page_id=38. Natural perfumes aren't like harsh, department store perfumes. Many essential oils smell quite different from the interpretations of popular fragrances made with synthetic fragrance oils & alcohol. I.E.: Ginger, Lavender, Vetivert, Geranium, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Thyme, Rosemary & most florals.

♥-------PRODUCT COLOR: Solid perfume color varies between white, butter cream and various shades of amber, light green or even light blue in the case of aromas containing Blue Tansy Essential Oil. Color variations are due to product taking on natural colors inherent in the essential oils used therein and these natural colors do not stain the skin.

♥-------WEARING TIME: These Pixxxie Pie Potions commonly have a wearing time of 3-9 hours depending on your body chemistry. You should be able to pull around 20-35 applications from your pan of Pixxxie Pie & Posie solid perfume/cologne. The pan is held within the locket by a strip of strong adhesive. When depleted you can simply pry out the depleted pan and replace with a refill. External use only

♥-------SKELETON KEY NOTE: Regarding skeleton key you see attached to the locket: Key you receive may not match exact key seen in image: I have a collection of aging skeleton keys that I choose from and they tarnish and age in a very organic and somewhat unpredictable fashion. Keep key out of the hands of young ones since it is small enough to swallow if it becomes detached from the chain fob. Thanks for your understanding=) !

♥-------OLD WORLD VICTORIAN GIFT-WRAPPING: Product will come to you in gift-style trappings, packaged with love & care with moss and petals. Most product labels & such are produced in-house & are completely composed of recyclable parchment paper. Peel off labels & keep tags to tuck away as keepsakes or bookmarks! Or keep the wee perfume bottle, compact, locket or vials for other uses since they are high quality & can easily be washed & up-cycled.

♥-------SHIPPING: Orders shipped in the USA are sent via USPS Priority Mail for super fast shipping with a handy tracking number that gets emailed to you through Paypal and USPS.com. Orders for international clients also ship via USPS with a customs tracking number. This business is a one-woman-show...so all orders ship out within 3-7 business days of payment receipt. Please send email or leave a note if you need your order shipped out by a specific date for a birthday or similar special occasion and I'll be happy to oblige.

Shipping to international clients has almost doubled as of 2/2013, so you'll have to contact me for a shipping quote if you're at an international ship-to location. Please include your full ship to address in the email request, along with all products you're interested in. A special listing will be created for you if you approve the quote.

♥-------ALWAYS PATCH TEST: Always remember to perform a patch test on a small patch of skin so you can make sure you're not sensitive to the essential oil components utilized. Many natural perfumers use a host of exotic oils, (some of which you've never heard of, much less ever been in contact with) so test things out before rolling around in your new aroma product.

♥-------NEED A LARGER QUANTITY? Send an email if you require multiples of this product & the quantity available will be updated accordingly (once I check inventory). Pixxxie Pie's Victorian inspired solid perfumes & colognes make great gifts for all sorts of events. Perfect for all manner of fairy tale weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and showers, they also make great tea party favors to boot!

♥-------CARE & KEEPING: Keep in a place that's cool and dark. Avoid leaving in high temperature areas. Natural solid perfumes and colognes made with essential oils are the sparkly vampires of the perfume realm so cool and dark storage is the rule. Locket is fabricated in such a way to stave off tarnishing. If product becomes to warm, sit the compact/locket in the correct upright position and the solid perfume will migrate back into the pan to solidify all over again. Allow the compact to sit in a cool place for 15-20 minutes to ensure solidification. Little carrying bag can be washed by hand and should sit out to dry.

♥-------BRASS COMPACTS FYI:
Compact's Size: 44x33mm
Little Pan Size: 7/8"

♥-------REFILL FOR COMPACT: Link to Refill Product Listing: https://www.etsy.com/listing/111248719/refill-for-solid-perfume-in-small-oval

♥-------COPYRIGHT JAZZ: Photos, Products, Label Design & Such © Pixxxie Pie & Posie
You don't need my permission to blog about my shop or my products. I also believe in fair use when it comes to images and bloggers. You can use my images in relation to a blog article, but you can't print the images with intent to sell prints or other products featuring the image. Fair enough, huh;)


          gris gris bag or sachet - comes with pocket, lavish bath salts and 1 oz bottle of artisan made bath oil - you pick the aroma by pixxxiepieandposie        

55.00 USD

This delightful little wonder is a Gris Gris Bag, also known as a Mojo Bag, JouJou Bag or Sachet. Gris Gris Bags are magnificent little talismans and can be utilized to bring about desired outcomes, protect one against ill will or they can just simply be unique little handmade oddities to decorate your vanity or sacred space with. Some simply adore the smell alone and use them as pin cushions or sachets to keep linens, towels and lingerie smelling down right magical.

This one in particular was hand crafted and blessed to be a Prosperity Gris Gris; meant to bring its keeper much in the way of good fortune and overall prosperity when it comes to wealth (material and/or spiritual). It's dapper mix of green color shades denotes its use in rites and rituals involving luck, money and assets.

It is hand stuffed with a mix of lavish and witchy goodies: a small coin, a tag with runic symbols hand written upon it, fine cotton fiber, various flower petals and parts, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. All in all, a variety of fine ingredients have been combined to make this Sachet a potent tool for drawing both luck and happiness.

♥--------------------:Oodles of Magitastic Accessories:

This Prosperity Gris Gris also has a wonderment of accessories that accompany it: a length of green ribbon for binding, a peacock feather, 3 pieces of parchment paper onto which you write your wishes & desires... 2 beautifully designed envelopes for tucking your wishes into... Both the parchment paper and the envelopes are emblazoned with Zodiac symbols and such. The larger envelope pictured (with Alice of Wonderland on it) contains a 2.75 Oz. bag of practically divine dead sea bath salts that will be made in the aroma of your choosing (you pick the aroma you want from the list below).

This Gris Gris care package will also come to you with a hefty 1 Oz. bottle of fine artisan made bath oil (you pick the aroma you want from the list below).

♥--------------------:Of the Artisan Bath Oil:

Dreamed up by the fireplace as the moon was waxing full, this wee collection of finery was created with the sultry and sensual in mind. Bath oil components: sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, hazelnut oil, amber glass bottle and a parchment paper label. It is completely natural, organic and vegan friendly. This bath oil is also perfect for aromatherapy, meditation, rites and rituals alike.

♥--------------------:Aroma Families:

All aromas have been organized into families allowing you to find your signature scent with ease! There are 9 Aroma Families in the Pixxxie Pie Aroma Library, insuring that there's something for everyone. To help you narrow things down further, you'll also find handy notations regarding everything from aroma gender to which seasons pair up with which aromas.

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●Available Aromas●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●
Consider This: Copy, paste and print the menu. Mull over it slowly while drinking tea or coffee: take your time. If you need help choosing the aroma blend that’s right for you I’m more than happy to give you an email consultation. Just convo me via Etsy with info regarding the types of aromas you like (and don’t like) and I’ll get back to you with personalized recommendations within 24-48 business hours =)!! You can also see the full detailed menu if you glance at the top of my Policy page here on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixxxiepieandposie/policy?ref=shopinfo_policies_leftnav

Aroma Gender & Nuances: My aroma blends hold an intricate charm and a certain "green" and "dark woodsy" sensuality. Many are unisex, so they're perfect for all manner of mysterious man and oddly whimsical woman.

♥----------Aroma Family: My Devil’s Heart
Personality: Deeply woody, bold, fiery and musky, My Devil’s Heart is sewn of leather and rare resins. Balsamic, smoky, exotic, primal, shamelessly sensual and complex, these are perfumes pulled from ancient times and parallel dimensions. Perfect for those that love heady aroma blends, these are unique and uninhibited. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----The Gunslinger - (primary notes: leather, sandalwood, amber, rose, oak, tobacco & caramel)
persona: boldly sensual, exotic, complex, primal, musky, woody, dark, warm, smoky & compelling (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Fire, Walk With Me - (primary notes: hazelnut, tobacco, vanilla & scorched woods)
persona: uninhibited, seductive, smoky, deep, dark, woodsy-sweet, warm vanilla cream & fine pipe tobacco (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Dark Willow - (primary notes: patchouli, cedar & amber)
persona: grounding, persistently woody, spicy, exotic, full bodied, darkly sweet, bold & balsamic (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Warm Leatherette - (primary notes: leather, frankincense & clove)
persona: heavily spiced, balsamic, rawhide, masculine, smooth with woody overtones, mildly smoky (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Bene Gesserit - (primary notes: sandalwood & peony)
persona: a rich heart of precious Sandalwood reveals her golden notes & hints of Peony bind her edges (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----The Blackwood Cello - (primary notes: burmese wood, ebony, pine resin & black amber)
persona: hypnotic, layered, warm, a resonant base of elder woods beset with a smooth & resinous heart (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Barbaroi - (primary notes: frankincense & sandalwood)
persona: headstrong, dark-woodsy, richly earthy, warm & spicy, rare, sensual, exotic and ancient (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Ether - (primary notes: ginger, amber & thyme)
persona: playful, uplifting, delicately earthy, warm, subtly green & zesty (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Bellatrix - (primary notes: patchouli & vetivert)
persona: earthy, uninhibited, woody & fantastically musky, Bellatrix resides where the wild things are. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----True Blood - (primary notes: dragons blood, spanish moss & honeysuckle)
persona: dark, bold, a touch earthy, oddly resinous, Patchouli & Sandalwood tones linger next to moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

♥----------Aroma Family: The Secret Garden
Personality: Here be the flower maidens, spriteling garden girls with blossoms crushed to blushing cheeks and woven into hair. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Late Winter/Spring/Summer

----La Petite Morte - (primary notes: honeysuckle & vine)
persona: lightly green with delicate floral overtones, soft, soothing, bright & intricately sensual (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Sweet Olivander - (primary notes: lilac & field)
persona: wild lilacs, green fields, tall grasses, light, airy, heady-sweet, shamelessly floral (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Burlesque - (primary notes: white gardenia & musk)
persona: a bouquet of hot-house flowers, deliberately heady, vivaciously floral w/ a tawdry muskiness (Aroma Gender: Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: Greenwoods and Vine
Personality: These natural perfume and cologne oils are reminiscent of strange forests filled with alien flowers, mosses slinking up the walls of old temples. Robed in creeping vines & deep green-muskiness, this velvet underground beckons you. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Lush Alchemy - (primary notes: firewood, lotus and moss)
persona: a forest floor awash w/ leaves, cut wood, rich layers, nuanced sweetness redolent with moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Shadow Woods - (primary notes: frasier fir, jasmine & pine)
persona: intensely woody, fresh, leafy, a forest of evergreens & pines with subtle floral undertones (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Marrakesh - (primary notes: nag champa, bamboo, teak)
persona: rich, woody, exotic, earthy like fine temple incense, lightly floral, musky & quite grounding (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Arsenic & Old Lace - (primary notes: rosewood & bay)
persona: antique, headstrong & warm like a centuries-old rosewood piano polished with resinous oils (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

-----Dandelo - (primary notes: dandelion blossom, pomegranate, geranium & willow)
persona: green blossoms next to the strange fruit of the underworld, semi-sweet, multifaceted & odd (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Prim - (primary notes: cypress, clover & lily)
persona: a primordial rainforest, lush, fantastically green, old-growth trees and their clinging vines (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Cabin Fever - (primary notes: juniper woods, clinging vines, wild flowers)
persona: woody & mildly sugared, a log cabin in the heart of a Juniper Forest at the edge of the world (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: White Frost On Filigree
Personality: Here are the members of the frozen winter forests, water nymphs and wildling rainforests, sunlit lily ponds alive with croaking things, white tea with Mad Hatters, fresh rainstorms and the dreamy mists they like to leave behind. Herbaceous, mildly floral undertones glimmer out clean & ozonic. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Winter/Spring

----Stormbringer - (primary notes: hyacinth, heather, lotus & musk)
persona: intoxicating, headstrong, unique with wild flower notes tinged in green-muskiness & rain (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Morphine - (primary notes: frost, white woods, white amber, musk & nag champa)
persona: Morpheus, bright and dreamy, mildly floral, herbaceous musk simmering with temple incense (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Lichen & Loam - (primary notes: lush clover & aloe)
persona: wondrously green, lush, clean, light, a verdant rainforest shivering with morning mist & dew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----White Willow - (primary notes: white tea & green woods)
persona: serene, delicate, light, a singular beauty outlined in ribbons of pale chartreuse and white (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Tiger Lily - (primary notes: calla lily & juniper woods)
persona: lilting, floral, untamed like wild lilies growing in a thick grove far from the hands of man (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Severus - (primary notes: cedar, spearmint, musk & rosemary)
persona: boldly minty, layered, musky, pleasantly herbaceous, woody & burnished by internal fires (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Sackcloth and Ashes- (primary notes: lavender burned woods)
persona: lavender is the dominant tone, heavily herbal, full-bodied, & flanked by scorched woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Absinthe Sugar
Personality: These are the members of the noble Absinthe Family. A great choice for connoisseurs of the Green Fairy, Old-Fashioned Black Licorice and exotic Star Anise, these two are Siamese twins and each one has a distinct personality. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter/Spring

----The Wormwood - (primary notes: anise, sweet pea blossom & mint)
persona: deeply green, heavy pools of licorice with mellow floral tones hemmed in a peppermint lace (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Sweet Absinthe - (primary notes: ravensara, sweet sage, anise)
persona: a mellow backing note of Anise next to warmly nuanced chords created by Ravensara & Sage (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Of Springtime & Voodoo
Personality: Here are the Citrus Types: derived from the bitter orange tree and similar variants, the aromas here are vibrant with delicate, floral undertones. These work great for those that are fond of Ylang Ylang, Blood Oranges and Jasmine. Like the joy of sipping fresh lemonade on a porch in Summertime, this coven is refreshing, uplifting and bright. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Voodoo - (primary notes: neroli, white tea & ginger)
persona: floral, green, captivating, delicate, sweet, intricate, sun-dappled, sensual, relaxing & feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Devotchka - (primary notes: petitgrain & musk)
persona: fresh, woody, uplifting, a mildly citrus-y undertone is rounded with splashes of green musk (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Arcana - (primary notes: bergamot, lavender & myrrh)
persona: vibrant green, comforting, softly floral, herbaceous, balsamic, a mild sweet dashed with citrus (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Verbeana - (primary notes: lush lemongrass)
persona: vibrant, herbaceous, mildly woody, brightly lit with notes of lemon & leafy wildling woods. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Turkish Delights
Personality: Fabulously fresh and mayhaps a dash dastardly in it's occasional fruitiness, the Turkish Delight family of aromas is sweet in all the right ways. Balanced effortlessly with fantastic chords of green and a light dusting of powered sugar, this bunch shows a rare mix of youth tempered in wisdom. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Sugar Plum Fairie - (primary notes: plum, yuzu & chamomile)
persona: sweet, fruity, ripe, tea-green, fancifully effervescent, up-lifting, fun and playfully feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----For Strange Little Girls - (primary notes: cucumber & green tea)
persona: clean, fresh, airy, carefree, bright, flirty, lusciously green & brightly feminine (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Laudanum - (primary notes: apricot, fig & ivy)
persona: fresh, subtle fruit w/ a bit of sweetness underpinned by green forest vines and other wild flora (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Ergot - (primary notes: kiwi, coriander, sage & vetivert)
persona: heady, bold and magnificently herbaceous with a lightly kiwi undertone to balance the brew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Fooly Cooly - (primary notes: cherry blossom & green grass)
persona: a deliriously sassy cherry bomb, fruity and bold, shamelessly flirty, sweet with a green edge (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Swan Bow & Foxglove - (primary notes: currants, peaches & wild woods)
persona: arboreal, bright snow, loamy earth, crushed twigs, currants, evergreens & pepper peach Lambic (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Weirding Way - (primary notes: pear glace & vine)
persona: diaphanous, fruity, lightly sweet, wild vines entwine a core of ripe green Anjou Pears (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Miette - (primary notes: honeydew & green grass)
persona: a light, cool breeze, fresh cut honeydew melon outlined in a fringe of tall green grass (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Hester Prynne's Lot - (primary notes: wild summer watermelon)
persona: whimsical, dazzlingly, high green notes blend w/ the fresh sweetness of summer watermelons (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Barbarella - (primary notes: coconut pina colada)
persona: adventurous, boldly saccharine, sunny viridian notes nestle close to tropical coconut & rum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Blue Velvet - (primary notes: wild blueberry & violet)
persona: darkly lustrous, a fruity sweetness subdued by a heavy pressing of musky, sensual violets (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Little Red Riding Hood - (primary notes: fire baked pears & cinnamon)
persona: daringly sweet & warm, Sri Lankan Cinnamon dusts fire-baked pears in a halo of sultry spice (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Orient Express
Personality: Richly layered, the aromas beneath the roof of the Orient Express are woven with a mix of fine spices, rare chocolate, roasted java, golden honey and other prized components from far off lands. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----For Lost Boys - (primary notes: chocolate-spiced colombian coffee)
persona: decadent, layered, dark-chocolaty, invigorating, warm & bold as a fresh cup of spiced espresso (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Spice Melange - (primary notes: cinnamon, clove & orange)
persona: sultry, wildly spicy, unconventionally bold, exotic and rich with softly chiming citrus-y notes (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Na Dobranich - (primary notes: spicy pumpkin pie & clove)
persona: a sweet-wood core filled with rich and spicy pumpkin pie powdered with the dust of cloves (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Patronus Charm - (primary notes: honey, almond & caramelo)
persona: old-fashioned candy, carefree notes of honey & caramel play warmly across toasted almonds (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Hemlock & Cream - (primary notes: colombian coffee & sweet orange blossom)
persona: vibrant, deep warm tones, an invigorating romance between roasted coffee & blood oranges (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Siamese Dream - (primary notes: allspice, coconut, vanilla & tonka)
persona: decked in bells of Allspice and Nutmeg, Coconut and Tonka pad in on velvet feet, purring sweetly, goose-down coats redolent with the woodsy scorch of java laced with chai and vanilla. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary
Personality: This candle lit backroom of an old-world apothecary shop is strictly for the adults. Have a sit down on the velvet settee and get comfy. Pull up the hookah and rest a spell and Mr. Wormwood with take care of all your needs. Terribly handsome with eyes like the Devil, he's well known for making the best sasparilla in the Northern Hemisphere. He also specializes in debauchery, caramels, odd magic, spiced rum, renegade medicinals and sweet cakes. No one leaves the parlor disappointed and they always come back for more. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----Vatrushka - (primary notes: chocolate ganache over yellow cake)
persona: buttery yellow cake slathered in a warm shell of chocolate Ganache (Aroma Gender: Feminine)


●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬●The Major Arcana - Lux Aroma Blends●▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●

Some Pixxxie Pie and Posie aroma blends are priced at a slightly higher price point than others due to the expense of the essential oil components contained therein. Known as The Major Arcana, these Deluxe Aroma Blends are listed below along with info indicating which aroma families these belong to for your convenience.

—–A Tight Corset – (primary notes: moroccan amber & cardamom)
persona: carnal, spicy, sweetly-earthy, dark, intoxicating, a smoky brew inspired by legends and lore (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

-----Satin Coffin – (primary notes: carrot seed, nagarmotha & maté)
Aroma Gender and Persona - Unisex, exotic, fantastically head strong & brown-sugar musky as if the very wood she's carved from were an ancient antique, once used as barrels for storing wild rum, sugar cane & primeval voodoo spices. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–Persia – (primary notes: indian oudh/agarwood, labdanum & myrrh)
persona: dark, resinous, exotic, dry-herbaceous, extra-bold and wonderfully faceted, the aroma is marked by a distinctly musky fringe of Indian Oudh slowly melding with warm, maple-syrupy Labdanum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–The Blade Runner – (primary notes: angelica root, opopanax & musk)
persona: exotic, mildly wood, complex, a unique heart of gold with tendrils of musk & unlikely resins (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) -- Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

-----The Devil & Miss Jones – (primary notes: lychee, bergamot & blue tansy)
persona: feminine, uplifting, mildly woodsy w/ faint fruity notes hemmed in unique floral overtones thanks the inclusion of blue tansy. (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

—–Anguisette – (primary notes: moonflower, orchid, violet & musk)
persona: voluptuous, sweet and sexy, a musky, night blooming flower cultivated with purpose & care (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

-----Behind The Green Door – (primary notes: spruce, wild woods, coriander & wild peppermint)
persona: unisex, wild, green, invigorating, this scent is a primal rain forest that's both lingering & bold in just the right ways. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

-----Lovecraft – (primary notes: opopanax, oakmoss, vetivert, sandalwood & heavy musk)
persona: a complex creation made with a mesmerizing conspiracy of oils, deeply green and strangely woody, this potion is unisex, persistent, bold & heavily herbaceous with a heady musky fringe. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

—–Rasputina – (primary notes: davana, benzoin resin & fresh baked honey cakes)
persona: a quirky strumpet, spiced rum, rich layers, striped bloomers, honey cakes & vanilla bourbon (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

—–Sirius Black – (primary notes: immortelle flowers, teak & musk)
persona: deep, charming, musky, unbelievably warm, syrup-heavy caramel poured over antique woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

♥▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬●FORGET-ME-NOTS●▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬♥

♥--------My Large Gris Gris Bags Measure 5" x 5".

♥--------It is suggested that you add your own meaningful items to your Gris Gris when you receive it. A lock of hair, a small picture, a favorite rock or shell...Whatever you might like to meditate on.

♥--------I put a pocket on my sachets for a reason... so the pocket is nice and big to accommodate any manner of trinkets or personal charms you'd like to tuck into it. The Love & Passion sachet will come to you with more detailed instructions on its use, 3 small tea light candles in red, pink and yellow (not shown) and will be packaged in gift-style wrappings with love and care.

♥--------This would make a great gift for the resident weirdo in your life, for whom you can never find the gift or novelty that really makes them fall to pieces with joy.


♥▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬●

♥-----NATURAL COMPONENTS: Product is made from natural components. Handmade & eco-friendly, only high quality essential oils, botanical resins/oils & plant absolutes are utilized. The sumptuous carrier oil ingredients of this wonderstuff consists of the Pixxxie Pie & Posie "House Blend". Commonly consisting of a mix of Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and a tiny touch of Hazelnut Oil, this mix makes for a perfume oil that leaves your skin soft & supple. Simultaneously, this lavish conspiracy of oils also adds longevity to the aroma oil itself.

Most Pixxxie Pie ingredients are organic or wild crafted, fair trade and all are GMO and cruelty-free. So get a little closer to nature and grab yourself a slice of Pixxxie Pie today=)

♥-------NUANCES OF NATURAL PERFUMES/COLOGNES: If this is your first time to try a natural perfume/cologne oil, consider checking out my blog article regarding the various nuances of natural perfume/cologne oils via the following handy link: http://www.pixxxiepieandposie.com/?page_id=38. Natural perfumes aren't like harsh,department store perfumes. Many essential oils smell quite different from the interpretations of popular fragrances made with synthetic fragrance oils & alcohol. I.E.: Ginger, Lavender, Vetivert, Geranium, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Thyme, Rosemary & most florals.

♥-------OLD-WORLD VICTORIAN GIFT-WRAPPING: Product will come to you in gift-style trappings, packed w/ love and care w/ moss and petals. Most product labels & such are produced in-house & are completely composed of recyclable parchment paper. Peel off labels & keep tags to tuck away as keepsakes or bookmarks! Or keep the wee bags, perfume bottle, compact, locket, or vials for other uses since they are high quality & can easily be washed & up-cycled.

♥-------SHIPPING: Orders shipped in the USA are sent via USPS Priority Mail for super fast shipping with a handy tracking number that gets emailed to you through Paypal and USPS.com. Orders for international clients also ship via USPS with a customs tracking number. This business is a one-woman-show...so all orders ship out within 3-7 business days of payment receipt. Please send email or leave a note if you need your order shipped out by a specific date for a birthday or similar special occasion and I'll be happy to oblige.

Shipping to international clients has almost doubled as of 2/2013, so you'll have to contact me for a shipping quote if you're at an international ship-to location. Please include your full ship to address in the email request, along with all products you're interested in. A special listing will be created for you if you approve the quote.

♥-------ALWAYS PATCH TEST: Always remember to perform a patch test on a small patch of skin so you can make sure you're not sensitive to the essential oil components utilized. Many natural perfumers use a host of exotic oils, (some of which you've never heard of, much less ever been in contact with) so test things out before rolling around in your new aroma product.

♥-------HANDY WARNINGS: If you are pregnant, nursing or suffer from serious ailments of the kidney or liver, use care when purchasing products made with essential oils, plant absolutes and plant resins. Consult with your physician and/or do a little research on Google to find out which essential oils to avoid. Though artisans dilute their essential oils, it's still good practice to double check things in the event that you have the above mentioned issues or concerns. Pixxxie Pie Products are for external use only. Avoid direct contact with eyes or mucous membranes. Flush eyes or nose with cool water if you happen to splash yourself a bit.

♥-------NEED A LARGER QUANTITY? Send an email if you require multiples of this product & the quantity available will be updated accordingly (once I check inventory). Pixxxie Pie's Victorian inspired products make great gifts for all sorts of events. Perfect for all manner of fairy tale weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and showers, they also make great tea party favors to boot! Brides & bridesmaids also find these quite captivating.

♥-------CARE & KEEPING: Natural perfumes & colognes are the sparkly vampires of the perfume world so keep yours in a place that's cool and dark. Avoid leaving in high temperature areas. My aroma blends have a lifespan of 1-2 years if optimal conditions are maintained.

♥-------COPYRIGHT STUFFY STUFF: Photos, Products & Labels © Pixxxie Pie & Posie
You don't need my permission to blog about my shop or my products. I also believe in fair use when it comes to images and bloggers. You can use my images in relation to a blog article, but you can't print the images with intent to sell prints or other products featuring the image. Fair enough, right=)


          perfume bottle necklace - the sylvan leaf - natural perfume oil trapped in 1/4 oz leaf bottle tethered by silver chain -62 aroma options by pixxxiepieandposie        

55.00 USD

Pixxxie Pie & Posie Presents the Sylvan Leaf Bottle Held Captive by Silvertone Chain. Pick your poison from the aroma's available below and it will be sent in this lovely etched leaf perfume bottle necklace with dapper carrying pouch. This lavish little number makes a great gift to give yourself or someone you hold near and dear.

An act of sweetest alchemy, Pixxxie Pie perfumes & colognes are a delight to the senses. Each aroma blend is meticulously forged to be an exercise in seduction, beset with tender tendrils & nuanced layers ever anxious to evolve against the warmth of your skin.

All aromas have been organized into families allowing you to find your signature scent with ease! There are 9 Aroma Families in the Pixxxie Pie Aroma Library, insuring that there's something for everyone. To help you narrow things down further, you'll also find handy notations regarding everything from aroma gender to which seasons pair up with which aromas.


●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●Available Aromas●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●
Consider This: Copy, paste and print the menu. Mull over it slowly while drinking tea or coffee: take your time. If you need help choosing the aroma blend that’s right for you I’m more than happy to give you an email consultation. Just convo me via Etsy with info regarding the types of aromas you like (and don’t like) and I’ll get back to you with personalized recommendations within 24-48 business hours =)!! You can also see the full detailed menu if you glance at the top of my Policy page here on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixxxiepieandposie/policy?ref=shopinfo_policies_leftnav

Aroma Gender & Nuances: My aroma blends hold an intricate charm and a certain "green" and "dark woodsy" sensuality. Many are unisex, so they're perfect for all manner of mysterious man and oddly whimsical woman.

♥----------Aroma Family: My Devil’s Heart
Personality: Deeply woody, bold, fiery and musky, My Devil’s Heart is sewn of leather and rare resins. Balsamic, smoky, exotic, primal, shamelessly sensual and complex, these are perfumes pulled from ancient times and parallel dimensions. Perfect for those that love heady aroma blends, these are unique and uninhibited. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----The Gunslinger - (primary notes: leather, sandalwood, amber, rose, oak, tobacco & caramel)
persona: boldly sensual, exotic, complex, primal, musky, woody, dark, warm, smoky & compelling (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Fire, Walk With Me - (primary notes: hazelnut, tobacco, vanilla & scorched woods)
persona: uninhibited, seductive, smoky, deep, dark, woodsy-sweet, warm vanilla cream & fine pipe tobacco (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Dark Willow - (primary notes: patchouli, cedar & amber)
persona: grounding, persistently woody, spicy, exotic, full bodied, darkly sweet, bold & balsamic (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Warm Leatherette - (primary notes: leather, frankincense & clove)
persona: heavily spiced, balsamic, rawhide, masculine, smooth with woody overtones, mildly smoky (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Bene Gesserit - (primary notes: sandalwood & peony)
persona: a rich heart of precious Sandalwood reveals her golden notes & hints of Peony bind her edges (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----The Blackwood Cello - (primary notes: burmese wood, ebony, pine resin & black amber)
persona: hypnotic, layered, warm, a resonant base of elder woods beset with a smooth & resinous heart (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Barbaroi - (primary notes: frankincense & sandalwood)
persona: headstrong, dark-woodsy, richly earthy, warm & spicy, rare, sensual, exotic and ancient (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----The Ether - (primary notes: ginger, amber & thyme)
persona: playful, uplifting, delicately earthy, warm, subtly green & zesty (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Bellatrix - (primary notes: patchouli & vetivert)
persona: earthy, uninhibited, woody & fantastically musky, Bellatrix resides where the wild things are. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----True Blood - (primary notes: dragons blood, spanish moss & honeysuckle)
persona: dark, bold, a touch earthy, oddly resinous, Patchouli & Sandalwood tones linger next to moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

♥----------Aroma Family: The Secret Garden
Personality: Here be the flower maidens, spriteling garden girls with blossoms crushed to blushing cheeks and woven into hair. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Late Winter/Spring/Summer

----La Petite Morte - (primary notes: honeysuckle & vine)
persona: lightly green with delicate floral overtones, soft, soothing, bright & intricately sensual (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Sweet Olivander - (primary notes: lilac & field)
persona: wild lilacs, green fields, tall grasses, light, airy, heady-sweet, shamelessly floral (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Burlesque - (primary notes: white gardenia & musk)
persona: a bouquet of hot-house flowers, deliberately heady, vivaciously floral w/ a tawdry muskiness (Aroma Gender: Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: Greenwoods and Vine
Personality: These natural perfume and cologne oils are reminiscent of strange forests filled with alien flowers, mosses slinking up the walls of old temples. Robed in creeping vines & deep green-muskiness, this velvet underground beckons you. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Lush Alchemy - (primary notes: firewood, lotus and moss)
persona: a forest floor awash w/ leaves, cut wood, rich layers, nuanced sweetness redolent with moss (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Shadow Woods - (primary notes: frasier fir, jasmine & pine)
persona: intensely woody, fresh, leafy, a forest of evergreens & pines with subtle floral undertones (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Marrakesh - (primary notes: nag champa, bamboo, teak)
persona: rich, woody, exotic, earthy like fine temple incense, lightly floral, musky & quite grounding (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Arsenic & Old Lace - (primary notes: rosewood & bay)
persona: antique, headstrong & warm like a centuries-old rosewood piano polished with resinous oils (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

-----Dandelo - (primary notes: dandelion blossom, pomegranate, geranium & willow)
persona: green blossoms next to the strange fruit of the underworld, semi-sweet, multifaceted & odd (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Prim - (primary notes: cypress, clover & lily)
persona: a primordial rainforest, lush, fantastically green, old-growth trees and their clinging vines (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Cabin Fever - (primary notes: juniper woods, clinging vines, wild flowers)
persona: woody & mildly sugared, a log cabin in the heart of a Juniper Forest at the edge of the world (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: White Frost On Filigree
Personality: Here are the members of the frozen winter forests, water nymphs and wildling rainforests, sunlit lily ponds alive with croaking things, white tea with Mad Hatters, fresh rainstorms and the dreamy mists they like to leave behind. Herbaceous, mildly floral undertones glimmer out clean & ozonic. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Winter/Spring

----Stormbringer - (primary notes: hyacinth, heather, lotus & musk)
persona: intoxicating, headstrong, unique with wild flower notes tinged in green-muskiness & rain (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Morphine - (primary notes: frost, white woods, white amber, musk & nag champa)
persona: Morpheus, bright and dreamy, mildly floral, herbaceous musk simmering with temple incense (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Lichen & Loam - (primary notes: lush clover & aloe)
persona: wondrously green, lush, clean, light, a verdant rainforest shivering with morning mist & dew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----White Willow - (primary notes: white tea & green woods)
persona: serene, delicate, light, a singular beauty outlined in ribbons of pale chartreuse and white (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Tiger Lily - (primary notes: calla lily & juniper woods)
persona: lilting, floral, untamed like wild lilies growing in a thick grove far from the hands of man (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Severus - (primary notes: cedar, spearmint, musk & rosemary)
persona: boldly minty, layered, musky, pleasantly herbaceous, woody & burnished by internal fires (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine)

----Sackcloth and Ashes- (primary notes: lavender burned woods)
persona: lavender is the dominant tone, heavily herbal, full-bodied, & flanked by scorched woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Absinthe Sugar
Personality: These are the members of the noble Absinthe Family. A great choice for connoisseurs of the Green Fairy, Old-Fashioned Black Licorice and exotic Star Anise, these two are Siamese twins and each one has a distinct personality. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter/Spring

----The Wormwood - (primary notes: anise, sweet pea blossom & mint)
persona: deeply green, heavy pools of licorice with mellow floral tones hemmed in a peppermint lace (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Sweet Absinthe - (primary notes: ravensara, sweet sage, anise)
persona: a mellow backing note of Anise next to warmly nuanced chords created by Ravensara & Sage (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: Of Springtime & Voodoo
Personality: Here are the Citrus Types: derived from the bitter orange tree and similar variants, the aromas here are vibrant with delicate, floral undertones. These work great for those that are fond of Ylang Ylang, Blood Oranges and Jasmine. Like the joy of sipping fresh lemonade on a porch in Summertime, this coven is refreshing, uplifting and bright. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Voodoo - (primary notes: neroli, white tea & ginger)
persona: floral, green, captivating, delicate, sweet, intricate, sun-dappled, sensual, relaxing & feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Devotchka - (primary notes: petitgrain & musk)
persona: fresh, woody, uplifting, a mildly citrus-y undertone is rounded with splashes of green musk (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Arcana - (primary notes: bergamot, lavender & myrrh)
persona: vibrant green, comforting, softly floral, herbaceous, balsamic, a mild sweet dashed with citrus (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Verbeana - (primary notes: lush lemongrass)
persona: vibrant, herbaceous, mildly woody, brightly lit with notes of lemon & leafy wildling woods. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Turkish Delights
Personality: Fabulously fresh and mayhaps a dash dastardly in it's occasional fruitiness, the Turkish Delight family of aromas is sweet in all the right ways. Balanced effortlessly with fantastic chords of green and a light dusting of powered sugar, this bunch shows a rare mix of youth tempered in wisdom. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Spring/Summer/Early Autumn

----Sugar Plum Fairie - (primary notes: plum, yuzu & chamomile)
persona: sweet, fruity, ripe, tea-green, fancifully effervescent, up-lifting, fun and playfully feminine (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----For Strange Little Girls - (primary notes: cucumber & green tea)
persona: clean, fresh, airy, carefree, bright, flirty, lusciously green & brightly feminine (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Laudanum - (primary notes: apricot, fig & ivy)
persona: fresh, subtle fruit w/ a bit of sweetness underpinned by green forest vines and other wild flora (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Ergot - (primary notes: kiwi, coriander, sage & vetivert)
persona: heady, bold and magnificently herbaceous with a lightly kiwi undertone to balance the brew (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Fooly Cooly - (primary notes: cherry blossom & green grass)
persona: a deliriously sassy cherry bomb, fruity and bold, shamelessly flirty, sweet with a green edge (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Swan Bow & Foxglove - (primary notes: currants, peaches & wild woods)
persona: arboreal, bright snow, loamy earth, crushed twigs, currants, evergreens & pepper peach Lambic (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Weirding Way - (primary notes: pear glace & vine)
persona: diaphanous, fruity, lightly sweet, wild vines entwine a core of ripe green Anjou Pears (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Miette - (primary notes: honeydew & green grass)
persona: a light, cool breeze, fresh cut honeydew melon outlined in a fringe of tall green grass (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Hester Prynne's Lot - (primary notes: wild summer watermelon)
persona: whimsical, dazzlingly, high green notes blend w/ the fresh sweetness of summer watermelons (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

----Barbarella - (primary notes: coconut pina colada)
persona: adventurous, boldly saccharine, sunny viridian notes nestle close to tropical coconut & rum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----Blue Velvet - (primary notes: wild blueberry & violet)
persona: darkly lustrous, a fruity sweetness subdued by a heavy pressing of musky, sensual violets (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Little Red Riding Hood - (primary notes: fire baked pears & cinnamon)
persona: daringly sweet & warm, Sri Lankan Cinnamon dusts fire-baked pears in a halo of sultry spice (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Orient Express
Personality: Richly layered, the aromas beneath the roof of the Orient Express are woven with a mix of fine spices, rare chocolate, roasted java, golden honey and other prized components from far off lands. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----For Lost Boys - (primary notes: chocolate-spiced colombian coffee)
persona: decadent, layered, dark-chocolaty, invigorating, warm & bold as a fresh cup of spiced espresso (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----The Spice Melange - (primary notes: cinnamon, clove & orange)
persona: sultry, wildly spicy, unconventionally bold, exotic and rich with softly chiming citrus-y notes (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Na Dobranich - (primary notes: spicy pumpkin pie & clove)
persona: a sweet-wood core filled with rich and spicy pumpkin pie powdered with the dust of cloves (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Feminine)

----The Patronus Charm - (primary notes: honey, almond & caramelo)
persona: old-fashioned candy, carefree notes of honey & caramel play warmly across toasted almonds (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Hemlock & Cream - (primary notes: colombian coffee & sweet orange blossom)
persona: vibrant, deep warm tones, an invigorating romance between roasted coffee & blood oranges (Aroma Gender: Unisex)

----Siamese Dream - (primary notes: allspice, coconut, vanilla & tonka)
persona: decked in bells of Allspice and Nutmeg, Coconut and Tonka pad in on velvet feet, purring sweetly, goose-down coats redolent with the woodsy scorch of java laced with chai and vanilla. (Aroma Gender: Unisex)


♥----------Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary
Personality: This candle lit backroom of an old-world apothecary shop is strictly for the adults. Have a sit down on the velvet settee and get comfy. Pull up the hookah and rest a spell and Mr. Wormwood with take care of all your needs. Terribly handsome with eyes like the Devil, he's well known for making the best sasparilla in the Northern Hemisphere. He also specializes in debauchery, caramels, odd magic, spiced rum, renegade medicinals and sweet cakes. No one leaves the parlor disappointed and they always come back for more. Members of this aroma family blush brightest during the following seasons: Autumn/Winter

----Vatrushka - (primary notes: chocolate ganache over yellow cake)
persona: buttery yellow cake slathered in a warm shell of chocolate Ganache (Aroma Gender: Feminine)

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑The Major Arcana - Lux Aroma Blends๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●
Some Pixxxie Pie and Posie aroma blends are priced at a slightly higher price point than others due to the expense of the essential oil components contained therein. These Deluxe Aroma Blends are listed below along with info indicating which aroma families they belong to for your convenience.

—–---A Tight Corset – (primary notes: moroccan amber & cardamom)
persona: carnal, spicy, sweetly-earthy, dark, intoxicating, a smoky brew inspired by legends and lore (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–---Satin Coffin – (primary notes: carrot seed, nagarmotha & maté)
Aroma Gender and Persona - Unisex, exotic, fantastically head strong & brown-sugar musky as if the very wood she's carved from were an ancient antique, once used as barrels for storing wild rum, sugar cane & primeval voodoo spices. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–---Persia – (primary notes: indian oudh/agarwood, labdanum & myrrh)
persona: dark, resinous, exotic, dry-herbaceous, extra-bold and wonderfully faceted, the aroma is marked by a distinctly musky fringe of Indian Oudh slowly melding with warm, maple-syrupy Labdanum (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - - Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–---The Blade Runner – (primary notes: angelica root, opopanax & musk)
persona: exotic, mildly wood, complex, a unique heart of gold with tendrils of musk & unlikely resins (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) -- Belongs to Aroma Family: My Devil's Heart

—–---The Devil & Miss Jones – (primary notes: lychee, bergamot & blue tansy)
persona: feminine, uplifting, mildly woodsy w/ faint fruity notes hemmed in unique floral overtones thanks the inclusion of blue tansy. (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

—–---Anguisette – (primary notes: moonflower, orchid, violet & musk)
persona: voluptuous, sweet and sexy, a musky, night blooming flower cultivated with purpose & care (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Secret Garden

—–---Behind The Green Door – (primary notes: spruce, wild woods, coriander & wild peppermint)
persona: unisex, wild, green, invigorating, this scent is a primal rain forest that's both lingering & bold in just the right ways. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

—–---Lovecraft – (primary notes: opopanax, oakmoss, vetivert, sandalwood & heavy musk)
persona: a complex creation made with a mesmerizing conspiracy of oils, deeply green and strangely woody, this potion is unisex, persistent, bold & heavily herbaceous with a heady musky fringe. (Aroma Gender: Unisex) - Belongs to Aroma Family: Greenwoods & Vine

—–---Rasputina – (primary notes: davana, benzoin resin & fresh baked honey cakes)
persona: a quirky strumpet, spiced rum, rich layers, striped bloomers, honey cakes & vanilla bourbon (Aroma Gender: Feminine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

—–---Sirius Black – (primary notes: immortelle flowers, teak & musk)
persona: deep, charming, musky, unbelievably warm, syrup-heavy caramel poured over antique woods (Aroma Gender: Unisex, Leaning Masculine) - Belongs to Aroma Family: The Victorian Apothecary

●▬▬▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬●FORGET-ME-NOTS●▬▬๑۩۩๑▬▬▬▬▬●

CHAIN LENGTH: 17 Inches and Adjustable
BOTTLE Height: 3.18 Inches
BOTTLE Width: 1.42 Inches
BOTTLE Thickness: 0.51 Inches

♥-----NATURAL COMPONENTS: Product is made from natural components. Handmade & eco-friendly, only high quality essential oils, botanical resins/oils & plant absolutes are utilized. The sumptuous carrier oil ingredients of this wonderstuff consists of the Pixxxie Pie & Posie "House Blend". Commonly consisting of a mix of Golden Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and a tiny touch of Hazelnut Oil, this mix makes for a perfume oil that leaves your skin soft & supple. Simultaneously, this lavish conspiracy of oils also adds longevity to the aroma oil itself.

Many Pixxxie Pie ingredients are organic or wild crafted, fair trade and all are GMO and cruelty-free. So get a little closer to nature and grab yourself a slice of Pixxxie Pie today=)

♥-----NUANCES OF NATURAL PERFUMES/COLOGNES: If this is your first time to try a natural perfume/cologne oil, consider checking out my blog article regarding the various nuances of natural perfume/cologne oils via the following handy link: http://www.pixxxiepieandposie.com/?page_id=38. Natural perfumes aren't like harsh,department store perfumes so remember to give yourself time to acclimate to your natural aroma. Many essential oils smell quite different from the interpretations of popular fragrances made with synthetic fragrance oils & alcohol. I.E.: Ginger, Lavender, Vetivert, Geranium, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Thyme, Rosemary & most florals.

♥-----WEARING TIME: These Pixxxie Pie Potions commonly have a wearing time of 3-9 hours depending on your body chemistry & activity level. Those made w/ persistent oils like Patchouli have an even longer wearing time in the 12-15 hour range.

♥-----CARE & KEEPING: Natural perfumes & colognes are the sparkly vampires of the perfume world so keep yours in a place that's cool and dark. Avoid leaving in high temperature areas. My aroma blends have a lifespan of 1-2 years if optimal conditions are maintained.

♥-----NEED A LARGER QUANTITY? Send an email if you require multiples of this product & the quantity available will be updated accordingly (once I check inventory). Pixxxie Pie's Victorian inspired products make great gifts for all sorts of events. Perfect for all manner of fairy tale weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and showers, they also make great tea party favors to boot! Brides & bridesmaids also find Pixxxie Pie products quite captivating.

♥-----OLD-WORLD VICTORIAN GIFT-WRAPPING: Product will come to you in gift-style trappings, packed w/ love and care w/ moss and petals. Most product labels & such are produced in-house & are completely composed of recyclable parchment paper. Peel off labels & keep tags to tuck away as keepsakes or bookmarks! Or keep the wee bags, perfume bottle, compact, locket, or vials for other uses since they are high quality & can easily be washed & up-cycled.

♥-----SHIPPING: Orders shipped in the USA are sent via USPS Priority Mail for super fast shipping with a handy tracking number that gets emailed to you through Paypal and USPS.com. Orders for international clients also ship via USPS with a customs tracking number. This business is a one-woman-show...so all orders ship out within 3-7 business days of payment receipt. Please send email or leave a note if you need your order shipped out by a specific date for a birthday or similar special occasion and I'll be happy to oblige.

♥-------ALWAYS PATCH TEST: Always remember to perform a patch test on a small patch of skin so you can make sure you're not sensitive to the essential oil components utilized. Many natural perfumers use a host of exotic oils, (some of which you've never heard of, much less ever been in contact with) so test things out before rolling around in your new product.

♥-----COPYRIGHT STUFFY STUFF: Photos, Products & Labels © Pixxxie Pie & Posie
You don't need my permission to blog about my shop or my products. I also believe in fair use when it comes to images and bloggers. You can use my images in relation to a blog article, but you can't print the images with intent to sell prints or other products featuring the image. Fair enough, right=)


          absinthe tea - herbal tea of wormwood, licorice, anise and mint - organic, fair trade loose herbal tea bursting w/old world charm by pixxxiepieandposie        

8.75 USD

A relaxing herbal tea from another dimension some would say. A hypnotically delicious cup of awesome tea-time wonder is what I like to call it right before I drink it on moody, stormy nights.

Please note that I'm awaiting my usual corked glass bottles, so until they arrive I will be shipping this tea in the corked test tubes seen in product photo number 4.

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(¸.·´ (¸.·`Pixxxie Pie's Absinthe Tea is like nothing you've ever tasted & I am proud to present it as the fourth of my "Genuine Pixxxie Pressed Teas & Tinctures" collection. This practically magical tea has been a guarded recipe in my book of tasty shadows for quite some time and after much deliberation I've finally decided to share it with the world.

Comprised of wholesome, fair trade, organic ingredients it is an exotic melding of richly cultivated flavors.

♥-----------The headiest components here are luscious, high grade, organic Wormwood, Spearmint, Licorice and finely ground Lemon peel of identical caliber.

♥-----------Next on our alchemical component scroll is a mixed allotment of organic Peony White Tea leaves, Kukicha Twigs, a light sprinkling of Lavender Buds and whole Star Anise Pods.

♥-----------Rounding off all this goodness is the semi-precious wonderment that is Roasted Brown Rice. Like a velvet ribbon accent on a present that is already sinfully fantastic, it adds a certain richness that is distinct yet smooth. It's an exotic flavor, almost bordering on the roasted tastiness one finds with fresh Sesame Crackers.

♥-----------All of these components meld together to create a cup of one of the most stunning green teas you've ever tasted. To say this is the stuff of which wild daydreams are made of would be putting it lightly. The taste is unmistakably Absinthe with lush herbal tones melding effortlessly with lavish spicy notes thanks to the inclusion of whole Star Anise Pods and dapper Licorice.

I must say, do consider avoiding moonlit walks after gulping this down, for it can make you easy prey for all manner of night's creatures.

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♥-----------(¸.·´ (¸.·`How Much You Receive------♥

You receive 1.5 oz of Geniune Pixxxie Pressed Tea. This makes about 3-5 cups of tea depending on the size of your tea cups.

I commonly use one of these bags in my personal tea pot and pull at least 6 cups from it since this is one of the rare loose teas that you can steep in hot water 2 times over and still get a delicious cup of tea that's not bitter from "over steeping".

♥----Tea is sent in a corked test tube with constituents layered in the lovely strata you see pictured. If you'd like the tea to come to you mixed please leave me a note in the Etsy buying notes box with the simple statement "Please Mix Tea Components".

♥----Product will come to you in gift-style wrappings, packaged securely with love and care.

♥----You will also find 2 re-usable drawstring muslin tea bags of cotton nestled alongside your tea. Despite sending you the little bags I really suggest using a tea pot with an internal basket or a French Press if you have one.

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¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·`--------------Notables------♥

-♥-Product contains caffeine.

-♥-All ingredients here are certified organic and fair trade.

-♥-Roasted Brown Rice is "puffed" and some grains puff out and expand like wild, giving them the look of small popcorn kernels.

-♥-Ingredients are super fresh, so this will probably be one of the freshest cups of tea you will ever taste. Very different from tea purchased at the grocery store that may have been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Drink lightly to gauge you tolerance since this strong stuff.

-♥-Tea lasts longer if you store it in a cool dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight. This tea has a rather long shelf life but it tastes best if you drink it within 60 days of receiving it.

-♥-You can also jazz this tea up a bit more by adding whipped cream or milk. Or serve it over ice for the days when you'd rather have your tea cold.

-♥-Steeping Time: 3-4 Minutes in boiling water. Sugar to taste. Tea brews up to a pale golden color under normal circumstances. The green hue shown in many of the product pictures is accomplished through the use of Pixxxie Pie's Green Sugar. This is simply sugar that has had a small dab of natural green food coloring added to it.

-♥- 1.5 Oz Corked Bottle Makes 3-6 cups depending on how strong you brew your tea. Amount of Wormwood herb in this mix is safe and is very low. Less than half a teaspoon is used. Keep in mind that herb of Wormwood has a slightly bitter taste. Some clients like to mix this tea with other teas like mint tea or green herbal tea to soften the flavor of the wormwood while still taking advantage of it's therapeutic and/or medicinal properties.

-♥-Product labels and such are produced in-house & are completely composed of recyclable parchment paper and the like. Peel off labels and keep tags to tuck away as keepsakes or bookmarks (they also attract fairy-folk)! Keep bottles for another use since its high quality and can easily be washed. Upcycling is your friend!

Products/Photos/Label Design © Pixxxie Pie & Posie


           Former Connecticut Dentist Ordered To Pay $700k For Medicaid Billing Scheme         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On August 11, 2016, a former dentist in Connecticut and his practice were ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution and civil penalties for improperly billing the state Medicaid program for pediatric dental cleanings and fluoride treatments. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says a Superior Court judge ruled that Dr. Douglas Macko and his practice violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. A Scheme to Improperly Bill Medicaid. According to Jepsen, Dr....


           Florida Attorney General Reaches Settlement with 411-PAIN         

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that her office has reached a settlement with 411-PAIN. The settlement requires 411-PAIN to pay $550,000 and change its advertising practices for allegedly making misrepresentations to consumers. 411-PAIN is a Florida-based attorney and chiropractic referral service. Lawyer Referral Service Allegedly Misrepresented Consumer Entitlements. The Attorney General pursued action against 411-PAIN for the company's alleged violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Chapter 501, Part II, Florida Statutes....


          Fairtrade cotton canvas cushion cover        
Fairtrade cotton canvas cushion cover

Fairtrade cotton canvas cushion cover

Westford Mill Fairtrade Cotton Canvas Cushion Cover is made from 100% washed cotton canvas and has been fair trade certified. It has self coloured concealed zips and can easily be printed or embroidered. 3 sizes available, small, medium and large.


          So much more than just sun protection with Zorah, Olay and Neutrogena!        
My innate laziness has me skipping beauty steps all the time - except for the one thing I would never shirk, my sunscreen! So sunscreen combined with something else is my favourite thing ever - here are a few products to enjoy that allow you to skip a step without losing any beauty benefits:

Skip your tinted moisturizer: 

Zorah Biocosmétiques BIO DEF Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30  - 50ml - $34.99 - with a silky and breathable mineral formula that is tinted to help even out the complexion and hide imperfections while protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays and is water and sweat resistant for 40 minutes. 

I love that it's a Canadian-made, fair trade, gluten-free, vegan product that includes argan oil - to help hydrate and regenerate the skin. Fair warning, if you have medium toned skin it will blend right in but if you are fair like me, it will add some colour so make sure you blend it into your neck as well so you don't end up with the dreaded foundation line around your chin!

Available at select health food stores across Canada and online at:  zorahbiocosmétiques.com
Skip your brightener:

Olay Luminous Brightening & Protection Lotion SPF 30 - 50ml - $34.99 - with a lightweight formula that delivers hydration 10 layers deep to help regenerate skin’s appearance and fades the look of dark spots while brightening skin over time, revealing more even skin tone while preventing more sun spots and protecting from further sun damage with a broad spectrum SPF.

Available at drug and mass retailers across Canada.
Skip your anti-ager:

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF 30 - 29ml - $27.99 - with an effective formula that fades the look of stubborn deep wrinkles, including crow’s feet, brightens the under eye area, smoothes the look of fine lines and reduces the look of dark circles with visible results in just one week. Contains accelerated retinol SA which combines the highest concentration of Neutrogena  retinol SA with glucose complex, an exclusive booster, to leave skin feeling smooth and looking younger.

Available at grocery, drug and mass retailers across Canada.

- Lisamarie -

          Theo Chocolate's Gooey Double-Chocolate Mocha Cookies        


I’ve been a fan of Theo, the Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate maker, since they opened their doors in 2006. Theo is one of the only companies in the country making chocolate from organic, fair-trade cocoa that it sources itself.  Naturally, I was excited when I heard they had a new cookbook out. Theo Chocolate: Recipes & 


Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker by Debra Music and Joe Whinney, co-founders of Theo (Sasquatch Books, 2015; $24.95), includes sweet and savory recipes for cooking with chocolate at home, along with the fascinating story of how Theo came to be (you’ll have to get the book to find out – no spoilers here!). 



Theo has also just launched a new line of organic, soy-free baking bars, so you can experience the recipes in this book with the correct chocolate. I chose an ooey-gooey chocolate cookie to try out from the book, and it’s a keeper that may just be added to my holiday cookie tray (hey, the competition is stiff!). I used a 70% 



chocolate, as directed, but it’s not Theo brand chocolate. The cookies still turned out wonderfully, all melty and ultra-chocolatey, but I am eager to try the new Theo baking bars.  It’s certainly worth checking out the Theo website to see the amazing line of chocolates from this smart and responsible company. www.theochocolate.com

Gooey Double-Chocolate Mocha Cookies
Recipe from Theo Chocolate: Recipes & Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker by Debra Music and Joe Whinney (Sasquatch Books, 2015; $24.95)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

10 ounces (283 grams) 70% dark chocolate, chopped, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/3 cup (44 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon finely ground Fair Trade coffee beans
2 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Melt 7 ounces of the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl, stir in the coffee, and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar together on medium speed until very thick and pale, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture, then the dry ingredients, and finally the remaining 3 ounces chopped chocolate and the walnuts.
5. Use 2 spoons or a small cookie scoop to drop rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they’re puffed, shiny and cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet – they will be very fragile. 

          Sunglasses        
More than two weeks have passed since Modesto's birthday. I still haven't gotten the bracelet to him. I've been working during the day, staying home at night, so our paths have not crossed very often. I took the bracelet out of my bag. I didn't want to lose it.

On Tuesday I was on my way home from the local food co-op. I'd picked up a few ounces of "Fair Trade" dark-roast decaffeinated coffee beans, a sesame bagel from a local bagelry, a couple of pieces of spicy, "Mayan" dark chocolate, about an ounce of organic arugula and some organic whipped cream cheese. A cornucopia of flavor for only a few dollars.

I was waiting for the light to turn when I saw Modesto. He shook his head, and smiled "hello" in his customary fashion. He was holding a pair of stylish sunglasses in his left hand. "Nice sunglasses," I said.

He smiles. "Five dollars. I want to sell for five dollars."

I said, "You should keep them, you need to protect your eyes from the sun."

He shook his head. "No, I don't need".

As he crossed the street he turned around and called back to me, "I give you sunglasses if I don't sell them in half-hour."

          People Tree - Fair Trade Fashion        



In the next few weeks I would like to share with you some of the inspirational designers I've discovered in the past few years. You will notice a common theme connecting them all, which is their interest in combining social responsibility with their businesses. These are values I respect a great deal, and I hope to some day make my mark in the world, while contributing to the economic livelihood of a community somewhere. (Most likely Mexico, because of my own personal connection to its people).

Safia Minney is an extraordinary visionary and pioneer in the world of Fair Trade Fashion. You may or may not have heard of her Fashion Company People Tree. It is based out of Japan (where she lives) and the UK (where most of her designers are located). The Mission Statement of People tree is "to use fashion as a tool to help the world's most marginalized people". Wow - what a great idea! It's so true that the world really doesn't need "another" new fashion label. So, why not at least make one with a good cause behind it?

People Tree works with 50 Fair Trade Groups in 15 different countries around the world to create beautiful clothing made of organic cotton, using fair trade practices and safe and natural dyes. The goal for the designers is to create fashion forward clothing using the MOST amount of labor possible! This goes completely against conventional thinking for mass produced clothing production. The designers for People Tree intentionally design hand techniques such as embroidery, beading or hand woven details into the garments so that more people will be needed to create the garments - thus giving more people a chance to earn money!

People Tree also offers internships to Fashion Students looking for work experience in the area of Fair Trade fashion. If such a thing had existed back when I was a design student I would have jumped at this opportunity!
          Economists are People Too        
In any period of economic transition there are upheavals at various levels, and winners and losers (at least in the short term). We live in just such an age today in North America, as we move from an industrial to a post-industrial information and service economy, from isolationism to increased globalization. Continue Reading...
          Trump Admin Makes Americans Poorer - 16% to 81 % Tariffs On Chinese Aluminum Foil        
Import tariffs just make consumers poorer therefore we shouldn't have import tariffs. The thing to also remember being that the only fair trade is free trade.
          10 Easy Ways To Make the World Better on Leap Day        
With the presidential primary season in full swing, not to mention all the things that are happening around the world, you may or may not have noticed that 2016 is a leap year. That’s right. This year we get an extra day in the month of February – and that extra day is a valuable resource […]
       

Related Stories

 

          New Fair Trade Leader Guide Makes Planning Easy        
Does your church have a resident “FTP” (Fair Trade Person)? My church does! His name is Al – and he knows just about everything there is to know about managing a Fair Trade sale within our congregation. And while Al isn’t planning to go anywhere anytime soon, I just know there is a wellspring of Fair […]
      

          Five Ways to Enhance your Thrivent Action Team with Fair Trade        
Did you know that with Thrivent Action Teams, you can reach out to people in your own backyard and around the world – by sharing the joy of delicious chocolate and coffee? Here’s how. If you are a Thrivent member, you have the opportunity to lead a Thrivent Action Team to volunteer in a one-time […]
      

          Meet Keely: Mother, Teacher, World-Changer        
As a Fair Trade Partner, you work your Threads business where you can, when you can. Keely Sullivan is the perfect example. Keely was a classroom teacher for nearly a decade. Though she loved her students, the days were long and she found herself energetically and emotionally exhausted. When she got pregnant with her
          Pack Light with Threads Style        
We're all about looking fair trade chic on vacation, but we also want to pack light. Good news: you can do both! Check out our packing style tips for easy (and fair!) vacation style. . 1) Pick your base Start with a basic metal color and only pack accessories in that tone. We went
          Together We RISE        
We just finished our Fair Trade Partner Conference 2017: Together We RISE. Holy moly...it was something else. With the Rocky Mountains and Denver skyline as a backdrop, 20 Fair Trade Partners and our Home Office Staff gathered to lean into our mission and increase our impact. Taryn Schroeder, a long time Fair Trade
          Summer Style        
This summer, we're rocking Threads jewelry at the beach, at the bonfire, and by the pool. Check out our modeling Fair Trade Partners to see why! 1) Summertime shimmer  We love the look of big, flirty earrings in the summer. Whether lounging in your swimsuit or out for a stroll, our Sentani and Gaya Earrings are perfect for
          5 Reasons Teachers Make Great Fair Trade Partners        
Our tribe of Fair Trade Partners consists of women from all different backgrounds, but it just so happens that many of them are teachers. If you’re a teacher as well, here’s why we’d love to welcome you into our tribe. 1) You’re already motivated to make an impact As a teacher, you
          Mother Me, Mother Mine, Mother All        
Last month, I was attending an event created by Seeds of Exchange, a beautiful organization led by Fair Trade Partner Sarah Davidson-Tracy. Seeds is working to create a robust and committed village in an effort to support the enterprises and well being of our sisters and brothers locally. During the event, we participated in
          [REVIEW] So Sticky        
[REVIEW] So Sticky[REVIEW] So Sticky

Haven't ever run a front tire that inspires so much confidence. Whether or not you will be able to clear a section will not have to do with the ability of this tire. I hear durability can be an issue, but after several rides I'd say it is a fair trade off for superior grip. I got the super gravity casing and haven't even come close to burping a tire.
          [REVIEW] Lots of Grip, Relatively Light for Size        
I switched to a Hans Dampf front tire in the summer when our trails started to wash out for additional grip. Its soft compound and big burly knobs combined with a nice 2.35 volume gives it plenty of predictable grip. At 830 grams its not a light tire by any means, but significantly lighter than other 29er trail tires in its class. One downside of the softer compound means that like most Schwalbes these wear down faster than a lot of other tires, but personally I consider it a fair tradeoff for the excellent performance i get out of them.
           국제정치경제 미국과 중국의 갈등        
[국제정치경제] 미국과 중국의 갈등.hwp 목차 Ⅰ. 들어가며 Ⅱ. 현황 분석 1. 미중 환율갈등의 배경 2. 왜 중국은 다시 달러페그제를 실시했는가? 3. 위안화 절상을 요구하는 입장 4. 위안화 절상 요구에 반박하는 입장 5. 해결방안 6. 최근의 동향 Ⅲ. G20정책안 1. 현재까지의 G20 2. Fair Trade Force Unit Ⅳ. 마치며 본문 Ⅰ. 들어가며 “미중갈등”이라는 개념은 이제 국제 영역의 어느 부분에서나 통용되는 단어로 21세기의 가장 큰 화두로 볼 수 있다. 인구와 영토라는 지정학적 조건을 발판으로 하여 중국은 79년 개혁개방정책 표방이 후로 연평균 10%의 경제성장을 지속적으로 이룸에 따라 명실공히 “세계의 공장”, 이제는 “세계의.......
          Sequel to "Exposing Magic"-Norm/Crocker ONESHOT        
Title: No Love For Prisons
Author: unknown20troper
Disclaimer: I don't own Fairly OddParents.
Rated: PG-13
Warnings: AU
Pairing: Norm/Crocker
Summary: Crocker makes a wish that Norm doesn't like and Norm practically dumps him. If Crocker wants Norm back, he'll have to prove that he loves him and doesn't want to exploit him.
Notes:
Sequel to Exposing Magic. ONESHOT. Constructive criticism welcomed, particularly on characterization.

 

 

 

No Love For Prisons

“Norm!” called Crocker, “I’ve got a wish for you to grant.”

GONG!

Norm appeared, feeling quite grouchy. Crocker had interrupted his sleep.

“What is it, Crockpot?”

Which was why he called Crocker, Crockpot instead of Shock Hot.

“First, I wish had three more wishes,” said Crocker, “Then, I wish I ruled the world and everyone was enslaved to me.”

GONG!

“Three more wishes, sure,” said Norm, “But I don’t like your last one. One: Ruling the world always fails because the common people rebel (I can’t blame them for that. Dictators aren’t pleasant rulers, I should know–I met millions of them.) Two: I kinda have issues with slavery.”

Norm gestured to his lava lamp.
Crocker remembered how Norm set the fairy free at the Fairy Café. Norm definitely seemed not to like slavery. Crocker wondered if Norm would reject him for this. Ruling the world and having millions of people as slaves was Crocker’s lifelong dream ever since he starting getting rejected regularly.

“Yeah, I don’t like most humans,” continued Norm, “But, you enslaving them all would probably tap in bad psychological issues I don’t want to revisit – and it’ll make me fear that you’ll do that to me and I’ll just become another toy to you, another tool to use for your own ends.”

Crocker was surprised that Norm would think that. He thought Norm liked him, loved him, thought him handsome and trusted him. Apparently, he didn’t do two out of three. Crocker tried to kiss and fondle Norm, but Norm refused his touch.

“Ya just want me because I’m a good date, a good kisser, a good stress ball and am capable of granting your wishes. Am I right?”

“No,” protested Crocker, “You are not right.”

“Well then,” said Norm, “Why don’t you prove it to me? All I see is a human that is mean to me and likes to use me for their own ends.”

Crocker felt like protesting how untrue that was, but couldn’t think of anything to say. Norm just seemed bound to think of him as exploitive and mean, regardless of what he did. Crocker considered buying Norm a present, but what could you get someone who could get whatever they wanted in a snap of their fingers?

“Remember what’ll happen to you if you reject me,” said Crocker.

“Now, you’re threatening me,” said Norm sardonically, “How sweet. At loose ends because you can’t think of a present that I can’t GONG up myself? You know, it’s possible to make me something yourself.”

Crocker thought of how he made all that fairy-hunting equipment. Maybe he could use his skills with mechanics and electronics to design a gift for Norm. But, what would Norm want?

Norm gazed at him. Crocker wondered if he was imagining the sadness in the genie’s eyes. Norm did want him; they were just having a spat, Crocker reminded himself.

Norm felt irritated by Crocker’s exploitive meanness, yet somehow Norm felt sad. Norm told himself that it was crazy that he was sad over Crocker. Still, he did feel something. And Crocker’s threat of being in trouble if he rejected him certainly convinced that not rejecting Crocker would be a good idea. However, again, it also was evidence of exploitive meanness.

Crocker went into the Crocker Cave and looked at all his fairy hunting stuff. None of it looked like a good gift for Norm, a gift that said, “I actually care about you and don’t want to exploit you. I’m sorry.”

Norm would never call him a Shock Hot again, never kiss him, and never date him if he couldn’t think of a good gift. Crocker would be rejected again, just like he was since he was ten. Crocker knew Norm wanted his freedom, but he didn’t want to give him up just yet.

Crocker heard the bell ring. It was time for him to teach children and be mean to them (the latter being his own choice.) He left the Crocker Cave and went into the classroom.

The children looked at Crocker in confusion. He looked kinda sad, not sadistic like usual.

“EVERYONE F!” yelled Crocker, “I FEEL TOO DEPRESSED TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT YOUR WORK BEFORE I MARK IT AND YOU DO ALL GET Fs ANYWAY!”

Norm groaned. Get into a spat with a guy one time and he goes to Emoville.

“How ‘bout I teach then?” asked Norm, “You need a break.”

Crocker was thrilled. He didn’t have to be in the same room as the little brats and Norm showed signs of still liking him.

Then, Crocker remembered how he theorized that there was a love fairy. Maybe he could ask him for help. Luckily, Crocker had a Fairy World portal in the Crocker Cave. He dropped down in the Crocker Cave and went through the portal.

“Where’s the fairy of love?”

“What?” teased a fairy, “Having problems getting laid?”

Crocker was infuriated. Fairies, humans, they were all the same. Then, he thought of Norm. After he and Crocker had defeated Turner, he had dated him, kissed him, fondled him and called him Shock Hot. He was here for Norm and he wouldn’t let any taunts stop him.

Fairy World amazed Crocker. The Fairy Café was only a sliver of its wonders.

“Cupid!” called Crocker, saying the name of the first love deity that came to mind, “I need your help!”

LOVE POOF!

“What is it?” asked the fairy that appeared, “Is someone having love difficulties?”

“Yes, I love my genie, Norm, but he thinks I only want to exploit him,” said Crocker, “How do I convince him otherwise?”

“The Fairy Dating Game? A personalized gift? One of my Love Arrows?”

“Norm did seem to ask me for a personalized gift,” said Crocker, “But what?”

“Genies hate smoof,” said Cupid, “Maybe, you could make him something smoof-resistant.”

“If he can resist smoof, he’ll be free and I’ll lose him forever,” said Crocker, “I’ll never get anymore kisses or dates or fondling. I’ll never have anyone who finds me surprisingly handsome.”

Cupid sort of felt sorry for Denzel. He didn’t know Denzel could be that sensitive.

“Denzel, if Norm decides he doesn’t want you, I’ll set you up with Waxelplax.”

Crocker wasn’t sure if he wanted Waxelplax anymore, but considering his problem with her was how she always rejected him, Cupid using his magic to set him up with her would solve all his problems with her.

“You have a deal,” said Crocker.

“Here are some magical device parts,” said Cupid, “You might need them.”

Crocker was LOVE POOFed back into the Crocker Cave with the parts. He examined them and starting putting them all together. After a while, Crocker had built a beautiful ring that helped the wearer resist smoof. He left the Crocker Cave and went to see Norm, who was teaching the class magic instead of math. Not that they’d be able to use it.

“Norm, I have a gift for you,” said Crocker, showing Norm the ring.

“A ring? Are we getting engaged or something?”

“No, though if you wanted to, we could be,” replied Crocker, “The wearer of this ring is capable of resisting smoof.”

Norm smiled and put it on. Crocker didn’t want to exploit him and was willing to give up control of him for love.

“You know, I don’t have to grant your wishes anymore,” said Norm, kissing Crocker, “But ya wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?”

“What’s ruling the world worth if I don’t have you there too?” flirted Crocker, “And I’m sure you’d grant my wishes anyway?”

“You’ve gotta kiss me for them though,” teased Norm, “Now, I’m resistant to smoof, I won’t grant just anyone’s wishes, will I?”

“That’s a fair trade,” agreed Crocker, “I want kisses from you too, you know.”

“I know,” replied Norm, kissing him again.

 

 

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          Top Reasons to Eat Oatmeal        

Healthy Directions Magazine featured an article on the humble oats.  These are a powerhouse of nutrition and a great way to add whole grains and fiber to your diet.  This great Canadian Magazine featured tips on getting your minimum servings of 3 whole grains a day.

Oatmeal for breakfast:

Eco-Planet 7 Whole Grain Instant Hot Cereal makes morning oatmeal a very easy dish for busy families.  The oat in Eco-Planet Instant Hot Cereal are uncontaminated oats that are batch tested for Gluten.  This Cereal works well for anyone with wheat and gluten intolerance.



"Cook up a large batch of steel-cut version, which is highest in beta-glucan.  Steel Cut oats take much longer to cook but is well worth it for the superior taste, texture, and health benefits,"  says Janet Bond Brille, Ph.D., R.D., LDN.  Beta-glucans are an effective LDL-lowering substance.



Highwood Crossings Steel cut oats are hitting shelves across health food stores and at your local Safeway this month. Or try their traditional "Old Fashioned Rolled Oats".  Much superior in texture and quality to regular grocery store instant varieties.

Oats are filled with soluble fiber which is perfect to maintain digestive health.  It is much more soothing on your GI track than scratchy brans from other grains like wheat.

Here is an Oatmeal Raisin Muffin Recipe that can be made using Alberta's own Highwood Crossing flours, oils, and oats.  Don't forget Fair Trade Arayuma True Cinnamon Spice.  This is the real cinnamon that has all the health benefits, it is not the cassia substitute you would find at your local grocery store.



Happy Baking Canada!



The Healthy Directions Magazine article is available here... http://healthydirections.dgtlpub.com/
          KICK OFF COFFEE!        


Saskatchewan Roughrider Fans can now start the day off with Kick Off Coffee.  The Roughrider Tin is filled with Kicking Horse Coffee's #1 selling roast, Kick Ass.  Exactly what the Roughriders will be doing this year!


Available at all Federated & Calgary Co-op locations.  Not only is this a Fair Trade Certified gourmet organic coffee roasted in beautiful British Columbia, but a portion of the sales will be going to the Children's Hospital Foundation.




          Trump Supposedly [Hearts] an FTA...With Europe        
Most nations have an inferiority complex relative to Germany. Why should the US be any different?
Has the maximally unpredictable Donald Trump, who you'd think sees any sort of multilateral FTA as a giveaway to foreigners (who steal jobs through unfair trade practices), changed his mind? Remember, this guy actually kept one of few campaign vows in extricating the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership enlargement negotiations. However, a brace of news reports now suggest that he is willing to negotiate an FTA...with the European Union.

Yes, that very same EU he encourages its members to leave from the UK to France he now wants his country to sign a trade deal with if reports are to be believed. The way the current story goes, Trump originally wanted an FTA with Germany during Chancellor Merkel's recent trip to Washington, DC. However, she rebuffed him by saying that any US-Germany deal must involve the whole EU. (Being an A1-ignoramus, Trump likely does not recognize that trade deals negotiations involving EU members have been assigned to the European Commission.) To this Trump supposedly said he will consider it.

What's more, Trump is said to be putting the EU next in the queue ahead of the UK European Union leavers:
A source close to the White House was quoted as saying that there had been a "realisation" in the Trump administration that a trade deal with the EU - allowing the tariff-free exchange of goods and services - was more important to U.S. interests than a post-Brexit deal with Britain.


"Ten times Trump asked her (Merkel) if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany," the newspaper quoted a senior German politician as saying.

"Every time she replied, 'You can't do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU'," the politician said. "On the eleventh refusal, Trump finally got the message, 'Oh, we'll do a deal with Europe then.'"
Trump, who has repeatedly criticised the EU, had welcomed Britain's 2016 vote to leave the bloc and said he would work hard to get a quick bilateral trade deal done.
But wait, it gets more interesting. Chancellor Merkel is tacitly going along with this version of events by encouraging it to play out:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel fueled expectations of a future EU-U.S trade deal on Sunday, saying she was "very encouraged" talks were being looked at after her recent trip to Washington.
Merkel, speaking at the opening of the 70th annual Hannover Messe trade fair, said Germany was opposed to protectionism and trade barriers, and would continue to work for trade agreements like the one signed between the European Union and Canada.

"I also feel very encouraged by my visit to the United States that negotiations between the EU and the United States on a free trade agreement ... are also being looked at," she said.
The inconsistency is puzzling but not unexpected since this is Trump after all: Being the unabashed white supremacist that he is, Trump likely thinks Germany and other Europeans come from "superior" racial stock worthy of signing an FTA with instead of Asians. So Germany runs a huge trade surplus with the US, but hey, they can better be trusted since they aren't coloreds! Plus, Germany today with its strong manufacturing base and export machine is exactly the sort of country he wishes the United States was. Voila! As Dick Cheney would say, trade deficits don't matter in this case since enhanced German market access to the US may result in an even larger bilateral German trade surplus given Deutschland's already-elevated competitiveness. 

Another thing an EU-US FTA would be is multilateral instead of bilateral. Trump prefers bilateral deals since they would be easier to strong-arm the other party given the sheer economic might of the US. Plus, it's easier to extricate the US from deals involving just one other party instead of many by putting in many conditions regarding currency manipulation, export surges to the US and so forth.

I suppose that if even Trump doesn't know what Trump will do next that it's quite pointless to speculate what may happen. Still, even by his standards, going all-out on an FTA with the EU would alienate the racist/protectionist/isolationist elements who elected him. (They have many Muslims in Europe besides, right?)

I leave you with this food for thought: whereas the US Trade Representative's website has already declared the Trans-Pacific Partnership dead at the hands of Trump, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations are still described in detail there.
          Fair Share MEN'S / UNISEX PULLOVER HOODY        
Fair Share MEN'S / UNISEX PULLOVER HOODY

Fair Share MEN'S / UNISEX PULLOVER HOODY

Fair Share Men's/ Unisex Pullover Hoody this is a wardrobe staple that can be worn all year round. It is made from an organic fair trade cotton so is perfect for adults who like to be environmentally friendly. 3 easy to wear colours available. 


          LA’s 3rd Annual Fair Trade Fashion Show Tackles Slavery and Human Trafficking        

The fashion industry is synonymous with excess, indulgence, and Kardashian-like superficiality. But a few forward-thinking visionaries hope to change that. One such hopeful is Sica Schmitz, founder and curator of the award-winning website, Bead & Reel, an ethical LA-based boutique. Later this month, Bead & Reel will host its third annual Fair Trade Fashion Show…

The post LA’s 3rd Annual Fair Trade Fashion Show Tackles Slavery and Human Trafficking appeared first on EcoSalon.


          Middlebury Institute is First Graduate School in US to Earn “Fair Trade University” Designation        
Teaser

Fair Trade USA recently recognized the Middlebury Institute of International Studies as the first graduate school in the nation to be designated as a Fair Trade University. 

Calling it a “momentous achievement,” Fair Trade USA recently confirmed that the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey is the first graduate school in the nation to earn designation as a “Fair Trade University.”

“Fair trade” is generally defined as trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries—e.g. prices that will both support equitable wages and provide sufficient margin to generate capital for future reinvestment. In order to be designated as a fair trade institution, the Institute had to complete a process outlined by Fair Trade USA. The process includes forming a team, auditing current practices across the organization, sourcing a minimum number of fair trade products, participating in fair trade education, and issuing a resolution signed by the school’s dean.

“Fair trade is about promoting farmer welfare by meeting specific standards,” explains Celina Lima MBA/MAIPD ’18, who led a team of students and worked with staff to secure the Institute’s designation over the past eight months. “It’s a way to make sure the people producing the product are getting paid fairly for the work they’re doing, and have the opportunity to reinvest in their community through added premiums received in addition to the above market wages earned.” With a smile, Lima notes while reviewing the requirements for certification that “MIIS was already doing all of these things – we just had to connect the dots.”

Lima adds that the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) was “instrumental” in the Institute’s efforts to secure fair trade designation, supporting the initiative and helping to connect Lima and others with key officials at Fair Trade USA and on campus. The team’s efforts also led to collaboration with the campus Sustainability Council and the Student Council, whose support included helping plan events for the upcoming Earth Week celebration as well as other activities on campus throughout the semester. The team’s efforts were first showcased on December at a Pop-Up Market sponsored by CSIL that featured a number of fair trade vendors and a fair trade booth as part of the initiative’s educational efforts.

“The fact that students led the drive to achieve fair trade designation for the Institute underscores what makes this school so unique,” suggests Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson. “Our programs are designed to give students the skills and tools to make a difference from day one, and they often prove this out by achieving remarkable results before they even graduate.”

“It means everything to me to have MIIS be the first certified fair trade graduate school in the country,” concludes Lima. “This school has been such a leader in the whole area of sustainability and social impact investing. To me, this shows that we’re committed to looking at multiple ways of addressing problems, supporting developing economies with both aid and trade. I think fair trade embodies everything that MIIS stands for.”

In the process of working to achieve designation as a Fair Trade University, the Middlebury Institute hosted a Holiday Pop Up Market in December featuring fair trade products and a fair trade education booth.

Is MIIS Spotlight
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Top Right Media

Holiday Market 2016

Location
Publication Date
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
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Research Centers

          How many different kinds of grapes can you stuff into one bottle of wine?        
De Bos Rosé is handpicked, fair trade accredited and made from 47 different varietals of grapes.
          Dieu du Ciel! Peche Mortel_        
Dieu du Ciel! Peche Mortel

Dieu du Ciel! Peche Mortel

Péché Mortel (Mortal Sin)


Péché Mortel (French for "Mortal Sin") is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavours. Fair trade coffee i..

Price: $9.99


          A Better Deal to Protect U.S. Jobs and Ensure Free Trade is Fair Trade        
Donald Trump made a lot of promises about killing lousy free trade agreements, promoting American made products and keeping U.S. jobs from moving overseas, but so far his idea of fair trade is more like his Yankees getting an all-star pitcher without having to give up a blue chip player in return. That would be […]
          Busy Day!        
I've been flying all over the country but I thought I'd post my food and fitness for today!
I had an Orange County layover so I got to go home and spend the night at my parent's house... It is always so nice to go home!  My Dad and I went for a 6 mile run today.  I was supposed to run it at Half Marathon Pace + 20 seconds per mile, but I knew since I was running it with my Dad that it would be a much faster run.  He pushed me to run the very hilly 6.02 (according to Garmin) mile run in 1:08:51 which translates to a 11:26 minute mile (or nearly 1 minute per mile faster than I was supposed to be running it!)  Although I was struggling at times I felt really great afterward.  We took a couple of small walk breaks due to the hilliness and my lack of exposure to hills in Houston.  It was such a gorgeous day for a run!  I sure do wish I had trails like this in my neighborhood to run.
Afterward we went to Silky Sullivan's (a restaurant owned by my Dad's close friend) for a delicious brunch.  I had an egg white omelet with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, cheese and avocado, as well as a bowl of mixed fruit, several cups of black coffee and my splurge - a delicious biscuit with butter and strawberry jam.  This, of course, was in addition to my pre-run breakfast of 2c puffed kamut cereal and 1/2c Kashi Go Lean cereal topped with skim milk.
Unfortunately my layover was on the short side and my Mom took me to the airport very soon after brunch.  Our plane was delayed so I got a tall nonfat latte at Starbucks.  I had a grilled chicken spinach salad with balsamic dressing, loaded up with tomatoes, cucumbers, raw almonds and walnuts and a few shrimp.  I also had some grapes and snuck a few bites of cheese.
We had a little bit of sit time in Houston before our Austin flight so I just read my book (The Perfect Mile... book review to come soon!).  We had Governor Rick Perry on our flight (along with his wife and entourage) and I just got to the hotel a bit ago.  Had a 20 minute phone call with the very tipsy husband ... always entertaining... while snacking on some Mary's Gone Crackers Organic Herb crackers and a few pieces of my Theo organic fair trade Orange dark chocolate... yum!
I've got a long day tomorrow... first a quick flight to Houston, some sit time and then a San Diego turn.  I'm planning on waking up early to hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes, but I might need to reassess in the morning because I have a feeling I might be quite sore.  My legs are doing alright, but I took a step class back to back with a yoga class and for some reason my back is feeling like it got quite a work out... I guess that means I need to step it up on the upper body work!
Goodnight!
          BEETOLOGY PRESENTS 5 HEALTHY REASONS TO DRINK YOUR BEETS        






NATURE’S SUPERFOOD PACKS A NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE INTO DELICIOUS COLD-PRESSED BLENDS



  • Beetology Craft Beverages, in Five Varieties, Answer the Call for Healthy Farm-to-Table Refreshment
  • Beetology Helps Re-fuel, Re-energize & Refresh 
  • Studies Indicate Beet Juice has Been Shown to improve:  Blood pressure, Energy Liver function, Eye and Skin health
I have to say I do eat my beets occasionally. Beetology Craft Beverages are so delicious. There are so many great reasons to drink a Beetology. Read all the reasons listed below. 
Bayonne, NJ, JULY 13, 2017– It’s a good bet that our ancient ancestors sat down to an infinitely simpler and more nutritious lunch than the tuna sandwiches and chips on our plates today. They used whatever ingredients nature brought their way, “straight up,” with minimal processing if any. And they discovered that certain foods from Earth’s pantry had properties that somehow seemed to make life a little better.
Today, of course, we know that different foods contain specific cocktails of nutrients associated with almost every aspect of wellness. And while superfoods have been around for ages, the demand for easy, tasty ways to embrace their powers has never been greater. Moreover, sophisticated consumers are interested in ingredients they can pronounce, served as close to farm-to-table as possible. But not everyone has time to grow and prepare a healthy diet from scratch.
That’s where Beetology’s new line of craft beverages comes in. These sweet, organic, cold-pressed juices are made from nothing but beets and a handful of other 100% natural, good-for-you ingredients like ginger, veggies, and fruit.  Beetology has created a delicious way to drink your beets for optimal health benefits.  According to many sources, beets may improve your health in the following ways.


1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.3
The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

2. Boost Your Stamina
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

3. Fight Inflammation
Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.

4. Anti-Cancer Properties
The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.

5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

6. Detoxification Support
The betalin pigments in beets support your body's detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Beets are also “a goldmine of health-boosting nutrients that you may not get anywhere else,” according to Health.com. And while scientists have yet to find the key to eternal youth, they’ve long known that beets contain antioxidants like lycopene, which boosts the production of collagen – associated with firmer, younger-looking skin.

“Beets are the new pomegranate,” said Charles Herzog, Chief Beetologist and VP of New Business Development at Kayco, producer of Beetology beverages. “Chefs, foodies, health-conscious folks, and even athletes have been tapping into the versatile beet in creative new ways.” Even Martha Stewart is getting into the act, he added. “Her latest cookbook has a Chocolate Beet Cake! She says pureed beets made it extra moist and not overly sweet.”

Consumers can feel good about serving Beetology anytime, anywhere. Every grab-and-go bottle of Beetology is 100% non-GMO, U.S.D.A. Certified Organic, and Certified Fair Trade. Each variety is non-soy, non-dairy, and certified kosher, with no preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or flavors.

  Beetology is a great way to refuel after a long hike, hard work out or a great yoga class.
Delicious, refreshing Beetology comes in five tantalizing blends:
  • Beet + Lemon + Ginger
  • Beet + Veggie
  • Beet + Tropical Fruit
  • Beet + Berry
  • Beet + Cherry

Find Beetology in the refrigerated section at health food, specialty, grocery, and kosher food markets. Beetology is produced by Kayco, one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of Kosher and Speacilaty food products. For additional information about all Kayco products visit www.kayco.com.



#ad
          Forget Plastic. Buy a Stylish, Reusable Shopping Bag.        
Society's plastic bag usage is estimated at well over 500 billion plastic bags annually, or almost 1 million per minute. Plastics do not biodegrade. They'll accumulate and persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years. Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food. Read the facts and figures regarding the true cost of plastic bags.
Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.

Stop using plastic bags and get yourself some reusable bags. Here's some eye-catching, cute bags you can purchase.

1. ACME Bags™ - Plastic Bags Blow™ Dual-Handled Tote

Made with Fair Labor / Fair Wages
Size: 14.5" H x 11.5" W x 6.5" D
Long handles: 25" loop
Short handles: 8.5" loop
Price: $9.95
Buy 4-9: $7.95 each
Buy 10 or more: $5.95 each
Buy here: reusablebags.com


2. Envirosax - Set of 5 Flora Pouch, Reusable Shopping Bags

Includes 5 bags and a storage pouch
Pouch size: 9" x 6"
Individual bag size: 19.5" x 16.5"
Individual rolled up bag size: 4" x 1.5" diameter
Handles: 18" loop
Set of 5: $37.95
Buy here: reusablebags.com


3. Organic Hemp Tote

Made of 100% organic hemp mesh fabric processed without the use of any chemicals. Made in Romania by a workforce that is treated fairly, paid above-average wages and provided with health and pension benefits.
Size: 15.75" x 17.5 x 3"
12" loop handles
Price: $8.95
Buy here: reusablebags.com


4. Eco-Chick Organic Cotton Shopping Bags- Set of four


Organic Cotton
17'' tall X 16'' wide X 4'' bottom gusset
Double enforced 2'' wide straps
5'' X 5'' pocket inside of the bag
Set of 4: $140.00
Buy here: greenhome.com


5. Gecko Traders - Recycled Market Bag

100% recycled from rice & feed bags originally used for transporting various goods in Asia. One of a kinds. Handcrafted in small batches by disadvantaged workers in Cambodia. Each bag sold helps provide sustainable living to Cambodian weavers & producers, many of whom are disabled/economically disadvantaged single mothers supporting households.
12" H x 18" W x 6" D
10" loop handle
Price: $22.95
Buy here: reusablebags.com


6. Reisenthel - Market Basket, Baroque Sand

  • Winner prestigious Design Plus award
  • Durable, lightweight aluminum frame
  • Tough, tear-proof polyester cover
  • Collapsible, with removable supports on sides
  • Sturdy bottom with rubber feet
  • Soft rubber-grip handle
  • Zip pocket inside
  • Fair Wage / Fair Labor
  • 19" x 12" x 11"
    25 liter volume
    Price: $39.95
    Buy here: reusablebags.com


    7. Get Hip Get Green Reusable Shopping Bag

    Each sale will mean a donation to the children's environmental group "The Green Ambassadors" - Youth empowering youth.
    Dimensions 13.5" H x 12.5"W x 8.5"D
    1 for $6.00 or 5 for $25.00
    Buy it here: thegreenloop.com


    8. Love This Planet Reusable Shopping Bag

    Each year over 1 million birds and sea mammals die from plastic ingestion or entanglement.
    Dimensions 13.5" H x 12.5"W x 8.5"D
    $6.00
    Buy here: thegreenloop.com


    10. Fair Trade Jute Recycle Shopping Bag

    The bag features a 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' logo on the front and a 'shared earth' logo on the back. Every bag is handmade and printed by women and self-help groups at a fair trade project in Kolkata. The supplier is a member of BAFTS & IFAT.
    Size H39 x W36cm.
    Price: £3.87
    Buy here: naturalcollection.com


    11. Freedom Tree Shopping Tote

    The Breast Cancer Site will fund 1.0 % of a mammogram for each Freedom Tree Shopping Tote purchased. Handmade by women rescued from a life of sex trafficking by a unique social enterprise called Freeset Bags in Calcutta, India. 100% natural, eco-friendly, and renewable jute fibers are used to make the bags.
    14" T x 12" W x 4" D (35.5 x 30.5 x 10.2 cm)
    Price: $12.00
    Buy here: shop.thebreastcancersite.com


    12.Waste Not, Want Not
    100% RECYCLED COTTON SHOPPER TOTE


    This 100% recycled tote is made with 80% post-industrial recycled cotton and 20% post-consumer recycled plastic.
    Size: 18" W x 17" H
    Price: $12.00
    Buy here: uncommongoods.com


    14. Envirosax Mikado Bag 3

    Designed in Australia, founders Belinda and Mark David-Tooze ensure fair labor practices and wages in their Chinese factories, making these bags all the more desirable
    (w) 16.5" x (h) 19.5"
    Price: $10.00
    Buy here: tobi.com


    15. Envirosax Mikado Bag 5

    Designed in Australia, founders Belinda and Mark David-Tooze ensure fair labor practices and wages in their Chinese factories, making these bags all the more desirable
    (w) 16.5" x (h) 19.5"
    Price: $10.00
    Buy here: tobi.com

    -More Envirosax bag designs


    16. Canvas Recycle Tote

    With a sturdy canvas construction, and the very recognizable recycle graphic in vibrant greens, the Canvas Recycle Tote features 22" handles, and an adorable olive green polka dot lined interior.
    Measures 17" x 13"
    Price: $36.00
    Buy here: patinastores.com


    17. Beau Soleil Beau Bag

    Buy here: shopbop.com


    18. Peas Recycle Tote

    This reusable bag is both figuratively and literally green. Once you've carried your groceries home inside, simply fold it into the special green pea on the front.
    Price: $12.74
    Buy here: modcloth.com


    19. Heavyweight Hemp and Organic Cotton Grocery Bag

    Available colors: Black, Olive, and Purple.
    Combining durable hemp and soft organic cotton, the Heavyweight Hemp / Organic Cotton Grocery Bag makes an excellent reusable tote bag stylish enough for everyday use around town.
    14" H x 12" W x 7" D
    17" handle length
    5.5" x 5.5" exterior pocket
    Price: $17.95
    Buy here: reusablebags.com


    20. Heavy Duty XL Hemp Tote

    Colors available: Natural, Black, Sage, and Brown
    Made of super strong 18 oz. hemp fabric. During the seller's trips to the grocery store they've noticed that using this one bag can cut down on 4-6 plastic shopping bags at a time.
    Manufactured in a small town in the highlands of Guatemala by a small family business that pays special attention to quality. Fair Labor and Fair Wage.
    Dimensions:
    17" W x 15.5" H x 7" D
    11" loop handles
    Price: $32.95
    Buy here: reusablebags.com


    21. Gecko Traders - Recycled Wave Tote

    100% recycled from rice & feed bags originally used for transporting various goods in Asia. Handcrafted in small batches by disadvantaged workers in Cambodia. Fully-certified Fair Trade Federation (FTF) member. Colorful, well designed & no two are exactly alike.
    Dimensions:
    14" H x 22.5" W x 8" D
    Handles: 12" loop
    Colors available: Blue/Green, Dark Pink/Orange, Green, and Blue.
    Price: $35.95
    Buy here: recyclebags.com


    22. Envirosax - Organic Series, Hemp Bag Natural Green Script

    Envirosax Organic Series bags are printed with vegetable-based inks and are all packaged in a recycled cardboard box that has been printed with organic soy-based waterless inks. Made from 100% fine grade hemp. Hip and stylish way to promote environmental sustainability and awareness.
    Dimensions
    Pouch size: 7.5" x 6"
    Individual bag size: 19.5" x 16.5"
    Max weight capacity: 22 lb
    Handles: 17" loop
    Price: $24.95
    Buy here: reusablebags.com


    23. Standard Reusable Shopping Bag

    Dimensions: 13.5x12.5x8.5 "
    Buy one at a Target Store (not available for purchase online)


    24. Cotton Shopping Bag with Print (Heavy Canvas)

    Two choices: "Take Action" (as shown in photo on left) and Grassroots Logo (as shown in photo on right)
    Price: $6.95
    Buy here: grassrootsstore.com


    25. Organic Cotton Bold Bag (one of my favorites)






















    BE BOLD! This bag says AND does it all. Get the message across to those still coveting the plastic bag.
    Dimensions:
    7'' tall X 16'' wide X 4'' with a bottom gusset for added strength
    Price: $10.00
    Buy here: bringyourownbag.ca























    26. Natural Cotton / Tweet Tote

    An original BYOB classic brought back by popular demand. The 'Tweet' bag will have you dreaming of Spring through those long winter nights.
    Dimensions:
    17'' tall X 16'' wide X 4'' with a bottom gusset for added strength.
    Ethically made in Vancouver, BC CANADA.
    Price: $10.00
    Buy here: bringyourownbag.ca


    27. Paper or Plastic? Just say 'Mi-Bag'

    With four designs (Zebra, Cat, Birds (photo above), and Elephant), you're sure to find your Mi-Bag.
    Mi-Bag holds a lot more than a regular plastic bag, but it can also fold into a small built-in pocket, so you can take it anywhere. body: W 18" x H 23" x D 7" pocket: W 6" x H 7". See how it works.
    Price: $24.00
    Buy here: id-adesigns.com

    28. Flip & Tumbles' 24-7 Bag and Loopt Bag

    24/7 Bag ($12.00):


    Loopt Bag ($6.00):

    Read about the two different styles: here
    Buy here: flipandtumble.com

    29. Baggu
    Choose your size and choose from a variety of colors

    - Baggu: A reusable shopping bag. Carry in your hand or over the shoulder. Holds the contents of 2-3 plastic grocery bags. 14" wide / 23" high / 5" deep. Folds into a flat 5" by 5" pouch. Holds 25 lbs. $8.00
    - Baby Baggu: A small reusable shopping bag. Perfect for your lunch, a six pack, extra shoes, a trip to the corner market. 10" wide / 18" high / 4" deep. Folds into a flat 4" by 4" pouch. Holds 25 lbs. $6.00
    - Big Baggu: A big reusable shopping bag. Carry in your hand or over the shoulder. 18" wide / 32" high / 7" deep. Folds into a zippered 7" by 7" pouch. Holds 25 lbs. $14.00
    Buy here: baggubag.com


    30. Skeeda Reusable Totes

    Comes in 11 different styles, including polka dot and other fashionable designs.
    Holds 2-3 times as much as normal plastic bags, so you’ll carry fewer bags.
    Dimensions:
    17" wide x 14 1/2" high with a 3" gusset
    11 1/2" handles (fits over your shoulder)
    Price: $15.00
    Buy here: skeeda.com


    31. This Bag is Garbage Tote



    Crafted from the colorful plastic bags that litter the streets of New Delhi, these totes are made using a unique non-toxic process that melts the bags together to create a durable material. Fair trade. 3 designs to choose from.
    15 x 12 x 5.5 (in.)
    Price $44.95
    Buy here: originalgood.com


    32. Rootote Medium- Stripe

    Size: 42(L) x 32(H) x 14(W)cm
    Price: A$20.00
    Buy here: rootote.com

    Buy a reusable bag, and help make plastic bags history.


    Please share/social-bookmark (digg, stumble, reddit, myspace, facebook, etc) below:
              Harvest Moon Festival Announces Lineup for 14th Annual Event        

    Summer is packed with festivals celebrating live music outdoors across the province, but the festivities don't stop when the weather turns slightly chilly. The Harvest Moon Festival takes over Clearwater September 18-20 for three days of workshops on sustainable living, farmer's market, kid's fun, fair trade fair, food vendors, and a big helping of local music surrounded by the beauty of the Pembina Valley. 


              Harvest Moon Festival Celebrates 13 Year of Music and Sustainable Living        

    It may be a little bit chillier out there, but there's still some great live music to experience in the beautiful Manitoba outdoors for this busy Year of Music. The 13th annual Harvest Moon Festival, which runs September 12-14 in Clearwater, will offer up a weekend of workshops on sustainable living, farmer's market, kid's fun, fair trade fair, food vendors, and a big helping of local music. 


              Harvest Moon Festival Sings Out the Summer        

    As we prepare to say goodbye to another fantastic summer of music, there's still more songs to be heard in the beautiful outdoors. The 12th annual Harvest Moon Festival, which runs September 13-15 in Clearwater, will serve up a weekend of workshops on sustainable living, farmer's market, kid's fun, fair trade fair, and a big helping of local music. 


              Have an Ethical Halloween!        
    Hello readers!  I hope you have had a wonderful week!  My week has actually been pretty stellar, but I'm glad it's the weekend now.  I have kind of a busy weekend ahead, with a Halloween costume that needs altering, an appointment, a friend coming over to plan our upcoming trip to Costa Rica (eeeee!!!!), some major cleaning, a new washing machine arriving, and some cooking for the week.  I'm really looking forward to a "nothing" weekend, when I can just sit around at home, do what I've gottta do, drink some wine and watch some movies.  Soon, please.

    Speaking of Halloween, by the way, it recently came to my attention that there are two sides to trick or treating.  We only see all the adorable ghosts, witches, princesses, and superheroes.  But half a world away are the other children of Halloween: the child labourers.  I recently came across an article on the Good webpage about Halloween chocolates most of us give out to  the trick or treaters.  Kristen Howerton writes:
    "I’m the mother of four children, age two to six. That means I’ve spent six Halloweens supervising my kids as they canvas our neighborhood, snapping up chocolates from our neighbors. I only discovered last year that my kids were collecting the products of child laborers, some of whom have been trafficked for the chocolate trade.
    Every October, American kids like mine are treated to a wide array of chocolates—Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers—because hundreds of thousands of children in West Africa are enslaved harvesting cocoa beans. These children are performing this work for the benefit of most of the mainstream chocolate providers in the United States. A report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. Many of them have been taken from their families and sold as servants. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations, since they don't own them. This group includes Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the U.S. division of Cadbury. Collectively, they are responsible for pretty much every snack-size candy bar available in stores this Halloween.
    The connection between major candy bar manufacturers and child slavery is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. I consider myself proactive about educating myself about social justice issues, and yet I only found out last year by way of a documentary produced by the BBC.  I was shocked to learn that the International Labor Rights Fund has sued the U.S. government for failing to enforce laws prohibiting the import of products made with child labor. And I was even more surprised to hear that the chocolate industry has blown by numerous deadlines set by Congress to begin regulating itself. A few major chocolate companies have mounted some smoke-and-mirror campaigns over the past year, either offering obscure fair-trade chocolate bars in addition to their slave-made materials or making a big show of donating to charities that support farmers. This does not change the fact that they refuse to be accountable for human rights abuses of children in their supply chains.  
    What concerns me even more is that we, as consumers, are not demanding that this be stopped. Some continue to buy chocolate even after learning about these human rights abuses. I’ve heard excuses from people in my own life, and they echo the rationalizations I’ve made myself in the past: "We can’t afford fair-trade." "We’re addicted to chocolate." "We can’t change everything." Secretly, we just don’t relate because these are kids in a far-off country instead of our own. It’s ok as long as we don’t have to see it happening right in front of us. We’ll take the candy bar.
    I’m here to ruin it for you. Now you know. We can’t look away. Our family has limited its chocolate purchases to free-trade, but Halloween poses a unique challenge. Kids are bombarded with big-brand marketing on Halloween, and may be looking forward to some of the candy bars that we know to be unethical. Fair-trade chocolate is not always presented in a way that appeals to young kids, but there are options out there packaged in kid-friendly, seasonal wrapping. Candy that doesn't contain chocolate is always an option, too.
    This Halloween, my family is breaking up with commercial chocolate and buying fair-trade. I hope you will, too.
    Now read about where to find ethical Halloween candy that doesn't suck."
    Pretty sad, though nothing surprises me when it comes to big companies like that.

    Now, our street is BIG on Halloween - we get about 750 kids.  There is apparently some kind of director that lives a few doors down from us, and he goes all out with decorating his house and yard with elaborate displays.  Many of the neighbours have followed in kind, so our street is quite a spectacle on Halloween night.  Last year we gave out 300 pieces of candy and were done by around 7:30pm.  The trick or treaters were still coming by until 9:00pm.

    Because of the volume of kids we get, we will have to find a more economical option than fair trade chocolate, like candy instead.  Also, we aren't in total control of our Halloween candy, as we don't own our house; our landlord buys a big box of those mini chocolate bars for us to give out.  I'm not exactly sure what to do about that.

    Anyway, just something for everyone to ponder this year when picking up Halloween candy.  It sure has made me think twice about our options.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    ~C.

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              Derwent Moors and Ladybower Reservoir        
    Ah, another week and another fine walk.  As you can see, this time we were joined by our friends the Seppanens (blog link).  Jay joked that he likes walking with us because I plan it all out and he doesn't have to do anything.  It's a fair trade because Karl keeps Alex distracted by listening to his endless gaming questions.  [Lori -- we missed you again on this one.  Is it a coincidence that we do these combined walks when you are in the States?  :-) ]

    We really enjoyed this one as it had varied scenery (and as it turns out weather), had a nice pub near the end and was a good distance for the crew.   Highly recommended.

    The weather forecast wasn't the best but it looked like we had a few windows of opportunity.  We got an early start to give us the best chance.  You really just have to give it a go here because it will rarely be perfect (and rarely consistently miserable).

    We cast the net a little further on this one.  The walk was in the Dark Peak near the Ladybower Reservoir.  The Ladybower Reservoir was the third of three reservoirs created by damming the Derwent River in the first half of the 1900s to fulfill the growing water needs of the area (due to the Industrial Revolution).   Collectively, they provide practically all the water needs of Derbyshire and some of South Yorkshire.

    Since the starting point was farther north than usual, I opted to take the longer, motorway route (to avoid the A6) which took just over an hour.  This had us go through Sheffield for the first time.  Can't say we've missed much there.

    The starting point for the walk was a large lay-by near the Cutthroat Bridge on the A57.  [The name traces back to a murder almost 400 years ago where a man was found with a slashed throat that later became fatal. (link)].  It passes through the Derwent Moors and later has views of the Ladybower Reservoir (we went counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise for my UK friends) around the loop (also recommended)).

    Stats for the 7 of us:  5.4 miles in just over 4 hours (2:34 moving; 1:36 not moving, including a pub lunch).  I like the fact that 5 miles qualifies as a short walk for us now!

    This route was in 2 different walking books that I had.  One had a shorter route (the pink cut through) and another had a longer version.  Glad we did the longer one as some of the best views were along that ridge.  You can see from the light blue tracking trace that we inadvertently started down the the more obvious shorter route before realizing that we need to backtrack.  I was too busy yakking with Jay.

    The first bit of the walk was through some sheep fields.   We had a hard drizzle at this point.  It wasn't too bad and we all were generally prepared for that level.  I've heard that some say there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.  Not sure I fully agree, but we didn't get to that point on this walk fortunately.


     more baby sheep (Nicole requested that I not call them lambs, since, you know, that's what we, um, eat)


     momma coming over to protect the babes -- quintessential stone fence as well


     random horse amongst the sheep -- he/she seemed out of place


    after the fields, we reach the moors -- I like the contrast of the browns with the greens.  We saw quite a few birds in this portion of the walk.  I'm fairly certain they were grouse.  Too distant and camouflaged for a photo though.


    a nice sample of the scenery


    after a decent, steady climb we start to get a hint of the valley on the other side -- the clouds look ominous but they didn't open up (in fact, it had stopped raining at this point)


    Ah, the first peak at the reservoir on the other side.  We walked along the ridge for a bit with varying views like this one.


    Nice one of the boys taking in the view.  Karl is 3 years older than Alex and shows great patience with him.


    Tried to get a little artsy here though not sure I pulled it off.  This is a view to our left/south (i.e. the other direction from the other shots above).


    another of the reservoir from a different vantage point -- you can see we are getting some sunny interludes at this point


    taking in two parts of the reservoir and the bridge


     closer view of the bridge with the sun shining now


     and another


    we walked down off the ridge and into a pine forest (not shown) for yet more varied terrain -- we then entered this gnarly forest


    It's tough to see, but at this point it started hailing on us.   That came up really quick.


    Fortunately, we were close to our lunch stop.  By going the counter-clockwise direction we took the more gradual ascent and it also put the Ladybower Inn closer to the end.  Nice little pub.


    I even splurged for a proper lunch -- lamb chops were the special of the day and I couldn't resist. 
     

    Finally, the homestretch from the pub to the car and this typical moor-ish scenery. 


    Great walk and a nice lunch.  Glad the Seppanens could join us.  I've already picked out another walk further up (and on the other side) of the reservoir.  Looking forward to that one as well.


    Another Round of Food

    a few more items from Jamie's 15-minute meals this week

    Chicken Cacciatore--decent, but not in the top 10 

     a repeat, but photo worthy -- salmon and cod with lime, honey and sesame and . . .

    a side of crunchy veg on noodles (that you can't see)

    Have a good week everyone.



              Honestly        
    My Diet Coke addiction is getting worse. I don't care. I try and drink a lot of water to balance this out. I figure it is a fair trade.

    I have to use the restroom a lot. I could hang with the pregnant.

    I am having the 7 year itch at school. I don't necessarily want to leave it, by any means, but I certainly feel a bit lackluster as compared to other years. Time for a new unit or 12? Probably.

    I can spend more hours of the day sleeping than waking during my period. All I want is sleep. And ibuprofen. And chocolate. And to punch someone in the jugular/junk (depending on their placement on my annoyance spectrum).

    I have anxiety. It is almost debilitating, but usually some combination of reasoning and ugly crying into the lap of roomie as she soothes me and my ridiculous woes helps. We also sometimes go for a fro yo run if it isn't, you know, 11:47 at night. Usually anxiety hits around 11:47 at night.

    I secretly wish to have a Missed Connection written about me.

    Some books need to be stand alone books. Simply one book. Not the first in a series. Just that first book. Only that one book. Sorry, publishers, but you're beating it into the ground for money and we all know it and it is ruining publishing. Authors, shame on you for this!

    I am in love with my phone, iPod, and laptop. It borders on unhealthy.

    I dig politics. I swing liberal. I love that I have the right to vote. I die a little inside when I hear from people, especially women and individuals of color, who don't vote. So many sacrifices were made so they could vote. I struggle that they fail to understand how many people DIED and were beaten and abused and imprisoned so they could cast a vote. Show some respect. And not just every 4 years. (I say this to my pre-22 year old self.)

    I don't get these floral/native/fair isle/legging/pant designs. It is one thing to regret such fashion decisions from your adolescence, it is another to make such choices as a grown woman. Listen, little Trendy-McTrendy-Sauce: You. Will. Regret. It. Mark my words. I had a houndstooth background/floral foreground pair of leggings in 5th grade. Ugly then. Ugly now.

    Even so, I'll love you even if you wear hideous pants. I love that you are passionate about fashion to the point of risky. And a little piece of me will always be jealous of how cute your rockin' fanny looks in 'em. But you do realize there's a giant deer on your ass cheek, right?

    I believe in cheap shoes. I have a hard time spending more than $30 for a pair of shoes. I covet real leather. I comfort myself at Payless.

    My dog. I love her like a newborn baby. I became that person. She is intoxicatingly sweet and every nurturing bit of me expresses itself on my Betsy. It is what it is. But have you seen her?


    I know for a fact I could be the person who narrates audio books. I've decided this would be easier than being a voice on NPR. I would just have to read the book in advance, get a sense of the narrator, and record it. I want that job so bad! Anybody know how I get into that?

    I am delighted that nerds are taking over the culture. It is about time people realize there's a little nerdy in us all.
              Paper or Plastic with Your Fair Trade Baby?        
    The flagship newspaper of Utilitarianism never disappoints. In its latest edition, The Economist makes the case for fair trade human reproduction. It argues that it is time for a system that allows the “commissioning parents” of a surrogate child to … Continue reading
              Trade Show & Wholesale        

    Hey Guys,

    We just got back a few days ago from a trade show that we were attending so currently things are very busy, im sure some of you know but a good few may not that we are now working with Lord of Battles as their UK distributor, along with the re-launch of the new and highly improved Tora Hanta range of samurai swords that are made exclusively for us.

    So who are Lord of Battles? They are a manufacturer that make medieval armour, swords, drinking horns and more and have grown in their global presence to be retailed and sold by many places including Kult of Athena, but they didnt have a presence in the UK really so we have been working with them to become the Official UK Distributor, meaning this brand that has been recieved so well elsewhere in the world is now here and sold both retail and wholesale by us.

    What about the new Tora Hanta line? Well we made some changes to the original set of swords including longer blades to be more suitable for actual use, clay tempered 1060 blades at minimum meaning all of the swords are cutting ready and a decent blade and generally more of a focus on having practical usable swords. While this does mean a little higher price it does also mean that the quality has been ramped up significantly and again we can wholesale and retail these.

    And with these two lines (one rather extensive) we had an official launch into the wholesale / distribution side of things at the 2016 Spring Fair trade show. While up there we got to meet many people both who just re-enact or collect along with a lot of shops and retailers. The show was a pretty exhausting week and a bit and we are still processing, sorting and getting out the orders that were taken so things might be a little slower than usual for a short while but we will be back to normal soon.

    Have included some pictures below for you guys to see the stall that we had set up. And if any of you are interested in the wholesale side of things, head over to https://southernswordstrade.co.uk to see what we do. If you are interested in becoming a wholesale customer and have an account already, send us over your company name / information and that you wish to have a wholesale account and we can look into converting your account to allow access to the trade site too.

     

     

     


              Chocolate Concierge        
    Designed by Anagraphic | Country: Budapest “We care about bean origins, fair trade, and we care about each process that leads up to placing our chocolates in your hands. Our concierge service will match you with the right combination of chocolate for your unique occasion from a collection that is thoughtfully curated.”
              PICO        
    Designed by Swear Words | Country: Australia “PICO is a premium gluten-free, vegan, fair trade certified, Swiss chocolate range conceived and designed in Melbourne. A premium chocolate range launching in an already visually busy environment, Pico required impactful, contemporary branding and packaging whilst giving a nod to its Swiss chocolate-making heritage. Our solution is inspired […]
              270 RR #talkpay with Lauren Voswinkel        

    All Remote Conferences

     

    02:01 - Lauren Voswinkel Introduction

    02:39 - May 1st: International Workers’ Day

    06:11 - #talkpay

    10:22 - Fair Trade of Value; Companies and Salaries

    19:37 - Salary Maximization and Negotiations

    22:40 - Executive Salaries

    25:58 - Hashtag Effectiveness

    29:05 - Implications of Salary Reveals

    32:08 - The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Cont’d)

    Salary Sharing Between Employees

    35:41 - Sharing Salary Information Publicly and Impostor Syndrome

    37:38 - Job Elimination

    42:40 - Is/has #talkpay been successful?

     

    More Information

     

    Picks


              Bolivia Fair Trade Organic        
    Latest arrival July 2017 in grainpro. We are happy to have secured this as Bolivian coffees are becoming increasingly hard to procure. Heavy aroma, low acidity, milk chocolate sweetness.
              Sumatra Mandheling Fair Trade Organic        
    Arrived February 2017 from the Sara Ate Cooperative in the Aceh region of Sumatra. Earthy, nutty and smooth.
              Peru Fair Trade Organic        
    Newest arrival June 2017. Peru is the largest producer of organic coffee in the world. Medium/heavy body and considerable acidity. Clean, well structured. Good unblended but a welcome addition to many blends requiring body and brightness.
              Mexico Mountain Water Decaf Fair Trade Organic        
    Latest arrival late July 2017. Mild, sweet cupping, Lightly acidic.
              Honors student to speak at Fair Trade S'mores event        
    This Thursday, August 16, honors scholar Sarah DeMartino will be leading a discussion about Fair Trade chocolate, and the campus community is invited to come and enjoy s'mores while learning about the chocolate industry. Sarah is one of Penn State Brandywine's Fair Trade TrailBlazers, a group of concerned students, faculty, and alumni who recently helped our campus earn Fair Trade University status. For more information about this Thursday's event, read Sarah's recent post on the Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine blog.
              Sustainable, Organic, Fair-Trade: A Conversation with Nigel Melican [iii]        
    by CINNABAR

    EDITOR'S NOTE: At the 2010 World Tea Expo, Cinnabar of gongfugirl.com spoke at length with Nigel Melican of Teacraft Ltd on the topics of sustainable, organic, and fair-trade tea. What follows here is the third and final part of a three-part transcript of that conversation. Parts I and II can be read by clicking here and here respectively.

    ~~~~~ · ~~~~~

    C: When companies and managing organizations talk about sustainability, do they also talk about labor practices? Are labor rights and working conditions part of the discussion on sustainability?

    NM: Part of sustainability is social responsibility, and it's a very embracing concept.

    C: So it's more of a big-picture view of the tea industry ... not damaging anything in the long run.

    NM: That is the way Unilever interpreted [sustainability], and they have sort of passed it on to the Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance was a bit more on the corporate social-responsibility side, and less on the [side of] sustainable husbandry, so it's a very good match. And yes, it's right land use, it’s water use, it's energy use, erosion, bio-diversity - the whole picture ... and empowerment of the workers.

    C: How that information transfers to the end consumer, that's important, but there's no recognizable label that consumers are seeing at this point that confers that much information, is there?

    NM: [With regard to guarantees of sustainability and labeling] at this point, all they're getting is the Rainforest Alliance frog, which when people see that they're supposed to think about all of this.

    C: But they don't.

    NM: Mostly they don't even know the story. But the idea is to pass the story on, I think. If I were driving it, that's what my idea would be. Some people need a lot [of detail on where the tea comes from] and some people can't deal with a lot of information.

    C: One of the statements that was made during the panel discussion - I don't remember which of the panelists said it, but it may have been the representative from the organic certification organization - was that "30% of Americans are ethical consumers."

    NM: Well, that's good news. [laughs]

    C: Hearing it, I thought that it really doesn't mean anything. I assume that part of what that really means on a practical level is that when they talk to people they're often likely to grab the package that has the organic or fair-trade label because they have a sense of it being better in some vaguely altruistic way. To me that does not translate into evidence that they have closely evaluated their ethics with regard to what they consume.

    NM: Right, someone wrote down the script to ask, “If you had a choice and you have an ethical product and a non-ethical product which one would you buy?” 30% said, “I’d go for the one with the little frog ... because I like frogs.”

    C: And 70% said ...

    NM: “Frogs are slimy; no, I don’t want it.” But people make choices on that sort of a basis.

    C: I don't get the impression that there are broadly-informed consumers even among tea drinkers. There's a lot of demand for organic tea or fair-trade tea, but that is sometimes at the expense of quality and at the expense of programs that will actually help people and the environment more in the long run. I don’t want to be entirely cynical, however. It's definitely good progress to be thinking in those terms instead of not caring where things come from at all.

    NM: And we do have a [largely unsolvable] problem with food miles in tea. You can't get tea without it being shipped a minimum of 10,000 miles.

    C: Related to those distances that tea has to travel, it's very interesting seeing tea cropping up in unexpected places like New Zealand, for example.

    NM: At [the Expo] I was approached by people who want to grow tea in the West Indies and people who want to grow tea in the Philippines.

    C: The Philippines seems like a place where there would already be tea growing. I can see how the culture of that region wouldn’t have produced a natural place for growing tea.

    NM: Yes, [the Philippines has] an American and Spanish background. Neither of those groups are tea drinkers or growers.

    C: Right. The Spanish wouldn't have brought tea-drinking or tea-growing to the Philippines, but it seems like the climate would be right for growing.

    NM: I’ve often wondered why there isn't tea in the Philippines already.

    C: Maybe nobody's thought of it yet?

    NM: Now somebody has, and then in the West Indies too. Coffee grows in Jamaica, very good coffee, some of the best, so why not tea?

    C: I would expect the tea industry in Hawaii to get bigger, in spite of problems like the one you were describing about sulfur. But that's not a huge amount of land, really is it? It’s never going to be a major player in the tea world because it's just not a big place.

    NM: No, it isn’t. And with the cost of production in these countries it just has to be a high value, niche product. It would kill itself if it went large amounts. High labor costs and large amounts just don't work.

    C: That would be the only way they'd be doing it in Hawaii, right? So it's not really expandable or scalable?

    NM: No, it isn't.

    C: It would always be small scale. I didn't talk a great deal to the people from New Zealand, but it seems like their approach and how they're growing tea in New Zealand is that way too. They're starting out at the top with very expensive tea and really high quality.

    NM: The Taiwanese guy wanted to grow tea in New Zealand, and food regulations in New Zealand are so rigorous, because they are a food exporting country, that the only sort of tea that he could grow passed the regulations. That puts him in a high-cost situation, even though he brings in Taiwanese workers to pluck the tea. He flies them in, and that costs a lot of money!

    C: The cost of getting the tea from one place to another is expensive, but importing your labor force ...

    NM: Yes - it puts your carbon footprint up! So he is really forced into that area where he has to charge $500 a kilo, and he must match the quality that people expect for that price, and he has. He's done a superb job.

    C: Yes, he has, and he may be able to take up some of the slack for drops in production in Taiwan. So much of Taiwanese tea is not sustainable due to the environmental devastation and dangerous conditions surrounding the tea growing regions.

    NM: A lot of Taiwanese tea – [some of what gets sold as] Formosa Oolong - is grown in [mainland] China.

    C: I’ve heard that.

    NM: You have to ask the vendor, specifically, "where was this grown?" The Japanese are doing exactly the same: they offer a “Sencha,” it might mean, "grown in the style of the Japanese" by Chinese workers who have been trained by the Japanese, who are making it on Japanese-supplied equipment. But actually, it's Chinese-supplied Sencha.

    C: There's even Sencha coming out of Brazil. It's not very good ... and really that's different, because it is clearly identified as being from Brazil, not misrepresented as Japanese tea.

    NM: I had an inquiry at the show from [a tea grower from] an unspecified country for machinery to make Sencha tea. I resource machinery, so I'll happily source him [the equipment], if he can afford it. But the source will amaze people: "Well I didn't know they grew Sencha there!"

    C: The attempts at growing one place’s regionally-specific tea in a different location seem strange to me, because if you're taking a type of tea varietal and growing it somewhere else, with a totally different climate and different soil conditions, it's not going to taste the same. It seems like the more reasonable approach, rather than trying to reproduce a traditional kind of tea in a new place, would be to figure out what works best under the new conditions, and represent the tea as a new type, but perhaps that's not as marketable.

    NM: If you look at consumers, they often go for what they know. Someone who knows a Sencha will always, given an unknown tea or the old-fashioned one that they know and love, they'll choose the one they know and love. But you're right, that's what they ought to do, and it's what I push people in Africa to do, to take the plants that they were growing for CTC tea, and do wonderful things with it.

    C: and the specialty teas coming out of Africa are wonderful, some of them. They're not like teas grown somewhere else. They have their own character, which is wonderful. But that industry is probably getting to the point where it's starting to mature, because it's been around long enough, as opposed to a country that's been growing tea for six months.

    NM: I generally find that my clients who've only been doing something for six months are much more imaginative, much less traditional, much more prepared to try and leap ahead.

    C: Because they have less to lose?

    NM: Less to lose and more to gain. And they're going to invest anyway, and it's much better to invest to get ahead rather than invest just to be behind.

    C: Is there a lot of tea growing in South America?

    NM: 40% of US tea comes from South America. Overall there's not a lot, but you import a disproportionate amount of that tea mainly for three reasons: it's close by, it's cheap, and it has no taste whatsoever.

    C: So it fits the American palate?

    NM: Yes: without being insulting, it's ideal for iced tea. Because it doesn't go cloudy, has good color, and has a taste that is easy to flavor. It's never bitter, which Americans hate. So it's a good match.

    C: I don't think it's widely known that there's tea coming from South America. But that's within the tea community, and the tea community is not generally talking about the source for iced tea anyway.

    NM: How many people care where their iced tea came from?

    C: Nobody does. But that's an interesting thing, because no-one is talking about organic farming for the tea production that goes into iced tea in the United States, but why not?

    NM: Look at the consumer profile of the people who drink iced tea.

    C: They don't care, and it wouldn't occur to them that that would be a concern.

    NM: Again, not to be insulting, but the main thing for them is, "shall we get a Big Mac?”

    C: Or sweet tea? McDonald's is selling Sweet Tea now. I think there's a big discrepancy in those two consumer bases in the United States and even that statement about "30% of all Americans are ethical consumers" - that's of the small number of people they talk to. I think that the mainstream American consumer is not in a position of wanting to evaluate the labels or think about organic farming.

    NM: Not just America, anywhere in the world you can say that. There's a small percentage in most countries who are concerned, interested, and will pay a little bit extra, but for the majority, it doesn't impinge upon them at all. But one of the reasons why the tea trade was never very keen on organic tea was because it downgrades their main tea. If you say, "this tea is organic, it contains no pesticides," the immediate thought is, okay what about the regular tea? The traders, the big boys, were never particularly keen. I keep using Unilever as an example because I know Unilever and know their workings. I don't think you'll find a Unilever organic tea on the market anywhere in the world, because it would signal to consumers that their other tea is non-organic.

    C: Which brings up another important issue, that organic and fair trade, and all of these things bring the cost of the end product up. Ultimately, if the standard practices become more sustainable will those labels go away and not be necessary. Is that a trend, do you think?

    NM: I don't know about in all things, but in tea, organic tea has had a good run and it will move aside for sustainable [tea]. I think already they're seeing that the prices they can get are coming down. They're coming closer to the standard tea prices. [Organic tea producers] can't get that premium anymore.

    C: But the impact overall in the industry is probably a good thing, to try to encourage better practices and to get consumers to start thinking about the wider implications of what goes into bringing that tea to the cup.

    NM: I think generally it's a good thing. The only problem is where you have small farmers who are not in groups who cannot afford to get on board. But that's the downside. The upside may be that it will encourage them to form small groups. And [some of them will] never be able to do it. [Some of the very small specialty producers] don't have a great deal of opportunity, but [they have] a high-value product, and can afford to do the certification if [they] wish.

    C: It seems that in the tea industry, among people who are drinking the more high-end expensive teas, they're not drinking anything that comes out of a grocery shelf box with an organic label on it in the first place, but they're hopefully paying more attention to actually how the tea is produced. I see a divide between the really top-end production of really expensive specialty teas versus the whole of the tea industry.

    NM: Yes, there is [that difference].

    C: The labeling and the focus on ethical practices has a smaller impact on this part of the tea industry than it does on this other part of the tea industry, partly just functionally because if this tea isn't being produced in a plantation that is using a labor force that is being exploited because the business model doesn't work that way in the first place ...

    NM: Yes, it's about business model; it's about ethos; it's about transparency - and if you are selling real high-value tea then you're not going to put DDT on it just because you've got some aphids. You're going to say, "what would our customers expect us to do?" and use a biological control. And that's exactly what [those tea producers] will do. And once you're using biological controls, the strange thing is you can't use pesticides, because it kills away your controls.

    C: I find it really fascinating that there is a certain very small part of the tea industry that is centered around wild-tea growth - in Yunnan Province, for example, where these plants are thousands of years old and they're still being harvested, but they're growing in natural forests. The tea trees grow within the natural ecosystem alongside the other native foliage and animals. The yield per acre is probably minuscule, but that's about as sustainable as tea production could possible be. It's not practical for worldwide tea production, of course, even if you could recreate a “natural” tea forest in another place, but it’s a very interesting model for preservation.

    NM: Talking about Rishi, that's their bread and butter.

    C: Because they've got people that they can sell it to, that are interested in that. It's good that there's enough interest to keep those tea plants and their environments safe where they are.

    NM: ... for another thousand years ...

    C: ... at least.

    NM: I have my doubts about those thousand-year-old trees. The Chinese are very elastic on their large numbers. They have this thing that any big number is ten thousand. No-one's going to believe a ten thousand year old tea plant, but a thousand is a big number. They're pretty old, I agree.

    C: And who knows how old the actual forest is. It doesn't matter anyway, but it's quite interesting that there are places where really sustainable tea means just leaving it growing as a tea plant as one element of the local ecosystem, and having it do whatever it does, and having it picked by the ethnic minority that lives in that area that has picked the tea for hundreds of years.

    NM: Or by monkeys ...
              Sustainable, Organic, Fair-Trade: A Conversation with Nigel Melican [i]         
    by CINNABAR

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Like a convergence of heavenly bodies, the exquisite Cinnabar -- founder, editor, and lead writer for the indispensible site gongfugirl.com -- and the eminent Nigel Melican, owner of Teacraft Ltd and one of the world's most eminent scientific experts on the topic of tea -- came together recently at the World Tea Expo. It was the great good fortune of CHA DAO that Cinnabar agreed to contribute a guest entry, in the form of an interview, and that Nigel agreed to be interviewed on this occasion. We are tremendously grateful to them both. ¶ What follows here is a transcript of that interview. Because it was a substantial conversation, we shall be publishing it in three instalments; this is Part I.

    ~~~~~ · ~~~~~

    A few months ago, at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nigel Melican of Teacraft Ltd was gracious enough to grant me some of his valuable time to sit down and talk about sustainability, organic farming, fair-trade labor practices and related labeling and certifications within the tea industry. The following is a transcription of our conversation, slightly edited for improved clarity. The conversation took place in the sweltering atrium of a Las Vegas hotel, our voices competing fiercely with the blasting onslaught of smooth jazz being piped in over our heads.

    Cinnabar (C): I have to admit that I'm somewhat skeptical of the programs and labeling for fair trade and organic farming.

    Nigel Melican (NM): Yes, so am I. I met a Fulbright scholar in Tanzania who was looking at certification and the way that it impacts on small farmers across all the certifying possibilities in Tanzania that are open to them. Though she wouldn't say on record that she thought they were marketing hype to sell more tea, not to the advantage of the farmers necessarily, that's definitely her overlying view.

    C: There's a lot of controversy about fair-trade practices in tea production in India. There's been a lot of backlash saying that workers aren't actually getting any benefit from it. Even though the plantations get certified, there's no follow-up after that to make sure that the benefits are actually going back into the community.

    NM: Yes, it's looking bad. There are certain companies who, if someone in the company really believes in it then they'll follow it up and make sure that happens. But it can either slip between marketing and, I suppose, human resources, although very few tea companies have the sort of human resources department on the producers' side, and there must be some direct exploitation as well. Generally I think they go into it for the right reasons, but it doesn't always deliver in the way that it's supposed to.

    C: In the panel discussion “Social Responsibility and Certifications: A Panel Discussion” (presented at the World Tea Expo in June of 2010), there was someone from one of the major the organic certification programs in the United States, and someone from Transfair, someone from Utz, and someone from the Rainforest Alliance. At a point someone in the audience was asking some pretty pointed questions about the ability of small farmers to be able to afford to get certified. And the representatives from the two big certification organizations said, essentially, "uh, it's to their advantage to get certified, because they make more money," but the people from the other two organizations were running programs that were a little more flexible. It was quite an interesting discussion. Then Joshua from Rishi Tea talked about how his company deals with some small farms that don't have the resources to get officially certified. They work with them directly and make sure that the tea producers are doing everything ethically and responsibly and Rishi presents that information directly to the consumer, which seems to me like it’s much more straightforward and useful than a certification label.

    NM: But a company like Rishi, you can trust them. There are a lot of companies who are ... well, I wouldn't trust with my wallet ... Joshua's a nice guy.

    C: Yes.

    NM: There are shades of niceness. The tea industry used to be a wonderful profession, you know -- they used to treat their labor force pretty badly -- but amongst themselves, they were honorable men, and everything was done on a handshake. I've been in the tea business for thirty years, and I've seen it sort of go the way of the world.

    C: Do you see situations where the organic practices are conflicting with the fair-trade practices?

    NM: I can't actually think of anywhere they conflict, though people perhaps go into them for different reasons. Organics is much more about helping the land, and making it have an attractive product to market, than helping the actual worker and having an attractive product to market.

    C: Yes, the focus is different.

    NM: But I can't think of any examples of conflict between fair-trade and organic, and many people are practicing both.

    C: Yes, I’ve noticed that there are plenty of companies that state that they're both on their labels. I'm skeptical of the labels because I'm not sure if there's really as much behind it as the label means ... a label's just a label.

    NM: Well the label is a prompt, to prompt your perceptions of what's behind it.

    C: It is good that people are thinking about where their tea comes from and what its impact is on the environment and the people who are producing it.

    NM: A growing number of people are. I would rather have a product that had a sustainable label than an organic label, or would have a fair-trade label.

    C: I don't really understand that much about agriculture, so in traditional tea farming, how damaging is the type of fertilizer, say, and the use of pesticides, in the first place?

    NM: Well, all things are relative, and tea is a monoculture, and people tend not to like monocultures because of bio-diversity issues. But on the other hand, it's better to have tea as a monoculture than an annual crop with fallow periods, because then you get a lot of land washed away by rain. Tea is in there for 100, 150 years. It's got a fabulous rich structure and the best way to grow tea is to keep mulching it, so you keep building up the organic material in the soil. So, on balance, tea is a very sustainable crop.

    C: I would think that just the fact that it doesn't have to be replanted every year is a huge increase in efficient use of resources as far as agriculture goes.

    NM: That's right. A good example of sustainability in tea is Unilever: a monolithic company who are hard-nosed, and yet they started a sustainable tea growing exercise in Kenya nearly twenty years ago, and they've gotten to the stage now where by 2015 every leaf of their tea will have an internationally-recognized label for sustainability.

    C: That's impressive.

    NM: I hesitate to promote what Unilever does, as an ex-employee having worked for them for 27 years, but what they've done in tea really has been fantastic, and other people are following. The other companies really are having to follow because Unilever buys nearly 30% of the world's exported tea, and they've said "every leaf we buy has got to have a Rainforest Alliance certification." That means that a lot of producers have got to jump, and they've got to get Rainforest Alliance certification.

    C: Because everyone has to compete with the big guy.

    NM: Right, and because if you want to sell to the big guy you've got to have the certification.

    C: One thing that I think is important in the whole discussion is the difference between big scale tea production versus tiny, single -- not even single estates -- but small farms, like small production in China. The issues of organic farming and fair trade farming aren't the same, but the whole tea industry is talked about as if it's one huge thing, but the processes are totally different.

    NM: Yes, absolutely different. In some countries you can see the two side by side. In Kenya you can, because you've got the big guys -- Finley and Unilever -- with huge acreage, and you've got the little guys with an acre of tea -- the Kenya smallholders -- and registered in a body there are 450,000 small farmers in Kenya. That's a lot of farmers.

    C: That's farmers of any kind?

    NM: No, not all, just small ones. I think the average in Kenya for a small farmer is half a hectare, which is an acre and a bit. That's the average, so there are some with ten acres, some with just a pocket handkerchief, but they still have to sell their tea somewhere. They sell it to their factory that they own by having a share in it, so the community owns their own factory; that is their investment. They get paid by the factory, and they get paid for every kilo of green tea leaf that they give into the factory, and at the end of the year they get a bonus payment which is based on how much the factory made at auction. If they plucked fine, and the factory processed well, then they get a bigger bonus. So they have a vested interest.

    C: So there's incentive to put out a good product.

    NM: So that factory is one of 60 in Kenya, small farm factories, and all the small factories are managed under the umbrella organization "Kenya Tea Development Agency." All the farmers, by having a share in the factory, and the factories having a share in the Agency, they all have an overall ownership.

    C: Then how is it managed, by representatives?

    NM: Yes, each region will have a representative in the zone, and each zone -- there are eleven zones -- will have an elected person who's the director on the main board, so it's a typical pyramid. There's corruption in that, inevitably, but it's been running since 1965. It's the best example in the world of small farmers empowered to compete with the big guys. Other countries tried to follow that route, but none were so successful. Some were catastrophically unsuccessful, Uganda being one example. Of course, they had bad political problems, and now they're pulling themselves out of that, and the small farmers are once again doing well, but on a much smaller scale.

    C: I was really encouraged by what you were saying during the African tea tasting at the Expo about Rwanda, and the way the government is looking at development in the country.

    NM: It's a benevolent dictatorship, effectively. It's probably the best form of government you can get. You get things done, and quickly, and they do them right.

    C: Well, that's certainly a lot better than fairly recent times in Rwanda. It seems like they went through such a catastrophic political upheaval, big enough to get to a point where they said we're never going to let that happen again.

    NM: Yes, what Germany went through too.

    C: In the Kenya tea farms, where is most of the labor coming from, because the tea plucking season is not the whole year, is it?

    NM: Yes it is. In Kenya they're on the equator. They have two wet seasons and the amount of leaf goes up then, and in the dry seasons the quality goes up, but they pluck all year round.

    C: Is the labor that they're using in tea production mostly families?

    NM: In the villages, mostly family labor, and the larger producers employ people from their community.

    C: Are the tea farms competing with other agriculture in the same area?

    NM: Yes, they are. In Kenya it's less so because people have established a sort of routine regular income from the tea. In Tanzania, which is the next country down, very much so, there's a choice of crop. People make that choice and at the moment tea is losing out. The actual competing crop is different in different areas. In the northeast it's spices that compete with tea. Down in the south it's bananas and vegetables. There's a much more ready market for those, and tea gets left unplucked, or not plucked as well as it should, so that quality goes down, and of course then the return goes down and that's a progressive thing. I was working on a project in Tanzania earlier this year, actually, to look at what the commercial possibility was of putting in extension service, to try and get people to understand that if you look after your tea then you will get a better return. Each country has a slightly different history, so you often get to the same point by a different route. In Tanzania they had a socialist, Marxist episode, so they had a lot of state-aided tea planting. They had large plots and people went in and they worked it, but there was no ownership, no pride of ownership, and when they became more liberalized, people shunned the collective farming because they wanted to grow their own, so a lot of that tea was abandoned. People grew their own so they had total control over that, of course. They make a choice: should I get money quick, by growing potatoes or bananas? Bananas are so simple to grow; they grow themselves. You just pull bananas off the tree: cut and they fall off into your hands. As people who are trained in the old-fashioned way [of growing and processing tea] are getting older the younger ones are coming in. Their sons are coming in, and they look at [the tea industry] and they say, “you know, I don't want to work in tea, plucking tea, when I can make money [faster] growing vegetables.”

    C: They're looking at it as more of a short-term benefit?

    NM: Pretty much so, and so there is a lot of tea that's been abandoned, and there are a lot of gaps in the bushes. The whole thing spirals downwards under those conditions.

    C: I remember you talking about how taking over the land in a situation where a tea field has been left unworked is really unmanageable because pulling out the tea and replacing it with a different crop is really labor intensive. Are those tea fields recoverable for tea?

    NM: Part of the work I was doing in Tanzania was to look at that and to see what the opportunity was of doing it. They do, to their credit, have a scheme [for recovering the tea fields that have been abandoned]. They've had a scheme there for about ten years, but it's been totally ineffective. It's not been organized properly. It's been done on a village scale, and the extension advice is very sparse, so they don't really do it very well. But we're looking at a way of coming in with organized planting teams, to come in and actually do it, and the farmers would pay.

    C: Who would be coming in, what organization?

    NM: I was working for a philanthropic organization. Philanthropic organizations in Africa got the idea that putting money in was like putting money in a hole in the ground ...

    C: But putting in direct education and action is more effective?

    NM: Exactly, so you would possibly do it by outsourcing it to a commercial operation, and then training the farmers in economics, and in husbandry.

    C: The way that Utz was talking about their programs [during the forum at the Expo] it seems like they're much more focused on going in and helping the tea farmers learn how to run their businesses more effectively, rather than the more hands-off methods of Transfair.

    NM: Yes, and that's good. There's a US organization called TechnoServe, and they do much the same thing. They concentrate much more on business management. African farmers have precious little understanding of business management. They're very smart about growing things, smart about seeing where a profit might come from, but in terms of profit and loss, and breaking even on investment, it's not the sort of thing they do.

    C: If they're looking at getting the big official certifications the outlay of money is just tremendous.

    NM: It is, but very often they'll group together. in the KTDA [Kenya Tea Development Agency], for instance, everyone owns their own factory, has a little share of the factory, and it will be the factory that gets the certification.

    C: So they are able to gain certifications collectively which they would be unable to get as small individual farmers.

    NM: A small contribution is taken out of their bonus, and then the factory can afford the $5000 a year, or whatever it costs.

    C: So it does become affordable to them at that point, even though it's three-year gap between when they enter the program and when they're officially certified?

    NM: Well they certainly haven't got any organic certification in Kenya. They've got fair trade, but no organic. The only really organic factories in Africa are the two in Tanzania. One is a factory called Luponde. That was the first organic factory, first organic estate, in Africa. They got certified in the '90s, I think, because they identified it as a good opportunity for marketing.

    C: They were ahead of the curve enough to know?

    NM: They saw what had to be done and they did it. Now the other factory went in for a totally different reason: Luponde's down in the south. Herculu, the other factory, is up in the north. It's an Indian-run factory. Luponde's parent company is Norwegian and Danish ownership. They come from sort of good ethical stock. The factory in the north is owned by Bombay Burma, and they've got organic factories in India. They went into organic in Tanzania because the cost of production is so high ... or the difference between the cost of production and the selling price is so small. They went into it so they could eliminate putting on chemical fertilizer.

    C: Because they didn't want to have to pay for chemical fertilizer? That's interesting.

    NM: I don't know of anyone else who went into organic for that reason.

    [[to be continued]]
              Reader's Corner: DougH on The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss        
    Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss. THE STORY OF TEA: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press 2007. xiv + 418 pages. ISBN 978-1580087452.

    The book reviewed here is another of the “recent inundation of English-language books on tea” that I mentioned in my previous review. Judging by the number (and percentage) of positive reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, the number of online tea vendors who carry this book (even though the authors are actually competitors, having their own online tea store, and its high placing in various food book award competitions), this book has made something of a splash in the tea-book world.

    Unlike the Mair/Hoh book, this book is in the mold of James Norwood Pratt’s The New Tea Lover’s Treasury (1999): it includes some account of the history of tea, something about the “culture” of tea, and something about tea itself – the types, the tastes, the steeping. But this book has twice as many pages as Pratt’s, is physically larger, and feels about twice the weight. A lot of work, time and research obviously went into this book.

    There is a brief Preface and an equally brief Introduction; both of these are for the most part so general as to provide very little of use. There is no overview of the book’s chapters or structure (as, for example, the Mair/Hoh book’s prologue did nicely). However, this Preface does give us the authors’ statement of the book’s purpose (p. x):
    This book is our attempt to transmit the information and knowledge that we have garnered trekking along the tea trail to our interested readers. We hope to cut through the sometimes confusing prattle about tea by providing in-depth information and understanding about processes that many people have written about but few have actually witnessed .... [W]e have attempted to provide in this book material that appeals to beginning tea enthusiasts as well as to seasoned tea professionals. Our goal is to give readers the behind-the-scenes information about the life rhythms and works cycles in a tea village or factory.
    Chapter 1, “A Brief History of Tea,” is indeed brief, covering the entire world history of tea in around twenty-seven pages. For illustration, there are around sixteen pages or so for China, at most two pages for Japan (almost half of it devoted to the development of the tea ceremony), perhaps two and a half pages on tea in Europe, two pages on the Boston Tea Party and events leading up to it, two or three pages on the British in India, one paragraph on the British and Sri Lanka, a paragraph or so on the Dutch in Indonesia, one paragraph on Africa. As was unfortunately true in the Mair/Hoh book as well, there is no coverage of Korean tea history, which is as long or nearly as long as Japanese tea history, though there is the obligatory material here on the tea clippers, as a nearly page-long sidebar (p. 27). There is essentially nothing – maybe a couple of sentences – on any developments since World War II.

    Chapter 2, “The Life of a Tea Bush,” discusses aspects of the tea plant itself. The authors give some history of the plant. They then introduce three varieties of tea bush – sinensis, assamica, cambodi (which they call “Java bush”) – and their respective characteristics. The authors discuss the concept of the tea-bush “table” – the managed plucking height of the tea bush. There are also sections on “The Terroir of Tea” and “The Yearly Cycle of a Tea Bush.”

    Chapter 3, “Manufacture: From Fresh Leaves to Distinctive Tea,” is about the processing of different types of tea. The authors introduce “The Six Classes of Leaf Manufacture” and “The Eight Elements of Tea Production,” then go on to cover, each in its own section, the processing for each of the categories they name. These processing descriptions are quite interesting, and go into often great detail, apparently much of it directly observed by the authors. For example, they have sections not just on green tea but on “Sun-dried Green Tea,” “Basket-Fired Green Tea,” “Pan-Fired Green Tea,” “Tumble-Dried Green Tea,” “Oven-Dried Green Tea,” and “Steamed Green Tea.”

    In the section on “Black Tea” (p. 84), the authors are thankfully quite clear on the distinction between and correct use of the terms “oxidized” and “fermented.” Interestingly, the authors also express doubt (p. 83) that much will come of “South Asian” efforts to produce oolongs.

    One questionable section is the somewhat confusing “outline” of pu’er types and characteristics on page 96. For example, maocha is purported to be associated only with sheng pu’er. Also, “wet storage, quickly aged” processing is supposedly associated only with shu pu’er manufacture. Both implications are incorrect. Maocha is the initial raw material for both kinds of pu’er, and “wet storage” is mostly or entirely a means for speeding up the aging of sheng pu’er, not shu (for which it would typically be considered irrelevant).

    Chapter 4, “Journeying Along the Tea Trail,” is the longest chapter in the book (around 142 pages). It examines the teas of various countries, often by province or state. Some teas are covered at substantial length, others simply mentioned by name, or in a single sentence. The chapter covers China (with individual sections on various provinces and tea types), Japan, Korea, India – with sections on Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri, Russia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Africa - concentrating on Kenya and Tanzania, Vietnam and Thailand, plus mentions for quite a few newer small producing areas. Kenya, astoundingly, in 2004 was the third-largest producer of black tea in the world, and the largest exporter of tea in the world, figures reached in only 50 years or less of tea production. Kenya also is one of the few, if not the only, tea-producing area outside of East Asia where the majority of production is on family (or “smallholder” as the book calls them) farms – over 60% of the country’s tea is produced on 400,000 such farms (p. 240), with the rest produced on large (presumably plantation-style) estates (p. 241).

    In this chapter, the authors mention many teas by name, singling out various ones here and there for further discussion. Curiously, they spend four pages (131-135) on a tea known in the West as “Lapsang Souchong” and in China as Zhengshan xiaozhong, considerably more print than they spend on any other Chinese tea, though this tea is not as popular – at least in the USA – as some others. The authors spend considerable effort trying to establish that there are actually two teas here: a lower-grade one known (including in China) as “Lapsang Souchong,” and a much higher-grade one known in China as Zhengshan xiaozhong. However, my understanding from tea-knowledgeable native Chinese friends is that in China and Taiwan, the usual view is instead that these are different grades (varying considerably in rarity and price) of a single tea, both of which are known by the name Zhengshan xiaozhong. And, despite their efforts, the authors did not get to see how these teas are made.

    Chapter 5, “An Encyclopedia of Tea,” presents a series of half-page entries on thirty-one specific teas, including a couple of white teas, some Chinese and Japanese greens, a few oolongs and black teas (i.e. hongcha), a shu and a sheng pu’er, some scented teas, and a few others. The information provided for each tea includes origin, brewing recommendations, short descriptions, an even shorter indication of the flavor, etc., along with a picture of both the steeped liquor and dry leaf. This chapter, despite being pretty short and sketchy for something termed an “encyclopedia,” will probably be useful to people unfamiliar with the teas presented.

    Chapter 6, “Brewing the Perfect Cup,” provides pretty detailed instructions and suggestions for buying and storing tea, for choosing water and for steeping. The chapter ends with a couple of pages describing professional tea tasting. While one might have quibbles with certain details, and the steeping descriptions are only for Western-style brewing (e.g., nothing here on gongfu steeping), there is a lot of useful information here. (For the authors’ description of gongfu steeping, see Chapter 7, p. 308.)

    Chapter 7, “Tea Customs and Culture,” is the third longest chapter (around 56 pages). The chapter presents aspects of the tea culture of China, Japan, Europe (without Russia), the USA, the Russian Federation, Tibet and Morocco. Much of this chapter is actually bits and pieces of history. The longest sections by far are, not surprisingly, those on China and Japan. The chapter covers not only practices (styles of tea making, tea ceremonies, etc.), but also items like teapots, cups and other tea ware, samovars, and even sweets such as Japanese wagashi.

    Chapter 8, “The Health Benefits of Tea,” is the mandatory contribution to the “tea and health” literature. Fortunately, and somewhat unexpectedly, given that the authors are also tea vendors, this chapter is for the most part a cautious – and cautionary – handling of the subject, emphasizing how tentative the current state of knowledge is about this subject. They conclude one section in this chapter with:
    So, when it comes to tea, think tonic not curative, healthful collaborator not redeemer .... Drink tea to relax and connect with the spiritual nature of life’s simple pleasures. Enjoy the flavors and the subtle and not so subtle differences waiting to be discovered in the world of tea offerings, and should the rich doses of flavanoids [sic] in each cup of tea be determined to cure what ails you, you will be ahead of the curve. [p. 357]
    One blot on an otherwise respectable chapter, in the section “Caffeine in Tea,” is the sidebar on p. 360, where the authors repeat (as always, with no citation) the usual Western tea industry myth regarding do-it-yourself caffeine reduction: “After thirty seconds of extraction, it is reasonable to expect a reduction in the caffeine content of black leaf tea by 50 to 70 percent.” Though the “50 to 70 percent” hedge may, charitably, be somewhat less wrong than the usual 80% claim, it is still wrong. See Nigel Melican's now-famous essay in CHA DAO on this subject for state-of-the-art information on this subject.

    In Chapter 9, “Ethics in the Tea Trade,” the authors “explore several of the social and political aspects of tea production and marketing.” Not only is this rarely discussed in English-language tea books, in my experience: this book's is also by far the most extensive and detailed treatment of the subject I’ve seen. The chapter is divided into sections “Organically Grown Tea,” “Fair Trade,” and the “Ethical Tea Partnership.” Each section includes descriptions of the concepts, background, relevant regulations, agencies, and so on. If this chapter has a flaw, it is a perhaps too-rosy view of the actual situation of many tea estate workers; there is perhaps also a lack of discrimination between the situation of workers in former Euro/British “possessions” – who work on plantations, except in Kenya – and that of workers in most of East Asia, where tea is grown largely on family or “tribal” farms. Otherwise, this chapter is definitely a contribution to popular English-language tea literature.

    Chapter 10: “Cooking with Tea,” is the authors’ – also now apparently obligatory – contribution to tea cuisine, providing ten or so recipes. If this kind of thing is of particular interest to you, you may find something useful here. In my opinion, it is the least significant chapter of the book; but it occupies only fifteen pages or so out of over 400.

    The book ends with three appendix-like sections, plus an approximately eleven-page Index (which I didn’t use much, but had inconsistent results with when I did). “Buyer's Resources” lists a handful of online tea dealers (all USA dealers except Ten Ren), including the authors’ own two shops (Cooks Shop Here and Tea Trekker), but also excluding a number of well-known vendors. The “Glossary” is seven pages of “descriptive and explanatory terms associated with tea” (p. 396); this is somewhat idiosyncratically organized, but may be useful to some. The “Bibliography” lists two and a half pages of English-language print resources. There are no endnotes or footnotes.

    The book is very nicely designed and laid out, with lots of sidebars, very nice typography, and a nice color picture on the dust jacket. This book is an exception to my observation that, in English-language tea books at least, there seems to be an inverse relation between many nice pictures and good information. There are lots of high-quality pictures – all or virtually all in color – throughout the book, many of them taken by the authors. In short, it’s a beautiful book.

    The authors try hard to provide both wide and reasonably deep coverage of their subject. They’ve made extensive visits to tea areas in Asia, apparently multiple times (p. ix). The book has probably the most detailed information on the production process for various teas that I’ve seen (with the exception of Mike Petro’s pu’er site). There are various charts and tables and other figures scattered throughout, though there is no page-listing or index of these.

    If the above is all you require from a tea book, stop here. Go out and buy it now, and you will probably be very happy.

    However, if you want more from a tea book, especially one with the aspirations this one so evidently has, you may want to read on.

    Criticisms

    (To keep this part of the review from becoming too tedious, I’ve furnished -- on a separate page, provided by Our Gracious Host -- a list of 'Addenda et Corrigenda,' with additional information for those who share my concerns over this sort of thing.)

    My criticisms of the book mostly fall into the following categories:
    • To use the authors’ own word: sensibilities
    • Poor organization and editing of the material
    • Grossly inadequate historical coverage
    • Romanization, translation and other terminological issues
    • Miscellaneous

    The text virtually never cites any source, however informally, so it’s usually impossible to know where questionable information has come from.

    Sensibilities

    The authors say in the Preface, “We also offer our sensibilities regarding the complexity and intrigue of an ancient beverage in today’s fast-paced, modern world” (p. x). Unfortunately, my own sensibilities are daggers-drawn at odds with theirs.

    One example epitomizes the problem (as well as some editing issues): “Had the Song stayed in power, or had the coarse Mongols not been their predecessors [sic], China mostly likely would have seen their evolving tea culture culminate into a glorious, formal, stylized tea ceremony” (p. 15). First, the Mongol Yuan dynasty was the successor to the Song. Second, there is no way to begin to know what would have happened if the Mongols hadn’t successfully invaded, and the Song dynasty had continued. Further, the Song did have formal tea ceremonies or rituals, as the authors themselves say on the same page: “... the elaborate tea rituals of the Song dynasty came to a swift and unfortunate halt....” Fourth, to call the Mongols “coarse” seems both extreme and ignorant. Worst of all, the core of this statement – that a “formal, stylized tea ceremony” is “glorious” – epitomizes a pretty extreme sort of orientalist, Asian-romanticizing viewpoint.

    An even better example – which also illustrates the authors’ ignorance of Chinese characters (hanzi) – is the sidebar on the opening page of Chapter 8 (p. 351). This sidebar purports to deconstruct the Chinese character for tea, cha (茶), into three individually meaningful parts. For brevity, I will quote only the concluding sentence: “The sum of this character's elements creates the Chinese pictorial for tea as, 'The revered plant that sustains man in his situation on earth.’” This is both wrong and a kind of trap, a trap the authors dove headfirst into precisely because of their orientalist sensibility: they want this to be true. This kind of thing drives Chinese language experts (and many knowledgeable native speakers) up the wall. Relatively few modern Chinese characters are constructed in anything like the way this sidebar describes, and cha is definitely not one of them. The authors evince no knowledge of the usage-history of the character tu (荼) as distinct from that of the character cha (茶). The latter didn’t even exist until the Tang (perhaps mid-eighth century), and was clearly created by a slight modification to the tu character, possibly even by Lu Yu himself. See, in my review of Mair/Hoh, the paragraphs on “Chapter 2”, and especially see Appendix “C” in Mair/Hoh, particularly the section entitled “Writing” (p. 264).

    This orientalist sensibility pops up throughout the book. And it was completely unnecessary: the authors’ information on tea is generally good and plentiful, and the book is beautiful. Trying to make tea and Asian tea culture and tea history into something romantic and exotic is a serious – and typically Western – misrepresentation of both. (For more, see "Addenda et Corrigenda" under "Sensibilities.")

    Organization

    While the appearance and layout of the book are beautiful, the actual editing leaves something to be desired. While there are errors of the type one would hope a copy-editor would catch, a few of these will usually sneak through even in the most carefully and rigorously edited book, at least in its first printing. But, while some of these are fairly blatant, there is a worse problem. The book’s organization is rather ... disorganized.

    Though there is a chapter on history, there is historical material scattered over multiple other chapters, especially in Chapters 4 and 7.There is no history of Korea in Chapter 1, but some 3.5 pages of Korean history in Chapter 4 (p. 187). There are almost half as many pages of Chinese history in Chapter 7 as there are in the 'history' chapter (Chapter 1), and more pages of Japanese history in Chapter 7 than in Chapter 1.

    One could adduce many more examples (see "Addenda et Corrigenda" under "Organization and Editing"), but that’s enough for the moment. The overall impression one draws from this lack of sensible organization is that the book is rambling and repetitive. Yet if there had been a decent editing phase, it would have been reasonably easy to consolidate the wide-flung material into a much tighter, more cohesive whole.

    History

    The authors’ historical coverage in this book is unacceptably cursory, given the book’s size, and given that it has the word “history” in its subtitle. Chapter 1 barely qualifies as even an overview of the history of tea. Even if you add in the perhaps roughly-equal number of pages of history scattered throughout the other chapters of the book, the result is an inadequate body of material, much of it driven by the same orientalist, romantic view discussed earlier.

    While the authors shouldn’t be criticized for not doing something they didn’t intend to do, we can evaluate how useful what they did do is. The history coverage in this book is not worthy of it, and does not compare with the breadth and depth of coverage the authors give to other areas of tea. (For more, see "Addenda et Corrigenda" under "History.")

    Language and terminology

    There is no evidence in the book -- or on the authors' website -- that either of them speaks any version of Chinese, or any other East Asian (or South Asian) language. They list no Asian language sources in the bibliography. As with many English-only tea writers (and tea vendors), the author’s Chinese romanization is often faulty and/or inconsistent. The translations they provide, usually of names, are often “iffy” if not flat-out wrong.

    One of the most blatant translation mistakes is in the title of the “Black Tea” section (p. 84), where the Chinese term “qi hong” is used as the translation for “Red Tea”; the correct pinyin for “red tea” is hongcha, whereas qihong refers specifically to the Keemun/Qimen variety of hongcha. The authors repeat this error in another section title on page 127 (where they use the spelling “Qihong” [no space]), yet they themselves provide the correct pinyin for “red tea” in the same section at the bottom of p. 127.

    Another example of faulty translation: they repeatedly translate the name of the Wuyi oolong dahongpao (which they spell as Da Hong Pao) as “Royal Red Robe” (see e.g. pp. 144, 146, 263). This, again, is simply wrong. In this context, da (大) means (and in this context is almost always translated as) “big,” or possibly “great” -- thus: “Big Red Robe.” There is no way to get anything like “royal” from it. Just because a few other tea vendors also make such a mistake doesn’t mean it should be repeated in a reference work like this. And many tea vendors do correctly translate this tea name. (For more, see "Addenda et Corrigenda" under "Romanization, Translation, Terminology.")

    Book Dedication

    The book is dedicated to William H. Ukers: “You blazed the trail and in your footsteps we all follow.” Ukers’ 1935 All About Tea was apparently long considered by some (at least in the USA) to be a sort of standard reference or “bible” for tea, and especially for the American tea industry; though why an “industry” whose business for many decades was to serve up the lowest-quality tea fannings and dust, in the cheapest possible tea bags, to a small minority of the American population, needed a standard reference is a mystery to me. The obvious questions, on seeing this dedication, are: a) what “trail,” and b) who is “we all”? This dedication is typically overreaching, unless by “trail” the authors simply mean “writing tea books,” and by “we” they mean only “American laowai.” I doubt if even Europeans would want to be included in that “we all,” and I imagine the East Asian tea industry would laugh at the whole idea. One could also be forgiven for thinking this dedication might indicate greater ambitions than the authors openly indicate.

    Tea Categories

    One last issue that struck me as problematic is the initial section of Chapter 3, on the “six classes” of tea. The authors first describe supposedly existing classification schemes, then propose one of their own, which I believe is somewhat faulty (though better than the straw-man system they claim is “still popular today”). For fuller discussion, see "Addenda et Corrigenda" under "Tea Categories."

    Summary

    To sum up, let’s first consider the book on the authors' own terms, as presented in the citation at the beginning of this review. Do the authors achieve the goals they set out for themselves? I would answer with a rather qualified “yes.” The book contains a mass of information, which the authors gathered in part through research and in part through multiple visits to tea farms, plantations and factories in East and South Asia, talking extensively with relevant personnel to learn tea growing and production processes. Thus, they do present “information and knowledge that we have garnered trekking along the tea trail to our interested readers,” and they do provide "in-depth information and understanding about processes that many people have written about.” Whether they successfully “give readers the behind-the-scenes information about the life rhythms and works cycles in a tea village or factory” is less clear, but they do try. And they do all this in a beautiful, easy-to-read package.

    Then why the “qualified yes”? Because we ought also to consider how effectively and efficiently the authors go about their business. Here the authors do not score nearly as well. The book is poorly organized and would have benefitted a lot from much more thorough editing. As mentioned earlier, this makes the book seem rambling and repetitive, which among other things makes it harder than it should be to find things you want, or that you remember reading somewhere, thus harming its usability, thus reducing its usefulness.

    Further, I couldn’t avoid the occasional impression that the authors were showing off a little, with their constant presentation of foreign language names – mostly Chinese – as well as the kind of foreign-language terms that few people except certified tea heads are going to care about or remember. However, I am one of those certified tea heads, I do care, and I think that if you are going to show off your knowledge, you’d best get it right. And here the authors also fall down on the job. Their romanization of Chinese is often wrong or inconsistent, and their translations of names and terms are often either wrong or at best dubious. The authors would have been better leaving this kind of thing out if they couldn’t do it better than they did.

    Finally, their inadequate, sanitized history of tea does a disservice, both to the book as a reference, and to their readers; and their pervasive – and so typically Western – tendency to view Asian tea and tea culture in an exotic light distorts and undermines their presentation.

    So, do I recommend the book? If you have the money and inclination to buy more than one tea book, I would say “yes.” There is plenty of good stuff here. But when you buy this book, also get as many of those I’ve mentioned (or others) as you can. If you really only want one book, I would have a hard time giving The Story of Tea more than a very half-hearted recommendation.

    ~~~~~ · ~~~~~

    Acknowledgements: I would again like to thank – with the usual admonition that all errors, misinterpretations, etc. are most definitely mine alone – the following for their help while I was writing this review: corax and MarshalN. As before, either of these worthies would be far more qualified to review this book than I am, but again, they left it to me. I would also like to thank K. Dodgson, V. H. Mair, and Lew Perin for their time and help – also with the usual “the bad stuff is all mine” admonition. Finally, special extra thanks to Lew Perin for the ever-valuable labor of love that is BABELCARP – what would we monoglot laowai do without it?
              Chocolate and the Slave Industry        
    I recently watched a saddening documentary about the chocolate industry and slavery. Young children are taken from their homes (stolen in many cases) and forced to work as cacao bean farmers. They are not paid, are not able to go to school, and essentially have their entire childhood ripped from them, all so that the rich can eat chocolate. I have posted the documentary below, and I hope you get a chance to watch it. I have also posted some "Fair Trade" chocolate companies below. In fact, many 'vegan' friendly chocolates are "Fair Trade", but you can always go for the dark chocolate variety as well.


              GOD KNOWS US -- Meditation by Peggy Deames, owner of Love Your Mother in Three Rivers, MI        


    God Knows Us    
    Text:  Psalms 139:  1 – 18
    by Peggy Deames

    Bird House made from recycled candy wrappers.

    That is the Word of the Lord.   The theme for the day is “God Knows Us”.  So often we forget that our creator really does know us.  Inside and out.  Top to bottom. Elsewhere in scripture, we are told that the very hairs on our heads are numbered. 

    My family often teases me about the amount of generally useless trivia that I have stored away for the right moment, but even I, do not know the number of hairs on my head after some 50 plus years of living with the same head.  And to God, knowing the number of hairs on our heads is not trivial knowledge, but a metaphor for how deeply we are known and loved.  Even new parents do not know the number of hairs on their infants’ downy heads.  It is routine to count fingers and toes, but hairs, not so much. But God knows.

    Today’s Bible lesson also tells us that God knows what is on my tongue before I speak it.  Really, if that is so, would not it be easier if our all knowing heavenly parent just typed all of this into my Word document and saved me the trouble of struggling to fathom this text that shouts, God knows us.     

    Allow me to share with you how well God knows me and how that knowledge led me to be here today.  Pastor Nina came into my business, Love Your Mother store in downtown Three Rivers last month.  It was a gloomy spring day and my mood matched the weather.  Business had been very slow in my earth friendly shop.  I had unpaid bills.  I had some merchandise that was not selling.  I wanted to purchase some new products to perk up the store for summer shoppers but was at the max on my credit card.  Despite all, I have very faithful customers who are committed to shopping green and locally.  Many folks (some of you here today) often ask me to source items so they can buy locally.  

    Love Your Mother: Earth Friendly Products

    This dreary day I was going to have to tell a customer that I could not honor her request due to the high price of an initial order from a vendor to whom I had poured out my soul about the wonderful people in Three Rivers and the quaint historic downtown and the importance of healthy local economies, etc. etc.  I had really laid it on.  I felt that I had given so much to my business and had come up short.  I felt a failure.   And then into this scenario walks Nina, smiling, and dressed in (I kid you not) bright peach raiment.  Yep, God knows me.  God knows us. 

    Angel Nina, God’s messenger, invited me to come and share with you today.  She had read a lament that I had written regarding the Enbridge pipeline that is being updated and expanded in this area this summer once again reminding us all of our complicity in our dependence on oil and how that impacts all of creation.  Nina had gleaned that I had a personal and professional passion for creation care.   She affirmed me when I was feeling like I had lost my way.  Our text states that God discerns our thoughts from far away.  You got it.  God knows me.  God knows us.   

    This fact that God knows us can be a great comfort to us as we journey here on Mother Earth.  Our lesson tells us that we are knitted not on some giant industrial loom but are uniquely handmade perhaps as a kindly graying grandmother would do as she rocks and makes booties for her very first grandchild.  Once again.  God knows us.

    And God knows all of creation, flora, fauna, air, water, soil.  All of creation is knit together.  We speak of the web of life, the great circle of life (Is it time to cue the theme from the Lion King?)  Who knows all of these intricate connections?  Any guesses?  God knows us.  And God knows all. 

    Despite God’s deep knowledge of us, including our failures to recognize the intrinsic value and importance of all of creation, we are still entrusted with being stewards or caretakers of this breathtakingly beautiful biosphere.   Is God crazy?  We do not have a great track record.   You see God knows us, the good, the bad, and the ugly and still we are called to be caretakers within the circle of creation.  Why, does God continually call us when we continually falter?  It is precisely because God does know us.  God knows our potential.  In the midst of everything, God knows the best that we are capable of and God has our backs.  Sort of humbling, right?  So we muddle through.  Why?  Because. . . Say it with me.  God knows us.

    So how do we even get out of bed to face the day, when all around us we see and hear of catastrophic climate change brought on by our too often convenience and consumer driven society?   Would I be making a better start if I awoke on an organic cotton mattress with equally organic cotton sheets and stepped out onto a sustainably sourced bamboo floor before I trudged into my low flow shower and scrubbed myself with Dr. Bronner’s always fair trade and organic hemp soap?  And would I be ever so much closer to right living, if I had organic shade grown fairly traded coffee in my reusable, recycled travel mug, emblazoned with the NPR logo, as I commuted to my job as the administrator of human rights NGO in, of course, my Prius?  Oh, if it were only that simple, we wealthy, white North Americans could simply upgrade our purchases and be quite righteous.  But guess what?  God knows us.

    Not that any of the above is necessarily wrong, but God knows and we do also, deep down in our hearts that buying more stuff, even if it is organic and fairly traded, is not the whole answer to our broken relationships with each other and all of creation.  A concerted effort to cleanse our environs of all that we currently deem somehow not earth friendly, even if we could, only touches the surface and opens us up to legitimate criticism in future generations. 

    It is easy for us to criticize those who have gone before us and the mistakes that they made, but in all honesty we do see (as scripture says) in a mirror dimly and each generation needs to walk gently and humbly admitting that we do not know what will be known in the future.  For example:  Who would have imagined that with the advent of plastic the mountains of non-biodegradable trash that would be generated?   And who would have known the number of trees that would be chopped down each year just to make the now ubicweus rolls of toilet paper in everyone’s bathroom. Yes, God knows us (and the number of sheets of bathroom tissue we use).

    So what do we do with the knowledge that our lifestyles are not sustainable?  Like the proverbial path of 1000 miles, we start with one step.  The adage of reduce, reuse, recycle is not a lesson of living in scarcity, but rather an invitation to unburden ourselves of resources not needed at a particular time and to care for the resources needed in a loving way trusting that in our world community we will have what is needed when it is needed.  This speaks to ebb and flow, the dance of life, and relationship to the whole.  So what I need in my life now as a woman with adult children living on their own, is very different than what I needed as a young mother.   

    And God knows, taking the steps to live in healthy relationship with all of creation should keep us so busy that we really won’t have time to be nit picky about our neighbor who may (gasp) be using disposable diapers for his/her baby or chose plastic over paper at the grocery store.  We greenies can be such snobs.  My son likes to tell me that more energy is used to make paper bags than plastic bags.  So OK, don’t use either, it is a good step.  God knows. 

    I have learned much from my children and from my customers.  I am no expert.  I am growing and greening as I go.  God knew my heart for healthy living and my first career was in nursing.  Owning an earth friendly general store, I attempt to help people source eco-friendly merchandise locally and to provide a venue for the creativity of producers to reuse and recycle items in new ways.   Ideally, I should be working myself out of business.  When as a culture we expect that what we purchase will be earth friendly, there will no longer be the need for an earth friendly store as all stores would be that way.  We are not there yet.  God knows.

    So what do we do with those pesky petroleum based plastics?  Plastic is here to stay because it will not just go away as it is not readily biodegradable and, of course, it is quite practical for some products.  First, we need to stop making new petroleum based plastics.  This will save petroleum as well as lower the amount of plastic on our planet where there is more than enough right now.  What that means for those of us who are not in the business of making plastics is that we need to reduce our use of plastic for so many items.  We need to reuse the plastics we have, like refilling bottles from bulk containers.  Or we can make our own products like window cleaner and reuse the same bottle over and over.  When we buy plastic, we should purchase recycled plastic even if it is only the container for a product (like shampoo). 

    While it might be tempting to personally swear off plastic and there are those who do, we need to remember that in order to encourage recycling there needs to be a market for recycled plastic.  If there is no one buying recycled plastic, there will no longer be the incentive to recycle plastic and it will go to landfills or the ocean.  So we need to complete the full circle or recycling.  It is not enough to just recycle (although it is a good start).

    Toys made of recycled plastic

    I am not advocating that everyone go out and buy more stuff, but we need to think of the little items that we regularly toss like toothbrushes.  Yep, they make great little scrubbers, but eventually we toss them.  How about purchasing a toothbrush that is made out of a yogurt container and sending it back to the company for recycling when done with it?  There is a company that does this.  Many of us get our toothbrushes from our dentists when we have our regular appointments.  Perhaps we can choose not to take the one offered (unless of course, it is recycled and recyclable).  That will spread the word easily about not choosing plastic per usual.  We can start our children and grandchildren off with recycled toothbrushes and replace them in Christmas stockings.  Another option is to purchase a toothbrush with a replaceable head as it is the bristles that wear out not the handles.   


    Recycled and recyclable tooth brush

    When making any purchase consider where it came from and ask yourself:  Is it locally sourced (buying local is good for your neighborhood)?  Is it organic (organic is a word that has come to have multiple meanings but at its heart it means earth friendly, so regarding plastic is it recycled and recyclable)?  Is it fairly traded (produced in a manner that honors farmers and producers)?  These questions make up an acronym that might help us remember these important concepts.  L.O.F.T.  Local, Organic, Fairly Traded.  One can add the letter “y” to make it L.O.F.T.Y. (Local, Organic, Fairly Traded, Yes) as in lofty goals.   Oh, the toothbrushes to which I referred are made in the US and available in Three Rivers.  And we need to ask ourselves where can the items we purchase go when we are through with them.  Is the item reusable? Is it recyclable?  Is it compostable?  And maybe first of all, we need ask Is it really needed?  And is it life affirming?  And let’s try to eliminate the word “dump” from our options and vocabulary.   

    And what about the other half of the plastic/paper dilemma?  Paper.  There is a lot of green washing in the marketplace.  Green washing refers to the practice of manufacturers trying to appear greener than they truly are.  This is the age-old temptation to make ourselves look better than we really are.   Paper production is a classic example of green washing.  Most companies claim that their paper is recycled and they can legally say that because all that means is that the sawdust that falls on the floor in cutting the wood is picked up and put into the pulp to make the paper.  No trees are saved per say but the manufacturers did not waste the sawdust.  The info that a wise consumer needs to know is the post consumer waste percentage.  The higher the percentage of post consumer waste, the more recycled paper was used to make the new product and thus the greener the new paper.   



    OK, now is the time for me to share a tidbit of trivia.  Does anyone know how many trees would be saved if every household in the US replaced just one 500 sheet roll of virgin toilet paper with just one roll of recycled toilet paper?  Any guesses?  There is an appropriate prize for the one who guesses nearest the answer.  No cheating allowed.  Keep those smart phones off. The answer is according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. 424,000  trees.  PRIZE.  Folks, you cannot get more down to earth than talking toilet paper.  God knows us from the top of our heads to well you know.

    We are reminded in scripture that whoever is faithful in little things will be faithful in big things.  We have big issues in front of us, but God has our backs.  We can talk of massive climate change and feel overwhelmed or we can walk faithfully in small ways that are healthy for the whole planet knowing that it is in community that we can make the biggest changes.   So I have shared with you a couple simple ideas that cover both ends of your alimentary canal and involve both paper and plastic. 

    One of the comments I hear regarding purchasing recycled items is that they cost more and this is true.  The general consensus is that the price of recycled toilet paper for example, will come down as the demand goes up.  There is not a lot of incentive to stop clearing forests to manufacture toilet paper if the consumer continues to buy toilet paper as usual refusing to purchase the greener option.  The common thought that the bottom line (an apt phrase when talking about toilet paper) is merely a dollars and cents decision is narrow and can lead us to making all kinds of questionable decisions in life.  Is cheaper always better?  Perhaps not if we are talking about the very planet that sustains us.  We need to think much more broadly regarding the consequences of our choices and what would a good steward do?    

    Note: 80% post consumer recycled content!
    One way that I have come to look at the increased financial cost of living green, is that in making eco friendly purchases, I am doing something concrete to help the environment.  I am sure that at one time or another, we have all had the grandiose thoughts of what we would do if we only had say a million dollars.  We would give to the causes in which we believe in ways that prior to our windfall we could not .We can make earth saving decisions today without that phantom million dollars!  Yes, there are all kinds of reputable environmental groups that do good work on our behalf and with whom we can join forces for grassroots changes.  These groups do need our capital and our time, yet you are making a donation to these causes every time you shop green.  Sometimes we find it easier to write an occasional check to an organization rather than make the life changes that would help the cause with which we claim solidarity. 

    I am not here to suggest that all one needs to do is shop green to make a difference.  I would be making a mockery of my own values if I implied that.  I am simply here to work with folks in making earth friendly choices in the market place.  We vote for the type of future that we desire every time we spend money.   To ignore that fact in the richest country of the world would be at the very least unconscionable.   

    Now I want to leave you with a little reminder that I hope will help you acknowledge our common humanity and the simple ways of living that make big differences.  This is something that everyone in our culture beyond the age of 2 to 3 uses everyday and takes for granted.  Take one sheet and pass it on to your neighbor with the words “God knows you and loves you”.  My friends, God is in the ultimate resource recoverer.  Voluntarily reducing literally clears the clutter that can blind us to true abundant living and God is into true abundant living.  God does not give up on us.  God uses and reuses us and is the ultimate recycler and redeemer.  Thanks be to God who knows us and loves us.    


    39 N. Main St. • Three Rivers, MI 49093
    269.278.1236
    T, W, Th: 10-6 • F: 10-5 • S: 10-3

              Better World Shopper - Vote With Your Wallet        
    Be A Better World Shopper
    http://www.BetterWorldShopper.org

    THE IDEA: Voting With Your Wallet!

    BETTER WORLD SHOPPER is a site dedicated to providing people with a comprehensive, up-to-date, reliable account of the social and environmental responsibility of every company on the planet AND making it available in practical forms that individuals can use in their everyday lives. Coming out of more than 5 years of intensive research, this work is based on a comprehensive database of over 1000 companies and utilizes 25+ reliable sources of data to cover everything from the environment to human rights, community development to animal protection.
    Five Key Issues:

    HUMAN RIGHTS: sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct.

    THE ENVIRONMENT: global warming, rainforest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, greenwashing, toxic waste, eco-innovations, illegal dumping, sustainable farming.

    ANIMAL PROTECTION: factory farming, animal testing, humane treatment,wild animal habitat.

    COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: family farms, local business support, volunteer efforts, sustainable growth, philanthropic donations, nonprofit alliances, establishing foundations.

    SOCIAL JUSTICE: health & safety records, fair wages, union busting efforts, fatalities, discrimination based on: race, gender, age, ability, religion, sexuality, ethnicity.


    Below are the Top 10 BEST Companies that rated in the A Category: Often these companies were created specifically to provide socially and environmentally responsible options for consumers. A handful are merely responsibility leaders in their industry.
    Below are the Top 10 WORST Companies that rated in the F Category: Companies that are actively participating in the rapid destruction of the planet and the exploitation of human beings. Avoid these products at all costs.Here are the TOP 10 Things YOU CAN CHANGE:The Book: The Better World Shopping Guide
    http://www.BetterWorldShopper.org

    The only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers available, this book ranks every product on the shelf from A to F so you can quickly tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys” — turning your grocery list into a powerful tool to change the world. Representing over 15 years of distilled research, data is organized into the most common product categories including coffee, energy bars, computers, gasoline, clothing, banks, cars, water and more.

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    Resources:


              Ethicist makes case for animals        

    03282014p22pha.jpgFOR LOVE OF ANIMALS: CHRISTIAN ETHICS, CONSISTENT ACTION
    By Charles Camosy
    Published by Franciscan Media, $15.99

    In this short, engaging book, Fordham University theologian Charles Camosy calls Christians to think harder about their relationship with animals. If we claim to be supporters of justice, nonviolence and environmentalism, can we still engage in common practices such as eating meat, owning pets and hunting?

    Camosy roots his argument not in sentimental pleas to save cute animals, but in clear-headed claims about justice. He defines justice as a duty of "consistently and actively working to see that individuals and groups -- especially vulnerable populations on the margin -- are given what they are owed." He suggests that when we condemn NFL quarterback Michael Vick for his support of dogfighting, but continue to buy bacon made from pigs who are "at least as social and smart as dogs," we act inconsistently and unjustly. Though Christians did not invent the idea that human beings have the right to use animals as they choose, they have used the idea of "dominion" to justify mistreatment of animals. Camosy provides an alternate reading of the Genesis creation narrative, showing that "the world is not created for human beings. Indeed all creatures have goodness independent of human beings."

    Christians committed to nonviolence seek a world in which "swords are beaten in plowshares" (Isaiah 2:4) and "The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). Camosy asks us to evaluate the consistency of our ethical decision-making, not just for humans but for nonhumans. Even if the Bible recounts that God permits animal sacrifice and eating after the flood, Camosy, relying on Genesis and Isaiah, argues, "God's will for nonhuman animals is clear: They are to be our companions, not our food." He highlights the stories of saints and other great Christian figures (including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) who wrestled with the implications of the Christian vision for human and nonhuman animals.

    Contemporary Catholic thinkers ask Christians to view environmentalism as part of their commitment to be good stewards of the Earth. In this context, we are called to live counterculturally, limiting travel, living with less stuff, using less electricity and natural gas, just to name a few examples. Camosy draws on publications of the animal agriculture industry to argue that the factory farms -- where most of the meat we eat is raised -- are not only engaged in animal cruelty, but are also major contributors to environmental destruction. One of the most significant actions Christians can take to lessen their eco-footprint is to limit their intake of meat, especially meat from factory farms. Care for the Earth, nonviolence and justice all seem to point in the same direction.

    Camosy's argument will be controversial, even though he tries to head off major objections. (For example: Didn't Jesus eat animals? Don't humans need to eat meat?) The most serious questions are both theoretical and practical. At the theoretical level, we might ask if humans have a special place in creation that justifies some use of animals, even if we ought to treat them more justly. At the practical level, the question of balancing competing goods is key. For most households, eating humanely-raised meat will cost a lot more, even if they eat less. The duty to treat animals well can conflict with duties to give money to charity, buy fair trade and prepare meals that all family members can enjoy. Balancing these competing goods is not easy. Practicing justice, nonviolence and care for the environment might look different in each family.

    That said, recent work on animals makes it more difficult to justify ignoring the ethics of animal treatment. Detailed descriptions of how turkeys are raised, killed and sent to markets, for instance, are widely available. Because I've been mulling over Camosy's argument, I am finding them harder to dismiss. Buying humanely-raised turkey means paying twice or even four times as much. Yet, Camosy asks, if "Christians have a moral duty to be protectors -- not only for fellow human beings, but for all creation," how can we buy animals that have been robbed of the kind of life God intended for them? I'm not sure I can answer that question anymore. This book is a must-read for Christians who want to wrestle with tough questions and strive for ethical consistency in their relations with all animals, human and nonhuman.

    [Julie Hanlon Rubio is associate professor of Christian ethics at St. Louis University.]


              Good Hashtag Campaign #3        
    Not many people think about what happens when they don't use the full 140 characters in their tweet, but Ben and Jerry's thought of a perfect way to launch their campaign: they leveraged the unused characters to promote the World Fair Trade Day.  The result?  Bigger than they had imagined.

    From womma.org, the results from their campaign was as follows:

    • "1. 43,600 site visits from over 100 countries
    • 2. 518,000 Twitter characters contributed
    • 3. Over 1,000 blog mentions"

    The campaign used these unused characters, but didn't use the same spammy messages for each tweet.  They changed up the messages, as well as changing the game for Twitter hashtag campaigns.

              New Releases For August 27th and September 3rd, 2013        
    Awesome God Is He Darrell Evans EMI Worship Buy: Amazon Scarecrow Decyfer Down Fair Trade Hard Rock Buy:Amazon Inland Jars of Clay Grey Matters Pop Rock Buy: Amazon Love & The Outcome Love & The Outcome Word Records Pop Buy: Amazon Overcomer Mandisa Sparrow Records R&B/Soul Buy:Amazon Keeps On Changing Seth Condrey North Point Music [...]
              Fair trade helps Palestinian farmers stay on their land        
    Giving a decent price to growers is a form of economic resistance.
              Fresh&Natural - naturalna pielęgnacja ciała z regenerującym orzechowym balsamem.        
    Wiosna i lato to te pory roku, w których najczęściej odkrywamy ciało i wystawiamy je na słońce. Słońce jednak nie jest w tym przypadku naszą jedyną publiką, bo odsłaniając się poddajemy się również ocenie innym osobom. Czemu więc nie zadbać o skórę naszego ciała tak, by była bardziej nawilżona i wyglądała na zdrowszą? Czy bohater dzisiejszego wpisu nadaje się do tego typu pielęgnacji?




    Kosmetykiem, o którym dziś napiszę Wam kilka słów jest balsam (a właściwie nawet masełko) młodej polskiej firmy Fresh&Natural. Rynek kosmetyków naturalnych pochodzących z Polski w ostatnim czasie pięknie się rozwija i powstaje coraz więcej większych czy troszkę mniejszych, a nawet rodzinnych firm. Ja kosmetyki naturalne bardzo sobie cenię i choć również sięgam po te z teoretycznie mniej wartościowym składem, to natura wiedzie jednak u mnie prym.

    Fresh&Natural wpadło w moje oko zupełnie niedawno. Najpierw zdecydowałam się na zakup malinowego balsamu do ust, który bardzo polubiłam, a jakiś czas temu dołączył do mojego pielęgnacyjnego zbioru ten oto orzechowy egzemplarz.



    INCI: Aqua, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter EKO, Vitis Vinifera Seed (Grape) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit FAIR TRADE i EKO, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, D-panthenol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder, Argania Spinosa Nut (Argan) Oil EKO, Tocopherol Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Parfum

    Regenerujący balsam do ciała otrzymujemy w świetnym, zakręcanym opakowaniu, a wnętrze dodatkowo zabezpieczone jest dokładnie zaklejoną folią. Jest to niezwykle istotne jeżeli sięgamy po kosmetyki z naturalnym składem, gdzie najczęściej od momentu otwarcia mamy określony czas na zużycie. W tym przypadku są to trzy miesiące.

    Sam balsam ma fantastyczną konsystencję, jest zdecydowanie gęsty, a jednocześnie piankowy, niczym zbity mus. Przyjemnie się go nabiera na dłoń, chociaż samo rozsmarowanie na ciele trwa nieco dłużej niż przy innych kosmetykach, więc należy uzbroić się w cierpliwość. Kwestia wchłaniania to również istotna sprawa, bo od momentu dobrego rozsmarowania trzeba pewien czas odczekać zanim założy się ubranie - ja najczęściej używałam tego produktu wieczorem po prysznicu, kiedy mogłam sobie pozwolić na dłuższą chwilę dla siebie. Balsam zostawia na skórze ochronną, może odrobinę lepką warstewkę.


    Wszystkie te ewentualne niedogodności (w zależności oczywiście od potrzeb każdego z nas) wynagradzał zapach oraz nawilżenie ciała. Jeżeli lubicie słodki, orzechowy aromat to ten kosmetyk będzie dla Was czymś idealnym. Do tego skóra w trakcie regularnego używania była w moim przypadku dobrze nawilżona i odżywiona.


    Podsumowując bardzo polubiłam się z tym kosmetykiem. Przyjemnie się go używało i zapewniał właściwie wszystko to, czego ja oczekuję od produktów z tej kategorii. Sama wydajność jest przeciętna, ale zapach niesamowicie mi się spodobał i kto wie, może wrócę do tego rarytaska jesienią albo zimą?

    Cena to od około 40 - 60zł za 250ml - sporo, ale w tym przypadku płacimy jednak za jakość.

    A czego Wy używacie do pielęgnacji ciała?
    Znacie kosmetyki Fresh&Natural?

    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!
    bG

              Quiz 1 n Quiz 2 MKT243        
    Instruction:
    QUIZ 1: Ch14 n Ch16: answer any 20 questions.

    QUIZ 2: Ch 17 n Ch 18: answer any 20 questions.

    Turned in by FRIDAY 2 march 2012. The earlier the better. Jangan tangguhkan kerja. Pigeon hole number 43. Nombor bilik L1-43. My Hp nombor 013 7798284.

    All answers turned in must be on a piece of paper and on one page only. Make sure the chapters and numbering are correctly written.
    No copying and no late submission

    Chapter 14—Integrated Marketing Communications.

    TRUE/FALSE

    ​1.​Promotion basically refers to firms communicating with their target markets.

    2.​The marketing mix is the combination of promotion tools used to reach the target market and fulfill the organization's overall goals.


    ​3.​Advertising is any form of impersonal, one-way mass communication in which the sponsor is identified.

    ​4.​Publicity is free.


    ​5.​Sales promotion is generally a short-run tool used to stimulate immediate increases in product demand.


    ​6.​When a marketer sends a message to its target market, the marketer must first decode the symbols used


    ​7.​All promotions perform one or more of the following three tasks: to inform, to persuade, or to remind the target audience.


    ​8.​AIDA stands for Attitudes-Involvement-Decision-Action.


    ​9.​The AIDA concept can be used to explain how all promotions influence purchase decisions.


    Chapter 16—Sales Promotion and Personal Selling

    TRUE/FALSE

    ​10.​A sales promotion campaign could include any (or all) of the four promotional elements of the promotional mix.

    ​11.​Advertising is generally cheaper than sales promotions, and its results are easier to measure.


    ​12.​Sales promotion consists of promotional activities designed to encourage product trial and repeat purchase behavior in the long term of a product's life.


    ​13.​Coupons are more likely to be encourage repeat purchases by regular users than stimulate product trial by nonusers.


    ​14.​When Intel offers to pay $100 to customers who buy a computer with an Intel Celeron processor, it is an example of a premium offer.


    ​15.​Point-of-purchase promotions are an extremely important sales promotion tool because up to 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made in the store.


    ​16.​A trade allowance is a price reduction offered by retailers to customers who are buying homogeneous shopping goods.


    ​17.​Trade shows are an excellent place to introduce new products to the marketplace.


    ​18.​Trade promotions are popular among manufacturers because they help manufacturers gain new distributors, obtain intermediary support for consumer promotions, and improve trade relations.


    ​19.​Personal selling becomes a more important promotional tool as product complexity and buyer risk diminish.


    ​20.​Consultative selling is also called relationship selling.


    ​21.​Relationship selling is more typically found in selling situations for industrial type goods, such as equipment used to build highways.


    ​22.​With relationship selling the salesperson would spend most of his or her contact time with the prospect talking about the product because the salesperson does not want to waste the customer's time.

    ​23.​In relationship selling, salespeople focus more time on qualifying leads than on generating leads.

    Chapter 17—Pricing Concepts


    MULTIPLE CHOICE

    ​1.​Price is best described as:

    a.the perceived value of a good or service
    b.money exchanged for a good or service
    c.the psychological results of purchasing
    d.the cost in dollars for a good or service as set by the producer
    e.the value of a barter good in an exchange


    ​2.​Revenue:
    a.equals quantity sold times profit margin
    b.equals price minus costs
    c.equals return on investment
    d.is synonymous with profit
    e.equals price of goods times quantity sold


    ​3.​What is left over after paying for company activities is:
    a.return on investment
    b.revenue
    c.profit
    d.net worth
    e.a current asset



    ​4.​Why are marketing managers finding it more difficult to set prices in today's environment?
    a.Inflationary and recessionary periods have made customers less price-sensitive.
    b.Fewer dealer and generic brands are available because the competition has been eliminated.
    c.The high rate of new product introductions has led to careful reevaluation by consumers.
    d.Marketing managers are finding it difficult to compare prices between suppliers.
    e.Buyers are less informed and are less price-sensitive.



    ​5.​For convenience, pricing objectives can be divided into three categories. They are:
    a.returnable, competitive, and attainable
    b.measurable, competitive, and unique
    c.general, attainable, and unique
    d.profit-oriented, sales-oriented, and status quo
    e.competitive, fixed, and variable



    ​6.​An organization is using _____ when it sets its prices so that total revenue is as large as possible relative to total costs.
    a.profit maximization
    b.market share pricing
    c.demand-oriented pricing
    d.sales maximization
    e.status quo pricing



    ​7.​_____ measures the overall effectiveness of management in generating profits with its available assets.
    a.ROI
    b.EOQ
    c.JIT
    d.UPC
    e.BEQ



    ​8.​The Dockside Restaurant managed to exceed its target ROI for the current fiscal year. The following results were found on its financial statements:


    ​9.​Mikell has recently opened a n athletic equipment store near a college campus. He cannot decide whether to base his firm's pricing objectives on market share, dollar sales, or unit sales. Regardless of which he chooses, his firm's pricing objective can be categorized as:
    a.status-quo
    b.profit-oriented
    c.need-oriented
    d.cost-oriented
    e.sales-oriented



    ​10.​Market share pricing is a:
    a.profit-oriented pricing technique
    b.sales-oriented concept
    c.demand-oriented concept
    d.supply-oriented concept
    e.status quo pricing technique


    ​11.​As a short-term pricing objective, _____ can be effectively used on a temporary basis to sell off excessive inventory.
    a.profit maximization
    b.profit-oriented pricing
    c.status quo pricing
    d.sales maximization
    e.market share pricing



    ​12.​If a company's pricing objective is to meet the competition or to maintain existing prices, it is using _____ pricing.
    a.head-on
    b.target return on investment
    c.status quo
    d.market share
    e.peer pricing



    ​13.​One of the advantages associated with status quo pricing is that it:
    a.is based on actual costs of manufacturing
    b.maintains the organization's differential advantage
    c.is active, not reactive
    d.causes price wars
    e.requires little planning



    ​14.​Although many factors can influence price, the primary determinants are:
    a.costs of manufacturing and distribution
    b.the demand for the good and the cost to the seller
    c.demand by the consumer and perceived quality
    d.distribution and promotion strategies
    e.stage of the product life cycle and costs to the consumer


    ​15.​The quantity of a product that people will buy depends on its price, but the quantity of product that will be sold in the market at various prices for a specified period is called:
    a.price
    b.demand
    c.supply
    d.determinant
    e.costs


    ​16.​The price of the good or service is a key decision for a marketer because it most significantly and directly affects the product's:
    a.distribution
    b.costs
    c.demand
    d.promotion
    e.quality


    ​17.​The quantity of a product that people will buy/demand is most dependent on its:
    a.distribution
    b.supply
    c.promotion
    d.quality
    e.price



    Chapter 18—Setting the Right Price

    MULTIPLE CHOICE

    ​18.​A company's pricing strategy should do all of the following EXCEPT:
    a.give direction for price movements over the product life cycle
    b.define the initial price
    c.ignore the targeting and positioning strategy of the company
    d.set a competitive price
    e.interact with the other elements of the marketing mix


    ​19.​A 16-ounce bottle of Prairie Herb vinegar sells for $4.95, and a 16-ounce bottle of Heinz vinegar costs $1.05. Prairie Herb vinegar is new to the market, perceived to be of higher quality and provides a unique flavor to foods even though it is used in the same way as Heinz vinegar. Prairie Herb vinegar is most likely using a _____ pricing policy.
    a.penetration
    b.status quo
    c.price skimming
    d.zoning
    e.basing-point


    ​20.​A shortage of blood for transfusions for injured animals has resulted in the introduction of a synthesized product called Oxyglobin, which can be used effectively as a blood replacement. The manufacturer of the product has put a high price on the product in order to recoup its research and development costs. The manufacturer of Oxyglobin is using a _____ policy.
    a.price-banding
    b.penetration pricing
    c.price-lining
    d.price-zoning
    e.price-skimming


    ​21.​The price-skimming strategy is sometimes called a "market-plus" approach to pricing because it denotes a high price relative to the prices of competing products. This strategy works best when:
    a.competition is abundant
    b.revenues are equal to expenses
    c.supply is greater than demand
    d.production capacity is large and flexible
    e.demand is greater than supply



    ​22.​When a firm introduces a new product at a relatively low price because it hopes to reach the mass market, it is following a _____ strategy. The low price is designed to capture a large share of a substantial market and produce lower production costs.
    a.penetration pricing
    b.price-insensitive demand
    c.price-skimming
    d.flexible price
    e.base price


    ​23.​A penetration strategy tends to be effective in a price-sensitive market. Thus, one of the purposes of penetration pricing is to:
    a.recoup product development costs quickly
    b.discourage competitors from entering the market
    c.produce a large margin of profit per unit
    d.develop exclusive distribution
    e.attract the price-insensitive buyer who demands the latest in technology.

    ​24.​Penetration pricing means charging a relatively low price for a product as a way to reach the mass market. The low price is designed to capture a large share of a substantial market. Thus, penetration pricing:
    a.tends to be more effective in a less price-sensitive market
    b.tempts competitors to enter the market
    c.provides a large profit per unit sold
    d.recoups product development costs quickly
    e.tends to lower production costs


    ​25.​To achieve its status as the industry's second fastest-growing personal computer manufacturer, Dell Computer set a relatively low introductory price for its computers as a way to reach the mass market. Dell used a _____ pricing policy.
    a.penetration
    b.flexible
    c.skimming
    d.zone
    e.absorption


    26.​A penetration pricing strategy tends to be most effective:
    a.when demand is relatively inelastic
    b.under unitary conditions
    c.in price-sensitive markets
    d.when the company can only perform small production runs
    e.if unit costs are high


    ​27.​A firm charging a price identical to or very close to the competition's price is using a _____ strategy.
    a.price-skimming
    b.penetration pricing
    c.predatory pricing
    d.status quo pricing
    e.leader pricing


    ​28.​The Association of Specialty Surgical Practice has published a minimum fee schedule for services and distributed this schedule throughout the medical profession. Specialty Surgical is engaged in:
    a.price fixing
    b.bait pricing
    c.unfair trade practices
    d.price discrimination
    e.predatory pricing



    ​29.​Hayward Distributors sells name-brand kitchen appliances to businesses and institutions. It charges a substantially lower price to companies that operate multiple locations where its appliances can be used -such as a restaurant chain. It charges a higher price to companies that have fewer than three operations because there is much less opportunity for repeat business. Hayward Distributors is engaging in:
    a.unfair trade practices
    b.price fixing
    c.price discrimination
    d.predatory pricing
    e.bait pricing


    ​30.​The Sharp Razor Company sells its disposable razors to several large discount retailers but gives special allowances only to one retailer. Sharp Razor is practicing:
    a.unfair trade practices
    b.predatory pricing
    c.bait pricing
    d.price fixing
    e.price discrimination


    ​31.​If Microsoft Computers suddenly started to charge very low prices for their software with the intention of driving smaller competitors out of the market, Microsoft would be guilty of:
    a.predatory pricing
    b.unfair trade practices
    c.bait pricing
    d.price fixing
    e.price discrimination


    ​32.​After mangers understand both the legal and the marketing consequences of price strategies, they should set a(n) _____ price, the general level at which a company expects to sell a good or service.
    a.introductory
    b.zone
    c.demand
    d.leader
    e.base


    ​33.​When a buyer pays a lower price for buying in multiple units or above a specified dollar amount, the buyer is receiving a:
    a.functional discount
    b.cash discount
    c.rebate
    d.promotional allowance
    e.quantity discount



              Random Posts...        
    For a little while there will be random posts, here and there. There are quite a few photos and happenings from this summer.

    We are now into the school year full swing, as I am sure everyone is...homework, rushing out the door in the morning, earlier bedtimes, and on, and on...missing summer already. I have however, been able to make it to a few art festivals. I am feeling really inspired to start painting again, among many other things. I love art and seeing what others are doing just gets my creative juices flowing like crazy!

    Below are a few things I found at the art festivals I have attended recently...I love baskets and I love pottery! (Have been taking basket weavings classes since February this year...my next endeavor shall be to learn pottery.)

    The larger basket holds four of my current knitting projects with room to spare...I love it! The man I bought the baskets from is from Ghana. He has been in the US for about 30 years...was a professional soccer player when he first came here, and when he retired from that he started making these traditional elephant grass baskets to sell. They are the same as the ones you can find online at fair trade sites. It is amazing to watch him weave them...he has recently accepted a position with the professional soccer organization back in Africa, and will be leaving the states to return home. It was truly a priviledge to meet him...he is a very kind and joyful person. Good luck and safe travels to you Mohammad Attiah!









    Attended an awesome heirloom harvest festival at Thomas Jefferson's home (Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia) weekend before last. I am already planning my vegie garden for next spring, summer, and fall. Also, thinking about planting some berry plants...strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I am definitely addicted to growing my own food now. Very satisfying.








              Z debaty o handlu na EEC: Produkty regionalne zastępują w Polsce półkę bio        
    W czasie debaty o handlu podczas Europejskiego Kongresu Gospodarczego paneliści stwierdzili, że dla polskiego konsumenta produkty bio i fair trade są zbyt drogie. Dlatego ich rolę przejmują produkty regionalne, nie ekologiczne, ale z zagrody rolnika. Dlatego m.in. delikatesy regionalne Organic Farma Zdrowia zauważył ten trend i rozszerza półkę regionalną w swoich sklepach.
              Electronic Cigarette Industry Update to Be Presented April 23rd        

    Electronic cigarette trade organization SFATA presents industry update from the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas, NV -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/02/2013 -- The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) will host a three-hour industry update at the Paris Hotel on April 23rd from 3:00PM to 6:00PM. The event will cover the state of the electronic cigarette (e-cig) industry as it has developed over the first quarter of 2013.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may soon request that e-cigs be regulated as tobacco products rather than under a unique (and more appropriate) classification of their own. Regulated as tobacco products, the availability of electronic cigarettes to the public would be restricted and many electronic cigarette companies could be forced to close.

    The three-hour meeting will include regulatory and legislative updates, an overview of good manufacturing practices, as well as an open forum discussion moderated by Phil Daman, Esq. of Daman & Associates, LLP.

    Attendance at a SFATA-sponsored electronic cigarette summit in January exceeded expectations with more than 100 industry stakeholders, e-cig business leaders, and community members attending. Many who could not attend requested more events like the summit. The industry update is part of a series of workshops presented by SFATA to assist the growth and maturity of the electronic cigarette industry.

    SFATA is the only association that represents a wide cross section of all segments of the industry including distributors, manufacturers, retailers and more in order to address a wide variety of electronic cigarette consumer matters. SFATA hopes to make industry self regulation a reality through (1) providing the tools necessary for regulators, industry specialists, and consumers to make informed decisions, (2) increased interest, education, and advocacy for proposed and new legislation and FDA regulation, and (3) improved testing, uniform manufacturing processes, and established guidelines for the future of the industry.

    Member goals aim to streamline processes, impact free and fair trade through self-regulation, and alleviate government expense by providing cohesive industry support for consumer affairs. Programs being established include quality and safety standards, manufacturing best practices, controls for sales and marketing responsibility.

    The E-Cig Industry Update will be at The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on April 23rd from 3:00PM to 6:00PM in the Champagne 1 Ballroom. Networking for those wishing to attend will continue at the Le Central Bar also at the Paris Hotel.

    Attendance is free and open to members of the electronic cigarette industry and community though registration is required. For more information or to reserve a seat, please email info@sfata.org.

    About SFATA
    The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association is dedicated to the advocacy, education, and reputation of the electronic cigarette industry. Through its membership, SFATA builds the networks necessary to support campaigning and research endeavors paramount to the future of the industry. SFATA's primary concern is the fair regulation of electronic cigarettes in a way that creates an even playing field for all companies in the market. For more information, visit SFATA.org, email info@sfata.org or call 218-22-SFATA.

    For more information on this press release visit: http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/electronic-cigarette-industry-update-to-be-presented-april-23rd-232078.htm

    Media Relations Contact

    SFATA Information
    Email: Click to Email SFATA Information
    Web: http://SFATA.org


              Comment on Samuel Eto’o Embarrassed And Disgraced In A London Shop by 食齋        
    Offers take away food including salads, wraps, soups, superfood smoothies, baked goods (gluten free/vegan), fair trade coffee, and a line of cold pressed juices.
              LUSH Charity Pot Body Lotion: Support Grassroots Charities        
    LUSH Charity Pot
    Sometimes the simplest holiday gifts are the best.  With a sweltering summer and an early start to winter snowstorms across the country this year, skin is bound to be dried out and cracking.  Forget the spa -- why not surprise your girl with a LUSH Charity Pot ($21.95, 7.9 oz.) to soften and replenish her hands?  The lotion is made with fair trade organic cocoa butter, almond oil, and geranium essential oil to provide a delicate fragrance.   Hands will truly smell like rich chocolate when this buttery lotion is lathered on them.

    Just as excitingly, every penny that you pay for a Charity Pot, excluding the tax, goes to grassroots charities all around the world.  Lush is committed to supporting "small, grassroots charities and projects working on behalf of the environment and conservation, animal protection, and for human rights."  From 2007 through 2010, Lush raised over $1.4 million, sold over 64,000 Charity Pots, partnered with 89 organizations, and funded 97 projects.  A few of the charities LUSH has supported are Made by Survivors (fights human trafficking), Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (Sierra Leone, Africa), Lights for Life (provides LED lights for impoverished families in Africa), Operation Water for Haiti, Beauty's Haven Farm and Equine Rescue (Horse rescue and sanctuary in Florida), and the Rainforest Partnership.  You can buy LUSH products at its store online or in malls throughout the United States and beyond.  Another idea is to buy the 1.7 ounce Charity Pot ($5.00) for a sure-to-be-loved stocking stuffer!

    *This product does not contain animal products of any kind.


              Gifts That Give Hope Fairs: Malls With a Purpose        
    Gifts that Give Fairs
    I cannot think of a better way to jump start your quest for meaningful holiday shopping than to attend a Gifts that Give Hope FairGifts That Give Hope fairs are typically held in public venues in the United States where shoppers meet and learn about non-profit organizations, make a donation to a cause of their choice in honor of a friend or loved one, and receive an attractive card with a description of their charitable donation. Gifts That Give Hope is a non-profit organization that assists service, civic, community and faith-based groups plan events to raise awareness of needs in a local or global area, secure donations and encourage volunteerism, while providing unique shopping and giving opportunities. 

    As of today, there are Gifts that Give Fairs throughout Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  I am going to highlight the Lancaster, Pennsylvania fair today and hope some of you might be inspired by its success to the point of starting a fair in your city.  The Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair is made possible by a group of tireless volunteers and has 30 non-profit participants this year.  The Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair, only three years old, succeeded in raising $26,039.00 last year for non-profits! In addition to buying alternative gifts, you can also buy fair trade items at the fair such as  Delicious Peace coffee, Divine chocolate, Canaan Fair Trade olive oil, and Bead for Life jewelry. 

    Whatever your passion is, you will find a cause that will pull at your heart at the Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair AND through its online link.  You can contribute for a water well to be built in an orphan village in Rwanda for  a mere $50 (4-More).  Through Central PA Animal Alliance, $10 provides treats for dogs at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, and $50 provides training for a rescued dog to become a service dog for a veteran in need.  $50 also provides for a one night stay in a shelter for a victim of domestic violence and her children (Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County).  Want to be part of the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation?  $20 pays for ONE MONTH of safe housing, therapy, nutrition, education and medical expenses for a rescued child in South East Asia (Love146)!  

    Perhaps you are searching for the perfect gift for a chef? The Solar Cooker Project of Jewish World Watch seeks to protect refugee women and girls from rape and other forms of violence. Women and girls who have fled the genocide in Darfur, Sudan are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence while performing the critical task of collecting firewood for cooking. For $20.00, you can provide a family with a solar cooker and training, which negates the need to collect firewood and thus protects the women from needless exposure to rape!  

    There are too many amazing projects to list here, but please check them out on the Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair link.   Perhaps you will be inspired to start a new gift fair in your city and thus enable dozens of non-profits to obtain the funding they need to further transform the United States and beyond.  As one of the Lancaster Alternative Gift Fair co-chairs pointed out to me, one of the best parts of participating in an alternative gift fair is not the act of buying or selling alternative gifts, but rather "getting to see people make connections and build relationships in the community." Use an alternative gift fair to identify new (and old) great causes that you can support and join today!
    CAQXP4GR8WFD 

              Comment on The problem with demanding the Liberal Democrats be more radical or more distinctive by Robert Weissen        
    Open. Internationalist. Fair trade, mutual benefits. Education to help achieve people's full potential. Change mindset from GDP growth to sustainable growth. The Energy Transition, combating climate change. Technology to achieve high quality of life, not income. Underpinned by peace and cooperation, collaboration, where benefits are shared leaving no-one left behind, squeezing out extremism and terrorism.
              10 New Years Resolutions that are GREEN!        
    It's easy to think about all the big changes you're going to make in the New Year as the old year comes to an end -- but by the second week of January, most of us are already finding reasons to skip the gym or break the spending freeze. That's why we've come up with ten green New Year's resolutions so easy you'll have no excuse not to keep them -- and as they help you save money, cut your carbon footprint, decrease your home's waste stream, and improve the quality of the Earth, you'll be glad you did.

    1. Never buy bottled water again

    Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher and you can help make a dent in the 1.5 million barrels of oil used to make plastic water bottles each year; pair it with a reusable bottle (like one made of glass, aluminum, or recycled plastic), and you'll always be prepared to tackle your thirst. Bonus: With bottled water no longer on your shopping list, you could save as much as $1,400 this year.

    2. Brew your own Fair Trade coffee


    french press coffee resolution photo
    Photo: Beneath_B1ue_Skies/Creative Commons
    Carrying your own coffee in an insulated travel mug helps you reduce waste from cardboard cups and carrying sleeves -- which are thrown away at a staggering rate of58 billion each year. For greener at-home brewing, choose a Fair Trade blend that supports farmers; add organic milk instead of artificial creamers; and try a French press (instead of a traditional brewer) to save electricity.

    3. Remember your reusable bags


    blue avocado bags photo
    Photo: Blue Avocado
    With more than 1 million plastic bags ending up in the trash every minute, takingreusable bags to the store is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint -- but the hardest part about using them is simply remembering to take them with you. A set like this one from Blue Avocado is almost impossible to forget: It comes with six different bags, sized for everything from frozen goods to fresh fruit, and the entire collection folds down into a slim packet for easy transport.

    4. Cut back on paper towels


    paper towels resolution photo
    Photo: edkohler/Creative Commons
    If you're grabbing a paper towel for everything from wiping up spills and cleaning your counter to scrubbing the bathroom and keeping your hands clean at dinner, it's time tomake a change. Instead, invest in a few cotton cloths and some fabric napkins; then drop them in the wash when you run a load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives is just as easy as using the paper versions, and you only need to buy them once -- plus you can help eliminate the 3,000 tons of paper towels that end up landfills every day.

    5. Use a bike for short trips

    new years biking photoPhoto: laffy4k/Creative CommonsIt takes a certain amount of dedication to permanently give up a car in favor of a bike, but even an eco-slacker can make it work for short trips that don't require hauling a lot of stuff: picking up milk at the local grocery store, after-dinner ice cream at your favorite dessert spot, your morning yoga class, brunch with friends at the coffee shop. Ride your bike for trips shorter than 2 miles and you could cut your carbon footprint significantly, save money on gasoline and car maintenance, and increase your fitness level -- all at the same time.

    6. Order from your local CSA

    local csa resolution photoPhoto: Comrogues/Creative CommonsGoing to the farmer's market always sounds like such a great idea -- until Saturday morning rolls around and you realize you have to get up early, have enough cash, and fight other customers for the best strawberries. Instead, have your local CSA programdo the hard part for you by putting together a box of their best produce each week -- and, if you're really feeling lazy, have it delivered right to your door so you get fresh, local fruits and vegetables without giving up your lazy coffee-and-crossword mornings.

    7. Become a weekend vegetarian


    weekend vegetarian resolution photo
    Photo: naotakem/Creative Commons
    Cutting meat out of your diet just two days a week can decrease your carbon footprint by about 1/3 of a ton -- and coming up with meat-free meals for Saturday and Sunday isn't as hard as it sounds. Try pancakes and fruit for breakfast; fresh salads or roasted vegetable sandwiches for lunch; and veggie pizza, bean soups, and creamy risottosfor dinner. And since doubling a recipe rarely adds any time to your prep work, you can make extras to eat throughout the week (and trim your carbon footprint even more).

    8. Eliminate phantom power

    power strip resolution photoPhoto: kalleboo/Creative CommonsIt takes approximately one second to unplug the charger for your cell phone, mp3 player, e-reader, or iPad -- but if you really can't be bothered, then let nifty, energy-efficient gadgets do the work for you. Use power strips to turn off all your appliances at once; put your television, DVD player, game system, and stereo on a timer so they automatically shut off overnight; and invest in chargers that stop drawing current when the device's battery is full. You could cut your energy bill by as much as 10 percent annually -- without lifting a finger.

    9. Switch to green power


    alternative energy resolution photo
    Photo: Lollie-Pop/Creative Commons
    Switching your home to run on green power sounds like a big job -- installing solar panels, geothermal energy, or a tankless hot water heater is not a job for the construction-impaired. But you can also make this happen without getting out of your chair: Call your local energy company and see if they offer renewable options (most do). You might see a small jump in your bill, but it's an easy way to make a big change.

    10. Replace your lightbulbs

    cfl bulbs resolutions photoPhoto: dbgg1979/Creative CommonsReplacing your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights may be the ultimate change for the eco-slacker. Despite all the jokes, it takes only one person to change a lightbulb -- and since CFLs last longer than traditional bulbs, you'll be saving time for years down the road while cutting your energy use by as much as 80 percent. Can't even face the hardware store? Order your bulbs online and have them come straight to your door.

    Article from treehugger.com

              The Future of Fair Trade…Is There One? (Blog)        
    If Fair Trade coffee quality doesn’t improve, the Direct Trade movement will quickly become a growing threat.
              Democrats aim to regain advantage on trade from Trump        
    US-TOURISM-WASHINGTON-DC

    Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are unveiling a new set of trade policies aimed at appealing to working-class voters and regaining advantage on an issue Donald Trump seized to great effect during last year’s presidential campaign.

    Some of the proposals being rolled out Wednesday sound like talking points straight from Trump, including renegotiating NAFTA and strengthening “Buy America” policies. Despite his rhetoric on those issues, Trump has taken limited steps so far, although he did formally pull the U.S. out of a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade pact that Congress probably wouldn’t have approved anyway.

    “For too long, big corporations have dictated how trade deals and foreign acquisitions are negotiated and the American worker has been left without a seat at the table,” according to the Democrats’ trade blueprint. “As a result, many of these deals have boosted corporate profits, but for many hard-working Americans, these same policies have led to shuttered factories and lower wages.”

    The trade policies being announced Wednesday are the second roll-out in Democrats’ new “Better Deal” agenda, which House and Senate Democrats are proposing ahead of the 2018 midterms. Last week Democrats unveiled the overall agenda and made public the first three planks, which focused on creating more jobs, cracking down on corporate monopolies and lowering prescription drug prices.

    On trade, Democrats are proposing a new American Jobs Security Council to review and potentially halt foreign purchases of U.S. companies. Chinese state-owned enterprises are increasingly entering U.S. markets by purchasing American companies, but the reverse doesn’t usually happen because of restrictions in China on U.S. investments, according to supporting documents.

    Democrats also envision a new “independent trade prosecutor” who would be empowered to investigate unfair trade practices outside the unwieldy World Trade Organization process, and recommend retaliation in the form of restrictions to U.S. market access.

    And Democrats call for renegotiating the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with the goal of achieving more American jobs and higher wages, and enforceable labor standards. Trump has also called for renegotiating NAFTA, a deal he bashed ceaselessly on the campaign trail, and a couple weeks ago his administration outlined its goals for doing so, some of which overlap with the Democrats’ ideas.

    The Democrats also call for strengthening “Buy America” provisions in taxpayer-funded projects. Trump, too, has harped on the “Buy America” theme even as it’s been revealed that some of his own products and those marketed by his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line were manufactured in other countries.

    READ NEXT: Yes, trade with China took away blue-collar jobs. And there’s no getting them back.

    Overall, the Democrats’ trade proposals underscore the influence of the party’s liberal wing in pushing it in a populist direction that rejects multinational trade deals in favor of more protectionist policies that elevate U.S. workers’ interests. Indeed trade had been seen as an area where Trump and congressional Democrats could work together, since Trump is more aligned with Democrats on the issue than with the traditional Republican free-trade approach.

    But such cooperation has not materialized as it’s become apparent that Trump and Democrats are unlikely to work together on anything except where strictly necessary.

    The post Democrats aim to regain advantage on trade from Trump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


              Don’t Dawdle on Economic and National Security        
    Workers and companies’ existence is at risk.

    The future of the American steel and aluminum industries is not a matter for dithering.

    Each mill and smelter that remains operating is too vital. Each is too crucial to the economic viability of a corporation, a community, and thousands of workers and their families. Each also is too essential to national security, which relies on American-produced metals for critical infrastructure, from bridge construction to the electrical grid, and for munitions, from fighter jets to bullet-proof vests.

    There is no more time for waiting. International trade law must be enforced now. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump pledged his support to workers and these industries. And he followed through by launching within three months of taking office as president special investigations into the effects of steel and aluminum imports on national security. Such inquiries may take as long as a year to conclude, but the administration expedited the process. Until it didn’t. Now steel and aluminum corporations, their communities and their workers are being told to wait. It’s a delay that could kill more American mills and smelters.

    The nation lost nine aluminum smelters over the past six years, leaving only five in the entire country, and most of them are now operating at reduced levels. Beginning in January 2015, steel companies laid off 14,000 workers as they closed mills and sections of mills. For example, Allegheny Technologies shuttered a plant that made grain oriented electrical steel in 2016, leaving only one U.S. company, AK Steel, now producing this component critical to electricity transmission.

    As mills and smelters disappear, the military is further restricted in its ability to secure domestically produced essential metals in a time of crisis.  

    The primary culprit in this scary scenario is overcapacity and overproduction in China, which overwhelms the world market with illegally subsidized, grossly underpriced aluminum and steel.

    China has promised repeatedly to solve this problem. On Thursday it pledged again, this time contending it wanted to work globally to deal with the issue of aluminum overcapacity – a problem Beijing created. Over the past six years, using massive government subsidies, China quickly ramped up capacity to become the largest aluminum producer in the world.

    China can’t be trusted on this because it never keeps its promises. It has never cut its steelmaking capacity after announcing again and again that it would. In negotiations last week, Trump cabinet members could not even get a specific commitment out of China to do it. There’s no evidence China will stop overproducing steel or aluminum now. Waiting is useless. And destructive to American manufacturing.

    The American steel and aluminum industries have fought back, filing and winning dozens of trade cases against imports of specific products. But the resulting tariffs and other penalties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) didn’t solve the problem. Instead of paying U.S. tariffs, China shipped its government-supported excess of these products to other countries, artificially suppressing world prices and warping what is supposed to be a free market.

    Also, this traditional process for seeking relief from unfair trade takes too long. More than a year may elapse before companies and workers get a final decision. And that will be for just one product, like aluminum extrusions, aluminum foil, welded stainless steel pressure pipe or corrosion-resistant steel, to name a tiny number of cases from recent years.

    That’s part of what made the special investigations into steel and aluminum imports so attractive. If the U.S. Commerce Department determined under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 that imports of steel and aluminum jeopardized national security, then the president could impose penalties broadly to ensure the country could meet its own needs. The effort might also spur allies to join the United States in finally pressuring China sufficiently to actually reduce capacity.

    Although Section 232 allows for nine months of investigation, after which the President would have three months to determine a remedy, the administration promised quick action when it announced the inquiries in April. The steel report was to be completed by June 30, with a speedy decision by the president after that.

    That suggested the administration understood this was urgent.

    But June 30 came and went. Now there’s an official delay. The administration told the Wall Street Journal that the steel investigation is on hold until after health care reform, tax changes and infrastructure spending are accomplished.  “We don’t want to do it at this moment,” the president said Tuesday of the steel case.

    That’s devastating. Especially because steel imports have jumped 22 percent since Jan. 1, placing additional pressure on the American industry.

    The delay occurs as efforts are made by a new company to reopen at least one potline at an aluminum smelter in New Madrid, Mo., that the now-bankrupt Noranda company idled last year. Postponing the Section 232 decision makes for uncertainty for these investors.

    It also occurs as a Chinese company is trying to buy Aleris, an Ohio-based manufacturer that supplies aluminum for use in vital infrastructure and military applications. That Asian firm, China Zhongwang, is accused of dodging tariffs and is under civil and criminal investigation for possible smuggling, conspiracy and wire fraud by the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and Commerce Department.

    Maybe the Aleris smelters would keep operating if China Zhongwang bought them, but at what risk to national security?

    The delay occurs as companies that buy steel fear monger that tariffs or quotas would raise prices.

    An expert, Stephen Koplan, chairman of the U.S. ITC under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, says that’s hogwash. “Predictions of disaster were wrong 15 years ago when I chaired the ITC, and they are wrong again today,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Hill newspaper this week.

    When President George W. Bush imposed tariffs and quotas on steel imports under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, there was no price shock afterward, according to a study by the nonpartisan U.S. ITC.  Here is what Koplan, who also served as an attorney at the Small Business Administration, wrote:

    “Downstream industries were not devastated by higher steel prices. Nor was the U.S. economy thrown into depression. The U.S. steel industry, however, earned a much-needed relief as the result of action taken by the president that allowed it to restructure and reinvest for the long term. In other words, the Section 201 measures worked as intended.

    “We are facing similar challenges again today. . .Now, however, U.S. national security is at great risk if firm action is not taken immediately. The U.S. primary aluminum industry is on the verge of disappearing entirely, and the U.S. steel industry is not far behind.”

    AK Steel Corp. CEO Roger Newport agreed with Koplan’s assessment that this is not a time for dawdling, telling the Commerce Department in his testimony on the steel case:

    “High-end electrical steel is an incredibly difficult product to manufacture, as it requires a significant amount of dedicated, capital equipment and a sophisticated, well-trained workforce. Therefore, if AK Steel were to exit the market, there would be no operational electrical steel manufacturing equipment in the United States, the specialized labor and related expertise in operations would be lost, and many of AK Steel’s talented operators and researchers would either relocate to other businesses, industries and/or foreign countries, or become unemployed.”

    Workers’ and companies’ economic security is at risk. The nation’s security is at risk. Resolution of these cases should be speeded, not delayed.

        

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              Summation and the source         
    As we matured into Christ, we will breakthrough out much and more what a pleasing, filling, comforting, encouraging, mortifying and empowering piece it is to cognize Him. And when we develop into the living, burning reverence for Christ that God intended, later we will no long belief getting clear in your mind answers to prayers as our motive for praying. But rather, to simply savour His breathtaking Presence will be our main, overarching bent. All God's creation and the Spirit of God Himself are at one time pointing to the imaginary place worldly goods of simply knowing Christ.Christ Himself is simply the world's all-consuming Answer unheeding of how many a or how few nation have the facility to certify Him as such as. In this way, for those of us who are His, Christ will change our minds and black maria into a business firm singularity of design in Him.The Spirit of God is now at industry in His own grouping to get Jesus Christ their All in both life-scenario. We who move Christ will know Him near an astonishing quality of informed. We will learn the not-so-mysterious unprofessed of family with the Almighty.Post ads:Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash, Combo Pack, 7.5 Pound Box / Hartz Maximum Protection Puppy Pads, 80 Count / Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, 20-Ounce Boxes / Arrowhead Mills Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes, 10-Ounce / Stevia Clear Liquid Toffee 2 Ounces / Black Forest Gummy Bears Ferrara Candy, Natural and / Greenies Smartbites Hairball Control Chicken Cat Treats, / Candy Blox 3 Lbs. / Royal Canin Dry Dog Food, Medium Bulldog 24 Formula, / Earth's Best Organic 2nd Fruit and Whole Grain Combo, / See's Candies 1 lb. 8 oz. Peanut Brittle / Hapi Spicy Sriracha Peas, Chili garlic Coated Gren Peas, / Eden Organic Pinto Beans, No Salt Added, 15-Ounce Cans / Crazy Dog Train-Me Training Treats, Bacon / Himalayan Salt Tile 12x8x2 weighing over16 Lbs Gourmet FDA / Green Mountain Columbian Fair Trade Select K-Cups 80 Count / Ateco Marker Style Food Color Kit / Country Choice Organic Irish Steel Cut Oats, 30-OunceAs we proceed desire Christ, we will hit upon more and more that He embodies everything we want or of all time have craved. Those who are sapient enough to turn upside down out the depths of the mammon of God in Christ will discovery out how all obedient things, and even the rapprochement of all bad thing, takes heart in Him.
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              Salehoo Become a eBay Reseller-Drop Ship Salehoo Suppliers        
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              New strategies of sustainable food production in ASEAN        
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    This article is part of our dossier 50 years of ASEAN – Still waiting for social and ecological justice.

    Rising interest in organic produce in ASEAN

    Just as the global health food trend indicates, organic food production is gaining momentum in ASEAN countries. It appears that three factors have given impulse to this upswing: the abandon of traditional farming in favour to industrial farming, deteriorating public health, and new lifestyles including food awareness.

    Organic scenes are interspersed, progressive and yet limited in their outreach. They involve civil society stakeholders and are institutionalised in a range of consumer groups, farmers associations, farmers markets, health shops, delivery schemes and urban gardening groups (cf. Asian Farmers' Association), one objective being  “to strengthen and move forward the existing movement of agroecology in Asia” by achieving environmental and societal well-being (Towards Organic Asia).

    The organic farming business generally accompanies those scenes. Several countries have introduced organic labels (cf. e.g. VECO Vietnam; GOVPH). The governments of individual countries have started to engage in organic farming policies, although with some reluctances.

    Budget is being allocated for organic farming training, workshops and marketing. However, the success of those measures has to be seen with reservation for many hardly sustained (cf. Htoo Thant (b), Bopp 2016: 181).

    ASEAN as a regional community

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was created in 1967 with the idea of physical and symbolic regional unity that would embrace the members' distinct features and ambitions. It eventually widened its commitment to promulgate the ASEAN community in 2015. At the occasion of this years' 50th anniversary, their principles and purposes are newly announced.

    They stress: social responsibility and solidarity among the members in achievement of a “common identity”, “a caring and sharing society” “where the well-being, livelihood, and welfare of the peoples are enhanced” (ASEAN 2017: About Asean).

    Assuming that the improvement of livelihood and societal well-being is directly linked to food and agriculture, it could be argued, the enabling of sustainable and organic farming should be among ASEAN’s ambitions.

    Undernutrition is reported for several ASEAN countries, and most regions deal with malnutrition (cf. ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System: 1, 8). Action therefore needs to be directed at the assurance of food in terms of both quantity and quality.

    The integrated food security framework and action plan as a reaction to the economic crisis of 2007/2008, released in 2009, takes into account the livelihood of farmers, sustainable food production and nutrition-enhancing agriculture. In this context, allusion is made to organic farming as one element within climate smart agriculture and overall food security, albeit not further specified (cf. ibid.).

    Agricultural settings for organic farming

    “Thailand received the World Bank's assistance during the 1960s to strengthen […] conventional mono-crop agriculture. Yields increased at first thanks to the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the fields. […] Indeed, from about the 1970s on, farmers started to shift to new plant varieties, animals and the use of fertilizers and to target on sale in accordance to new agricultural development models, as well as taking first loans for their investment.

    A just established train line connecting Bangkok with Chiang Mai facilitated the spread of agrochemicals to the North [...]. Today's conventional agriculture is not efficient anymore and will soon collapse if the current system continues to exist” (Bopp 2016: 169).

    In fact, this reflects a usual reality in other ASEAN countries (cf. Tadeo and Baladad: 4ff.; Edwards 2013: 74; VECO Vietnam), and yet no consistent common strategies of sustainable food movement has been forged.

    While the shift to alternative strategies urges, many farmers are not easily convinced, as they adjust their farming according to market opportunities and find organic farming challenging. Regardless, some farmers realise the long term benefits of shifting to the organic alternative (cf. Bopp 2016: 266).

    Despite the countries' ability to produce food locally, the share of imported foods is notable. With the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes the opening of the Southeast Asian market encouraging further import, often cheaper, that can impact local farmers' ability to compete on the markets (from expert interview R-4, Bopp 2016). In this sense, organic farming might be an opportunity for farmers for its prospect of consistent prices at local markets and farmers' self-reliance.

    Food and raising health concerns

    The public availability of food is of relevance in the Asian countries for it is common in many places to take one's meals from restaurants or street vendors. Consumers hence depend on the public procurement of foods which particularly concerns the urban consumers who tend to cook less at home.

    In the rural spheres, farmers often maintain chemical free kitchen gardens for their own use, given that they dispose over their farm land; and yet, a widespread reality is, few farmers are able to spare time or space to grow for their home use (cf. Bopp 2016: 125; Tadeo and Baladad: 9).

    The heavy use of agrochemicals in food production severely spoils farmer and consumer health (cf. e.g. Bopp 2016: 185; VECO Vietnam; Somasundram et al. 2016: 1). Organic farming movements all over ASEAN are a response to that, and yet is their importance still slight (cf. Tadeo and Baladad: 9).

    Availability of organic food products typically varies from farmers markets, delivery schemes to supermarket sections. Certification is generally required for supermarkets, however, many consumers and producers prefer the so-called trust-based guarantee. Unless organic products receive certification, they are basically marketed on local or regional platforms. Except for Singapore which is not self-sufficient in terms of foods, pan-ASEAN trade with organic products seems still uncommon.

    A common organic standard for Asian countries already exists. It facilitates equivalence among diverse regional standards, market exchange and global recognition (cf. UNCTAD 2012: 1). Its ASEAN equivalent, the ASOA, has recently been envisaged, including a labelling system (Vientiane Times / ANN 24/05/2016).

    It is supposed to specify methods as typically required in organic production, such as soil fertility, water and crop systems (cf. Association of Southeast Asian Nations: 5 ff). An opposing point of view to that is, systematic ASEAN organic certification tends to upscale the product prices and thus exclude potential consumer groups (from interview R-37, Bopp 2016).

    Status of organic food production in ASEAN countries

    There is agreement on the notion that organic farming shares most of its features with the traditional farming as it used to be practised widely on small-scale farms. There is diversity within ASEAN concerning climate and soils, plant varieties, and cultivation methods but regardless, traditional farming has manifested as an integral characteristic of Southeast Asian agriculture (UNCTAD 2012: 2).

    While the modern understanding of organic farming draws from newly standardised notions in Western countries, traditional cultivation in Southeast Asia is almost inherently low-impact and biodiverse (cf. Bopp 2016: 73; UNCTAD 2012: 2, 3).

    In contrast, countries almost commonly began to adopt modern technologies and synthetic input as part of their food security agendas which initially favoured their entrance into the competitive regional and global markets.

    Over the period of Green Revolution and the continuous advance of agro-chemicals, traditional farming knowledge as a resource progressively faded all over Southeast Asia. Government subsidies of agrochemicals are common reality (cf. Bopp 2016: 97).

    Many alternative food movements in Southeast Asia began by the needs of rural farmers. Decreasing rice prices, extreme climate related events such as typhoons, floods or droughts shifted rural households into widespread poverty; and organic farming was introduced as one mean to relief. It can provide an alternative livelihood strategy for farmers in rural or urban areas, and can beyond provide mitigation for climate change related impact (Tadeo and Baladad: 7).

    New momentum to Thai organic food scenes

    Thailand nowadays has many organic producers measured against its size but they are weakly organised among each other. Contract farming is posing unfair trade conditions between farmers and companies, a reason why some farmers consider the change to organic farming (Bopp 2016: 172).

    Despite recent momentum, organic farming is re-interpretation of traditional practice as typical for small-holders in the entire region. Those self-reliant practices were newly emphasised since the 1980s by NGOs and activists endeavouring the progress of impaired rural livelihoods.

    Traditional Thai agriculture is small-scale after widely organic principles, drawing upon farm internal inputs such as manure, compost, heirloom seeds, and water storage. The currently growing organic scenes — which is urban to a great extent — is hence more akin to reemergence than new trends, and mirror their roots in the lives of rural farmers.

    Within the organic movement, stakeholders are clearly determined by their health concerns—  many experience cases of illness personally or within their family. Beyond, a “great part of demand for organic food originates in Bangkok where urbanites are missing options to grow or to have control over their own food” (Bopp 2016: 91, 92).

    The organic movement hence began to gather urbanites who try to follow alternative lifestyles as much as the megacity allows them, realising simple and eco-friendly living, urban organic gardening and social community.

    Consumer motivation is mostly personal but can transmit solidarity with producers, too. Thus are consumer and producer concerns interconnected, and mutual benefit can happen when the organic farming movement is strengthened.

    Traditional farming versus agro-industries in Myanmar

    Unless compliance to the safe use of synthetic fertilizers in agricultural production is given, demand for organically produced foods will grow for expected health benefits, as for now notably driven by wealthy middle classes, expatriates and foreign tourists (cf. Nyun 2016).

    Similarly to other ASEAN regions, Myanmar farmers deal with little financial stability, confiscation of their home and farm land, labour shortage due to out migration. Their situation forces many to invest in cash crops rather than growing for their own household, although Myanmar agriculture is still largely small-scale.

    Due to previous political reservedness, the organic farming business took much time to develop, but a private sector association (MOAG) was set up in 2009 for organic farming support and certification. Thus, six organic farms had received their label by 2011 (cf. Greennet: Myanmar Organic Agriculture). Promotion of organic farming is a key objective in Myanmar's latest climate-smart agriculture strategy of 2015 but has not yet been endeavoured officially (cf. Hom NH et.al.: 6).

    Priority seems to be given instead on GAP practices, since there is ambition to embark on the ASEAN market. In contrast, organic principles will take much longer to become settled (cf. Htoo Thant (a)), although it was declared, “the GAP system was introduced as an intermediate measure“ towards the entirely pesticide free organic production (Htoo Thant (c)).

    As much as governmental promotion of organic farming is largely lacking in Myanmar, it is NGOs that drive the sustainable scenes for rural development: Metta NGO aims at local communities throughout the country to support self-reliant, eco-friendly local farmers' practices for healthy lifestyles.

    “[E]ndemic poverty, armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies“ shall overcome (Metta Development Foundation 2014: 4). So-called Farmer Field Schools address food security and natural resource management embracing organic farming methods, quality seed saving and soil conservation, and are meant to support eco-friendly local farmers' practices to replenish soil and promote their healthy lifestyles. However, a number of above mentioned challenges persist. (cf. Metta Development Foundation 2014: 8, 11).

    Needs of the urban society in Singapore

    With a high population density and built-up surface, the city state cannot provide vast arable area. By urban extension, farming areas ever diminished. Although some of the local supply – particularly leafy vegetables – is produced in Singapore itself, consumers depend to 90 percent on imported products (cf. Ling Ling 2015).

    Recent acquisitions were about 200 indoor agrotechnology parks in replacement of farm land, using intensive cultivation on soil, or hydroponics. Nonetheless, emphasis on preserving areas for food farming remains: The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority AVA – a Ministry of Agriculture does not exist in Singapore – has just launched tenders for farm land lease: “Local production, in particular of key food items such as vegetables, fish and eggs, remains an important part of Singapore’s food security” but shall “adopt modern practices to be more productive given these land constraints” (Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority Singapore 2017(a) / (b)).

    Inside the city, urban gardening initiatives are presently being established to alter with the cityscape. They demonstrate creative alternatives to the agro-parks that also private persons can simply realise. They run on civil initiate but AVA is also involved by training and demonstration (cf. Ling Ling 2015).

    Several organic shops and ordering schemes currently cater the Singaporean scenes of health conscious people. Those mostly source either from international suppliers or from their own farms that run in the neighbouring countries (The Best Singapore (b)). Products originate in Malaysia, Australia or Thailand – an organic producer in Southern Thailand gets regular orders from Singapore for her chicken eggs; a Northern Thai project for fruit and vegetables (cf. Bopp 2016: 130; 126/127).

    Local organic production has not yet reached sizeable impact; however, several smaller farms in the city's surroundings grow organically, deliver to urban households and invite for educational tours. An established eco-farm supplementing their production by imported goods does without certification as they “have no plans to sell [their] vegetables outside of Singapore” (GreenCircle Eco-Farm 2016). Their concept – “local veggies in local farm to supply for local consumers” has “won the hearts of Singaporeans” (The Best Singapore (a)).

    New strategies and prospects for the organic farming sector

    The cases demonstrate that the shift to organic farming methods is urgent for many small-scale farmers all over ASEAN, and supported by the growing demand of health conscious consumers. The scenes derive from very similar realities and urges.

    Access to safe and nutritious foods should be an asset for citizens, therefore, organic food provision should include non-wealthy consumers. This is one reason for self-certified or trust-based organic trade to be popular among ASEAN: as the certification process is rather costly for producers, it is little suitable for the local markets for adding costs to the final product. Most small-scale organic projects hence go for direct sale schemes which allow fair prices for both consumer and producer.

    Organic farming as done either way, trust-based or certified, seems to provide a new livelihood strategy for farmer households all over ASEAN. As health food demand is likely to grow further, and environmental as well as socio-economic challenges are unlikely to moderate in the near future, farmers may expect stable markets from it, especially when they interact with the committed consumer groups. Health benefits experienced from dropping of chemical inputs will be drawn on the long run, and financial impasse can be resolved.

    When organic farming is attributed a key role in ASEAN’s agriculture, the movement can empower farmers and consumers and align with the international scenes. When done in co-existence with small-holder farming, the common ASEAN organic strategy might bring about opportunity for export.

    However, the intentions of local farmer and consumer groups should not be exposed through global market ambitions. Considering the risk of becoming dependent of bigger international organisations, it is necessary to protect their identity and self-reliance.

     

    REFERENCES

    Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority Singapore (a) (2017): AVA to launch tenders for new agricultural land for food farming. Edited by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority Singapore. Available online at http://www.ava.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/pr---...(11-may).pdf, checked on 27/05/2017.

    Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority Singapore (b) (2017): Farming in Singapore. Available online at http://www.ava.gov.sg/explore-by-sections/farms/land-farms/farming-in-si..., updated on 10/3/2017, checked on 27/05/2017.

    ASEAN 2017 (2017): About Asean. ASEAN 2017. Available online at http://www.asean2017.ph/about-asean/, updated on 2017, checked on 13/05/2017.

    ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS): ASEAN integrated food security (AIFS) framework. 2015-2020. ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS). Available online at https://www.asean-agrifood.org/?wpfb_dl=58, checked on 13/05/2017.

    ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS) (2016): About us. ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS). Available online at https://www.asean-agrifood.org/about-us/, updated on 2016, checked on 13/05/2017.

    Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development: About Us. Available online at http://asianfarmers.org/?page_id=53, checked on 28/05/2017.

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations: About ASEAN . Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Available online at http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/, checked on 13/05/2017.

    Bopp, Judith (2016): New momentum to Bangkok's organic food movement: interspersed scenes led by mindful pioneers. Doctoral. University of Cologne, Cologne. Institute of Geography. Available online at http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6935.

    Edible Garden City: Photos. Edited by Edible Garden City. Available online at http://www.ediblegardencity.com/photos/, checked on 31/05/2017.

    Edwards, Nicola (2013): Values and the Institutionalization of Indonesia's organic agriculture movement. In Michele Ford (Ed.): Social activism in Southeast Asia. New York: Routledge (Routledge contemporary Southeast Asia series, 51), pp. 72–88. Available online at https://books.google.co.in/books?id=xzN3LBq8-k0C&pg=PA76&lpg=PA76&dq=go+..., checked on 05/05/2017.

    GOVPH: National Organic Agriculture Program. Edited by GOVPH. Republic of the Philippines. Available online at http://organic.da.gov.ph/index.php, checked on 25/04/2017.

    Green Net (a): Myanmar Organic Agriculture. Edited by Green Net Cooperative, Earth Net Foundation. Bangkok. Available online at http://www.greennet.or.th/en/article/1168, checked on 17/05/2017.

    GreenCircle Eco-Farm (2016): About. Available online at http://www.greencircle.com.sg/about/, updated on 2016, checked on 28/05/2017.

    Hom NH; Htwe, N. M.; Hein Y; Than SM; Kywe M; Htut, T. (2015): Myanmar. Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy. With assistance of MOAI, CGIAR, CCAFS, IRRI. Edited by Minister's Office. Available online at https://ccafs.cgiar.org/publications/myanmar-climate-smart-agriculture-s..., checked on 17/04/2017.

    Htoo Thant (a) (2016): Ministry pushes to reduce chemical use in crops. In Myanmar Times, 14/10/2016. Available online at http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/nay-pyi-taw/23084-ministr..., checked on 17/04/2017.

    Htoo Thant (b) (2016): Agriculture department to offer GAP training to farmers. In Myanmar Times, 20/12/2016. Available online at http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/24294-agriculture-department-t..., checked on 17/04/2017.

    Htoo Thant (c) (2017): Mango farming gets GAP stamp. In Myanmar Times, 26/01/2017. Available online at www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/24708-mango-farming-gets-gap-stamp.html, checked on 17/04/2017.

    Ling Ling, Tan (Ed.) (2015): Urban Agriculture in Singapore. Regional Consultation on “Strengthening Food and Nutrition Security of the Urban People through Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture”. Bangkok, 14-15/07. Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority Singapore.

    Metta Development Foundation (2014): Regeneration Initiative. 01 April 2013 - 31 March 2014. Annual Report 2013-2014. Metta Development Foundation. Available online at http://www.metta-myanmar.org/publications/Annual%20Report%202013-2014.pdf, checked on 17/04/2017.

    Nyun, Ruth (2016): Organic Farming vs. Commercial Farming in Myanmar. In Myanmar Business Today 4, 28/06/2016. Available online at http://www.mmbiztoday.com/articles/organic-farming-vs-commercial-farming..., checked on 26/04/2017.

    Somasundram, Chandran; Razali, Zuliana; Santhirasegaram, Vicknesha (2016): A Review on Organic Food Production in Malaysia. In Horticulturae 2 (3), p. 12. DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae2030012.

    Tadeo, S. Jaime L.; Baladad, Raphael M.: Organic farming at the center stage. A Primer on Sustainable Rice Based Farming Systems in the Philippines. Available online at https://viacampesina.org/downloads/pdf/en/LVC-PARAGOS-Organic-Book.pdf, checked on 30/04/2017.

    The Best Singapore (a) (2016): Green circle eco farm. Available online at http://www.thebestsingapore.com/best-place/green-circle-eco-farm/, checked on 28/05/2017.

    The Best Singapore (b) (2016): Zenxin agriorganic food. Available online at http://www.thebestsingapore.com/best-place/zenxin-agriorganic-food/, checked on 28/05/2017.

    Towards Organic Asia: About us. Edited by Towards Organic Asia. Available online at https://towardsorganicasiath.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/about-us/, checked on 25/04/2017.

    UNCTAD; FAO; IFOAM (2012): GOMA - Global Organic Market Access. Asia Regional Organic Standard (AROS). Edited by UNCTAD, FAO, IFOAM. Available online at http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/an765e/an765e00.pdf, checked on 30/04/2017.

    VECO Vietnam: Discover our projects. Safe and organic vegetables in Vietnam. Edited by Vredeseilanden. Vredeseilanden. Available online at https://vietnam.veco-ngo.org/en, checked on 24/04/2017.

    Vientiane Times / ANN (2016): ASEAN members seek to improve agricultural standards. In The Jakarta Post, 5/24/2016. Available online at http://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2016/05/24/asean-members-seek-to-im..., checked on 21/05/2017.


              Onsdagsdebatten: Fair trade eller Fairy tale?        
    I morgen er det onsdagsdebatt pÃ¥ Studentersamfundet pÃ¥ Chateau Neuf, om et tema som er viktig for Changemaker; Fairtrade! ”Fairtrade” eller “rettferdig handel” blir mer og mer populært, ogsÃ¥ utenfor aktivistmiljøene. Er dette den nye formen for avlat, eller en mÃ¥te for vanlige mennesker Ã¥ faktisk gjøre verden til et bedre sted for flere? I […]
              Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Kidushin Chapter 1        
    (2a)
    How is a woman acquired?
    When one of three things has transpired—
    Give money, a writ,
    Or just go and do "it"
    ("It" is sex. Should that be your desire.)

    (2a)
    You can go buy a woman with cash
    (Buy a few if you've got a big stash.)
    We know this from the field
    Bought by Avram (whose shield
    Was God). This purchase should not be rash!

    (2b)
    Is "Derech" a masculine noun?
    Or feminine? Cases abound.
    On matters semantic
    The Talmud's pedantic.
    "No way!" "Way!" This word gets around.

    (2b)
    The way of a man is to court
    A woman. He does this for sport.
    If you lose something dear
    You go hunt far and near
    It does not hunt for you. Men, cavort!

    (3b)
    The money that's paid for a wife
    Does not go to the girl. She'd cause strife
    If she kept all the bucks
    It's for Dad. (Yes, it sucks—
    He gets all, though she gives her whole life.)

    (5b)
    Can a woman say, "I hereby make
    You my husband." That is, can she take
    Him instead of vice versa
    Say, give him her purse. A
    Fair trade. But the deal would not take.

    (6a)
    If a man says, “Behold you are mine,”
    To a woman he happens to find.
    Does that mean they are married?
    Though no ring was carried,
    No canopy, contract or wine?

    (7a)
    A woman would rather be wed
    Than lie all alone in her bed.
    Better two bods than one—
    Is it really more fun?
    (She could buy a warm blanket instead?)

    (7a)
    "Half of you is now wed unto me"
    Says the groom. Bu can such a thing be?
    No, a woman's not fit
    To be midway down split
    If she weds, she weds full-bodily!

    (7b)
    "I will give you a penny right now
    For your daughter. And also your cow."
    Is the coin for the chick
    Or for both? It's a trick--
    Half a penny is never allowed.

    (8b)
    "With this coin I thee wed unto me"
    She then tosses it into the sea.
    The coin's gone forever
    Is their bond now severed?
    "I did it to test him!" (her plea).

    (8b)
    "Be my wife with this loaf of fresh bread."
    A dog's chasing her! Soon she'll be dead!
    She throws bread to the beast
    It slows down for the feast
    She escapes. Is she single, or wed?

    (9a)
    A man's picking dates from a tree.
    She says, "Throw down two dates please for me"
    He said, "If I so do
    Will you then be my true
    Wife?" "Throw fruit, please" she cries, eagerly.

    (9b)
    "Say, how much would you give for your son?"
    "I have two dollars. I'd give you one."
    "And how much for your gal?"
    "That's about right, my pal."
    They are wed! Raise a glass, everyone!

    (9b)
    An engaged woman waits to be wed
    Ten men come and they rape her instead
    When they get in her sack
    They go in from the back.
    Never mind! Stone them 'til they are dead.

    (10a)
    A girl's spouse-to-be starts penetrating
    She accepts Kiddushin from one waiting
    Patiently by her side.
    Now we need to decide:
    During sex, do we say they're still dating?

    (10b)
    Said Ben Bag Bag, "I don't understand—
    All the sages say you're a smart man
    That you know Torah's rooms--
    Yet it's you who assumes
    Eating truma – engaged women can."

    (11a)
    You discover a blemish. You say:
    "I will not keep you, wife. Go away!"
    If the servant's thus marred
    You'd still keep her. Not hard
    To see why. Wives are for work and play.

    (11a)
    If a woman takes as Kiddushin
    Coins at night, when not much can be seen.
    If she thinks it's a pruta
    Then morning comes: "Shoot! A
    Half pruta? That guy is obscene!"

    (12a)
    "You're my wife with this fine myrtle mat."
    Cries the woman, "You think I'm worth that?"
    He says, "Look deep inside
    There are four coins that hide
    There. Take those." Does the whole deal fall flat?

    (13a)
    There once was a woman who sold
    Lovely ribbons. There came a man bold
    He stole quite a few
    She cried, "Give them back, you!"
    He said, "Marry me." How do we hold?

    (14a)
    Chalitzah is done with a shoe
    Take it off him, then throw it. You do
    It with sneaker and sandal
    But don't cause a scandal
    With footwear he can't fit into.

    (15a)
    A slave may not wish for a wife
    But his master may say, "Make new life!"
    Then he must procreate
    With a Canaanite date
    Lest the master accuse him of strife.

    (16a)
    A Canaanite slave lost his arm
    While plowing his master's great farm
    The slave then goes free
    Yes, indubitably--
    It's the price he gets paid for his harm.

    (16b)
    When a Canaanite slave girl goes free
    After six years laboriously
    Spent, she gets some nice cash
    At her big send-off bash
    Hey girl, pocket the dough and then flee!

    (17a)
    If your slave boy falls sick all six years
    (First a headache, then tonsils, then ears.)
    Does he make up the time
    Well, as Rav Sheshet chimes
    If he sewed, he is not in arrears.

    (18b)
    A master may say to his slave-
    Girl, "Fantastic are you! How I rave!
    I shall make you all mine
    In my bed, you'll fit fine."
    Is she wed or engaged to the knave?

    (19a)
    Can a master say, "Servant girl, you
    Are not quite right for me, it is true.
    But I'll give you my son,
    He's a minor, but hon'
    He'll be yours someday." Can he thus do?

    (20a)
    All your slaves must be treated with care
    With good mattress, good wine, and good fare.
    Say, if you eat fine bread
    Don't give stale cakes instead
    To him. Ye who buy slaves should beware!

    (21b)
    If a priest fighting battles espies
    A beautiful maid with his eyes.
    Do we call it a vice
    If he sleeps with her twice
    What’s the law about priest-maiden ties?

    (22a)
    If a slave does not want to go free
    He must say twice “This life is for me.”
    If his Master’s held dear
    Then you nail in his ear
    It seems strange, yes, that such things could be.

    (22b)
    A convert was ready to die
    His servant stood very close by.
    “Will you bring me my shoes?”
    This was Mar Zutra’s ruse
    To inherit the servant. How sly!

    (23b)
    Can a slave or a woman acquire
    A thing that they need, or desire?
    Rabbi Meir said no,
    They can own things, although
    It all really belongs to the sire. 

    (24b)
    A chicken inserted its head
    To a glass jar and screamed ‘til ‘twas red
    And the jar promptly shattered
    The juice inside splattered
    The bird owner pays, Rami said.

    (25a)
    Rebbe’s servant girl dunked and came up
    With a bone in her teeth from her sup-
    per. Then must she repeat
    Her dunk from head to feet?
    Must her tongue get wet? Rebbe said yup.

    (25b)
    Rabbi Shimon dissented and taught
    (Though the claim that he made was quite fraught)
    If an animal’s gifted
    It first must be lifted
    Then how is an elephant bought?

    (26b)
    Rabban Gamliel rode on a ship
    He was gone for quite long on this trip.
    He announced: “I will hand
    Over tithes atop land.”
    Can the land part instead have been skipped?

    (27b)
    Can you swear on two things in one oath
    Is a double swear something we loath?
    Amen then amen
    Said the Sotah again
    Swearing not just on one thing, but both.

    (28a)
    Thank you for buying my wheat
    But I fear you’ll have nothing to eat
    It burned in a fire
    I fear it’s quite dire--
    You paid for a worthless receipt.

    (29a)
    Father must teach Son a trade
    Something that Son can do to get paid.
    If he doesn’t; good grief
    Son will become a thief—
    When he needs food, he’ll swoop down and raid.

    (30a)
    Rabbi Hiya was very impressed
    For he saw that Ben Levi, half-dressed
    Took his son to go study
    Before anybody
    Awoke. Because it’s God’s behest.

    (31a)
    Don’t sin when in private—God’s chair
    Is the sky. His legs hang down from there.
    As God’s legs are quite long,
    If you do something wrong
    You bump into His feet. So beware.

    (32b)
    If you see someone white-haired, stand up
    We respect anyone so grown-up.
    You can’t try to flee
    Or pretend you don’t see
    Him. And pour him some wine in his cup. 

    (33b)
    If a Torah scroll passes, you stand
    (Some will reach out to kiss with their hand.)
    If you’re busy with study
    You need stand for nobody
    Although your respect he commands.

    (34a)
    Some mitzvoth can be done any time
    It does not matter when the clock chimes.
    Hang a mezuzah on your door
    Return coins from the floor
    Send the mother bird off ere you climb.

    (35a)
    Are women commanded by God
    To be fruitful? At first you might nod
    God tells Adam and Eve
    To have babes. But reprieve
    Is granted to Eve. Yes, it’s odd. 

    (36a)
    Are we always considered God’s sons?
    Are we all the time His chosen ones?
    Yehuda says no,
    It depends if you go
    In His ways. If so, God loves us tons.

    (37a)
    Some mitzvoth depend on the land
    (Which is Israel, you must understand.)
    Such as: You cannot eat
    From the new crop of wheat
    “Til the Omer is waved with the hand.

    (38a)
    When Moses died, manna stopped falling
    Did the people starve while they were bawling?
    They ate manna from jugs
    (Hopefully free of bugs)
    Then made matzah, while Egypt recalling.

    (39b)
    Those who honor their fathers live long
    But what of that boy, young and strong
    Dad said “Bring chicks to me.”
    So he climbed up the tree
    And then fell to his death. What went wrong?

    (40a)
    For sinners, we cut them some slack
    We say: Go away dressed all in black
    Do your sin while you hide
    And although we will chide
    You, if you repent, you’re welcome back.

    (40b)
    Is it better to do or to learn?
    For which action is more merit earned?
    Tarfon said: You should do
    Said the sages: Not true!
    You should learn how to do, we discern.




              Î¤Î± σκοτεινά μυστικά των παγκόσμιων κολοσσών        
    Goldman Sachs , Victoria’s Secret, Apple: iPhones, Google, IBM, Backpage
    Ναι αυτοί κυβερνούν τον πλανήτη. Αυτοί και όχι μόνο αυτοί- αποφασίζουν για την ζωή σου, την επιβίωση, εσένα και των παιδιών σου. Η Γερμανική ABWHΕR, οι Ναΐτες, οι Βαυαροί Βασιλείς, ο Φον Κανάρης, η Νέα Τάξη, οι Ρότσιλντ, το Federal Reserve Banking System, οι 300 οικογένειες! Μήπως είμαστε τα πιόνια σε μια παγκόσμια σκακιέρα, στα χέρια άψυχων όντων και μυστικών εταιριών;

    Διάβασε μια ενδιαφέρουσα ανάλυση των δυο βασικών φατριών, οι οποίες μάχονται για την κυριαρχία στον πλανήτη. Φυσικά η κατάσταση είναι σημαντικά πιο περίπλοκη. Εμπλέκονται όντα μη ανθρώπινου DNA, πολλών φυλών, πολυδιαστατικά και υβριδικά ανθρώπινα όντα χωρίς ψυχή. Επίσης εμπλέκεται κάθε είδος, σοβαρής και μη, μυστικής εταιρίας. Μην ξεχνάμε και τις μυστικές υπηρεσίες κάθε είδους, εξωτικές τεχνολογίες, υπόγειες βάσεις και ό,τι άλλο χρειάζεται για μια συνωμοσιολογική σούπα γκουρμέ…
    Ας δούμε τι λέει σε άρθρο της η Κορίνα Σαμάρκου και ΣΚΕΨΟΥ, αν αυτά βλέπουν το φως της δημοσιότητας, αυτά που δεν θα τα μάθεις ποτέ, πόσο χειρότερα μπορεί να είναι;
    «Η Goldman Sachs κάνει θεάρεστο έργο», είχε πει το 2009 ο διευθύνων σύμβουλός της, Λόιντ Μπλάνκφειν. Κανείς δεν τον είχε πιστέψει, βέβαια, αφού το κάθε άλλο παρά χριστιανικό προφίλ της τράπεζας ήταν γνωστό σε όλους, ακόμα και πριν αυτή βάλει το χέρι της στην ευρωπαϊκή κρίση χρέους και στα όσα έφεραν την ελληνική οικονομία στη σημερινή της κατάσταση. Η Goldman έχει χαρακτηριστεί σαν ένα «μεγάλο καλαμάρι-βρικόλακας, που έχει τυλιχτεί γύρω από την ανθρωπότητα και χώνει διαρκώς τα πλοκάμια της, ρουφώντας το αίμα, όπου μυριστεί χρήμα». Και όμως. Ακόμα και για τους πιο κυνικούς της Wall Street, που πιστεύουν ότι έχουν πια ακούσει τα πάντα, η αποκάλυψη ότι η τράπεζα-κολοσσός είναι μέτοχος κυκλώματος εμπορίας λευκής σαρκός, ήταν μάλλον σοκαριστική.
    Το πώς η «τράπεζα του Θεού» κατέληξε να ελέγχει ποσοστό του site που δημοσιεύει 7 στις 10 διαφημίσεις πορνείας στις ΗΠΑ, είναι μια μεγάλη ιστορία. Αλλά είναι και ο νέος πονοκέφαλος για την ομάδα που διαχειρίζεται τη δημόσια εικόνα της Goldman Sachs, η οποία τους τελευταίους μήνες τρέχει και δεν φτάνει, αντιμετωπίζοντας το ένα σκάνδαλο μετά το άλλο.
    Όλα ξεκίνησαν το 2000, όταν ένα από τα private equity funds της τράπεζας επένδυσε 30 εκατ. δολάρια στην Village Voice Media. Επρόκειτο για μια μικροσκοπική και μάλλον αθώα επένδυση από έναν κολοσσό, που διατηρεί επενδυτικά συμφέροντα σε όλο τον κόσμο. Όμως, όταν το 2005 η Village Voice αποφάσισε να διευρύνει την παρουσία της, αποκτώντας το site Backpage.com, η Goldman βρέθηκε μπλεγμένη σε αυτό που χαρακτηρίστηκε ως «το μεγαλύτερο φόρουμ σεξουαλικής διακίνησης ανήλικων κοριτσιών στις ΗΠΑ».
    Το Backpage αποτελεί σήμερα τη μεγαλύτερη δύναμη στην αμερικανική αγορά των ροζ διαφημίσεων. Τα έσοδα από τις διαφημίσεις αυτές μόνο για τις πέντε μεγαλύτερες ιστοσελίδες του είδους, αγγίζουν τα 22 εκατ. δολάρια ετησίως. Αφότου το γνωστό site μικρών αγγελιών Craig’s List αποφάσισε να απαγορεύσει τις ροζ αγγελίες, το Backpage έσπευσε να εκμεταλλευτεί την κατάσταση. Σήμερα, ευθύνεται για το 70% των αγγελιών αυτού του τύπου που δημοσιεύονται στις ΗΠΑ. Μάλιστα, η εισαγγελία της Νέας Υόρκης διαπίστωσε ότι δέχεται ακόμα και αγγελίες για ανήλικα κορίτσια, τα οποία έχουν πέσει θύματα εκμετάλλευσης από κυκλώματα μαστροπείας.
    «Για περισσότερα από έξι χρόνια, η Goldman κατείχε σημαντικό ποσοστό σε μία εταιρεία γνωστή για τους δεσμούς της με τη διακίνηση λευκής σαρκός, ενώ κατείχε και θέση στο διοικητικό της συμβούλιο για τέσσερα από αυτά τα χρόνια», αποκάλυψαν πριν από λίγες ημέρες οι New York Times.
    Η ίδια η τράπεζα, πάντως, δηλώνει αθώα. Όπως έσπευσαν να ξεκαθαρίσουν οι εκπρόσωποί της, η Village Voice Media δεν είχε την παραμικρή σχέση με το Backpage το 2000, όταν έγινε η αρχική επένδυση. Αλλά και αργότερα, η διοίκηση της Goldman Sachs δεν είχε καμία επιρροή πάνω στη στρατηγική της εταιρείας, δηλώνουν, έστω και εάν στέλεχος της τράπεζας κατείχε για χρόνια μία θέση στο δ.σ. της.
    Για να αποφύγει τα χειρότερα, η Goldman έσπευσε να ξεφορτωθεί όπως-όπως το 16% της Village Voice Media που κατείχε. Η ανακοίνωση για την πώληση του ποσοστού, που εκδόθηκε στα τέλη του Μαρτίου, ανέφερε ότι οι σχετικές διαπραγματεύσεις είχαν ξεκινήσει από το 2010, όταν η τράπεζα άρχισε να νιώθει άβολα με την κατεύθυνση της εταιρείας.
    Ασφαλώς, η Goldman Sachs δεν αποτελεί την εξαίρεση σε έναν κόσμο αγγελικά πλασμένων επιχειρήσεων. Οι μεγαλύτερες εταιρείες του πλανήτη κρύβουν στα ντουλάπια τους σκελετούς, που συχνά-πυκνά βγαίνουν στο φως της δημοσιότητας.
    Google. Ο Μεγάλος αδερφός σε βλέπει
    Η διάσημη μηχανή αναζήτησης της Google αποτελεί πια αναπόσπαστο μέρος της καθημερινότητας εκατοντάδων εκατομμυρίων ανά τον πλανήτη. Πρόκειται για μια συνήθεια τόσο αυτονόητη για όλους μας, που κατέληξε να γίνει ακόμα και ρήμα. «Γκούγκλαρέ το!», λέμε κάθε φορά που αναζητούμε οποιαδήποτε πληροφορία. Αυτό που δεν γνωρίζουμε, είναι ότι κάθε φορά που χρησιμοποιούμε τη μηχανή αναζήτησης της Google, η εταιρεία αυτή μας «φακελώνει» με τρόπο που θυμίζει επικίνδυνα το «Μεγάλο Αδελφό».
    Εν όψει των μεγάλων αλλαγών που έκανε από την 1η Μαρτίου, η Google είχε αρχίσει εδώ και καιρό να ζητά από όλους τους χρήστες των δημοφιλών υπηρεσιών της να δηλώσουν εάν αποδέχονται τη νέα πολιτική απορρήτου της. Σχεδόν όλοι πάτησαν μηχανικά το κουμπί της αποδοχής, αφού ελάχιστοι ήταν εκείνοι που μπήκαν στον κόπο να διαβάσουν το νομικό κείμενο των 2.200 λέξεων. Εάν ο καθένας από εμάς διάβαζε όλες τις πολιτικές απορρήτου που συναντά στις ιστοσελίδες που χρησιμοποιεί μέσα σε ένα χρόνο, θα έπρεπε να αφιερώσει στο βαρετό αυτό έργο 25 ολόκληρες μέρες!
    Όμως αυτή η πολιτική απορρήτου της Google ήταν πολύ πιο σημαντική από ό,τι αντιλαμβάνεται ο μέσος «πελάτης» της εταιρείας, που είναι γνωστή για το ανεπίσημο σύνθημά της «Don’t be evil» («μην είσαι κακός»). Ουσιαστικά, αυτό που έκανε η εταιρεία ήταν να ενοποιήσει τις πολιτικές απορρήτου όλων των sites που λειτουργούν υπό την ομπρέλα της. Από την αλλαγή επηρεάζονται περισσότερες από 60 ιστοσελίδες, όπως η αναζήτηση της Google, το gmail, το Google Maps, το site κοινωνικής δικτύωσης Google+, το YouTube, το Picasa και το Android mobile. Πρακτικά, όποια πληροφορία δίνουμε σε καθένα από αυτά τα sites, κοινοποιείται σε όλα τα υπόλοιπα.
    Αυτό σημαίνει ότι η επιλογή των βίντεο που βλέπουμε στο YouTube μπορεί να επηρεάσει τα αποτελέσματα που θα πάρουμε όταν κάνουμε μια αναζήτηση μέσω του Google. Σύντομα, η Google, η εταιρεία που δεν κάνει κακό, θα αποκτήσει μια τεράστια βάση δεδομένων με τις πιο προσωπικές μας πληροφορίες, από τις πολιτικές μας προτιμήσεις έως τις αρρώστιες για τις οποίες μπορεί να συμβουλευτήκαμε το ίντερνετ. Και το χειρότερο; Η εταιρεία δεν δίνει καμία επιλογή στο χρήστη να αποφύγει το ηλεκτρονικό του φακέλωμα. Μοναδική άμυνα που μπορεί κάποιος να έχει είναι να… κόψει τη συνήθεια του «γκουγκλαρίσματος».
    IBM: Ο συνεργάτης του Χίτλερ
    Πέρυσι το καλοκαίρι, η IBM γιόρτασε τα 100 χρόνια ζωής της. Πρόκειται για μια αξιοπερίεργη περίπτωση εταιρείας πληροφορικής που ζούσε από την εποχή που η τεχνολογία της πληροφορικής ήταν μάλλον… πρωτόγονη. Πραγματικά, στα πρώτα χρόνια της ζωής της, η IBM παρήγαγε ζυγαριές για κρέατα, μηχανές άλεσης του καφέ και ρολόγια που μετρούσαν τις βάρδιες στα εργοστάσια. Τα χρόνια εκείνα, η επιτυχία της στηρίχθηκε σε μια σπουδαία τεχνολογική εφεύρεση: Τις διάτρητες κάρτες.
    Αυτές οι διάτρητες κάρτες έπαιξαν το δικό τους ρόλο στο πιο σκοτεινό κεφάλαιο όχι μόνο στην ιστορία της IBM, αλλά ενδεχομένως και στην παγκόσμια ιστορία. Η γερμανική θυγατρική της αμερικανικής εταιρείας προμήθευσε τον Χίτλερ με την τεχνολογία που συνετέλεσε αποφασιστικά στην τραγωδία του Ολοκαυτώματος.
    Ουσιαστικά, οι πρωτόγονοι «υπολογιστές» της εποχής, τους οποίους είχε δημιουργήσει η IBM, χρησιμοποιούσαν τις διάτρητες κάρτες για να φτιάχνουν τεράστιες βάσεις δεδομένων. Πάνω σε αυτές τις μηχανές στηρίχθηκε το σύστημα απογραφής του ναζιστικού καθεστώτος. Σε αυτές τις βάσεις δεδομένων είχαν καταχωρηθεί τα στοιχεία εκατομμυρίων αιχμαλώτων, με βάση το θρήσκευμα, τον τόπο κράτησής τους, ακόμα και τον τρόπο με τον οποίον θα εκτελούνταν.
    Πιστεύοντας ότι το διασυνοριακό εμπόριο συμβάλλει στην παγκόσμια ειρήνη, ο τότε επικεφαλής της IBM, Τόμας Γουάτσον, είχε συμφωνήσει να πουλήσει τα προϊόντα της εταιρείας στη Ναζιστική Γερμανία. Όταν πια κατάλαβε το λάθος του, ήταν αργά. Η IBM ουδέποτε απολογήθηκε επισήμως για τη συμβολή της στο Ολοκαύτωμα. Προφανώς η στρατηγική της είναι να παραμένει σιωπηλή, με την ελπίδα ότι το ζήτημα κάποτε θα ξεχαστεί.
    terrapapers.com_Victoria-Secret
    Victoria’s Secret: Οι Άγγελοι εκμεταλλεύονται μικρά παιδιά
    Οι επιδείξεις μόδας της Victoria’s Secret είναι πάντα ένα υπέρλαμπρο γεγονός. Τα φλας παίρνουν φωτιά μόλις οι «Άγγελοι» του παγκόσμιου κυρίαρχου στην αγορά των εσωρούχων πατήσουν το πόδι τους στην πασαρέλα. Αυτό που η εταιρεία φροντίζει να κρατά μακριά από τους προβολείς και τα φώτα, είναι το σκοτεινό μυστικό γύρω από τον τρόπο με τον οποίο παράγει το προϊόν που την έκανε γνωστή σε όλο τον κόσμο.
    «Κατασκευασμένο με 20% οργανικά νήματα από τη Μπουργκίνα Φάσο», γράφουν κάποια από τα εσώρουχα της Victoria’s Secret. Πρόκειται για νήματα που υποτίθεται ότι παράγονται χωρίς χημικά και φυτοφάρμακα, ενώ φέρουν και τη σφραγίδα του fair trade. Δηλαδή, θεωρητικά, εγγυώνται ότι κατά την παραγωγή και πώληση της πρώτης ύλης εφαρμόστηκαν κοινωνικά και περιβαλλοντικά στάνταρ που προάγουν τη βιώσιμη ανάπτυξη στις χώρες του τρίτου κόσμου.
    Η αλήθεια, όπως την αποκάλυψε εκτενής έρευνα του Bloomberg είναι πολύ διαφορετική. Πίσω από κάθε εσώρουχο που φορά στην πασαρέλα ένας από τους Αγγέλους της Victoria’s Secret, κρύβονται εκατοντάδες παιδιά όπως η 12χρονη Κλαρίς, στη Μπουργκίνα Φάσο, που αναγκάζονται να δουλεύουν για ατέλειωτες ώρες και υπό πολύ σκληρές συνθήκες, στις φυτείες του βαμβακιού.
    Η παιδική εργασία δεν αποτελεί, βέβαια, μια νέα πληγή για τη Μπουργκίνα Φάσο. Όμως, οι εταιρείες, όπως η Victoria
              2015 Canaan Fair Trade Harvest looks to be a good one!        
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    NASFT Announces Winners of Inaugural Leadership Awards (via PR Newswire) Awards to be Presented at the Winter Fancy Food Show Download image NEW YORK, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT) is […]
              The Shortwave Report Archive        

    IndyRadio has streamed The Shortwave Report for 5 years. Here we have the archives of program summaries since April, 2012. 4 previous shows play in the embedded player at the BOTTOM of our weekly page. (this will be back soon.

    The future of radio comes not from the Tower of Corporate Media but through WiFi and cellphone it now belongs to us.

     Our newest streams are linked at: http://rd0.org  use the PLAY buttons

    LIKE US on Facebook: http://facebook.com/IndyRadio  (more likely to be found on twitter as @iRadioTube )

    Programs notes (below) are from Dan Roberts at  http://www.outfarpress.com/shortwave.shtml

    PROGRAM NOTES 10feb17

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

    From GERMANY   President Trump wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill, which is very distressing to the European community. There are numerous parallels between Donald Trump and French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen- she is echoing Trump's strategy of promising to bring back jobs and the steel industry.

    From RUSSIA   George Galloway interviewed well-known British radio commentator James Whale. They discussed Donald Trump, not about his policies, but about his personality and phenomenon. They talk about the end of the professional politician, the similarities to the Brexit vote, and the danger of the rise of a dictator. They say that the Constitution and political systems are broken, and that the right-wing is rising out of that ruin. They agree that populism and nationalism are serious threats to democracy.

    From CUBA   Following the settlement with FARC rebels, the government of Colombia and the ELN rebel army are moving forward on peace talks. Germany is going to deport newly arrived refugees to Greece. More than 180,000 migrants arrived by boat to Italy in 2016, an 18% increase from 2015. Then a Viewpoint on former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who is under pressure to abandon his plan to run again for president next year. The Iranian President Rouhani has called on members of the non-aligned movement for action against unilateralism and extremism in the world.

    From JAPAN  The Japanese Transport Minister responded to Donald Trump's remarks that Japanese trade policies are unfair. Defense authorities are proceeding with offshore work on a US military base in Okinawa despite protests including a flotilla of canoes. A new survey of damage and radioactivity in the Fukushima reactors has been suspended because of failure with robotic cameras. Japanese nuclear regulators reported that 10 of the non-operational nuclear power plants have not completed work to prevent massive inflows of rainwater.

    "Critical thinking is compatible with patriotism. Amnesia is not a requirement for patriotism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think, the soul of America dies with it."
    --Edward R Murrow

    PROGRAM NOTES 03feb17

    This weeks show features stories from SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

    From RUSSIA  On Sophie Shevardnadze's show, Sophie and Co, her guest was Ralph Nader, American activist and 6 time candidate for US president. Sophie asks him why there were such large protests even before Trump had done anything in office. Ralph thinks that Trump will do most of the things he promised during his campaign, but does not think that the protests will evolve into an all out rebellion. They discuss Trump's war with the media, and Ralph's earlier prediction that there will be a fast move to impeachment. He criticizes the 2-party system and the Electoral College.

    From CUBA  Mexico has demanded that Israeli President Netanyahu apologize for praising Trump's wall plans. Lawmakers in Minnesota are pushing an anti-protest bill allowing cities to sue protestors for policing demonstrations. Then a Viewpoint on the daily protests in Argentina against President Macri and his neo-liberal policies- the country has experienced 50% inflation and widespread firings in the public sector.

    From JAPAN  President Trump lashed out at Japan and China, saying that they devalue their currencies- the Japanese Prime Minister Abe rejected the criticism saying that the policy is aimed at achieving a 2% inflation target. The operators of the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant believes it may have located molten fuel inside one of the reactors, six years after the accident. Honda and General Motors will jointly produce fuel cell systems for the next generation of eco-friendly vehicles. The Israeli government approved plans for another 3000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. 1.7 million British citizens signed a petition opposing a state visit by President Trump, which Parliament will debate on February 20. UN Secretary-General Guterres has called on the international community to unite in supporting refugees. World leaders have reacted to the entry restrictions on refugees and others imposed by President Trump.

    "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference."
    --Ralph Nader

    PROGRAM NOTES 27jan17

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  An Insight on the inauguration speech of Donald Trump, with emphasis on his terminology and why the speech led to protests around the world. The new UN Secretary-General Guterres called on governments and corporations to invest in sustainable forms of development. The Israeli government has approved a plan to build 2500 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, and 560 housing units in east Jerusalem despite international condemnation of building in occupied territories.

    From GERMANY  Donald Trump's chief of staff contradicted the media on the size of the crowd at the inauguration leading one of his counselors to defend the different reports as "alternative facts." Trump's first day in office was met by a wave of protests in the US and around the world. Trump signed an executive order to build the so-called wall along the Mexican border saying that US taxpayers will be reimbursed by Mexico- comments on the reaction in Mexico by the director of the Americas program of the Center for International Policy in Mexico City.

    From CUBA  In Mexico widespread protests continue against the government decision to raise fuel prices by more than 20%. In Colombia FARC has announced that their new political party will be running in May. Trump has reinstated the global gag rule that bans US funding for any international health care organization that performs abortions or even provides information about abortions.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes produced a program on whistleblowers in the US. Before leaving office Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning who had turned over a huge amount of secret military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks. Edward Snowden was not on Obama's list of pardons despite the White House receiving over a million petitions for his pardon, including one from Daniel Ellsberg. Comparisons to the outcome of the Pentagon Papers are numerous, here are some statements Ellsberg has made about Manning and Snowden.

    "We were young, we were foolish, we were arrogant, but we were right." --Daniel Ellsberg

    PROGRAM NOTES 20jan17

    This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes compiled Spanish press reviews and editorials on President-elect Trump's first press conference. 4000 US soldiers , tanks, and other military equipment have deployed to Poland, the largest military expansion along Russian borders since the end of the Cold War- the US defense budget for eastern Europe has quadrupled this year under the Obama administration. President-elect Trump said he would propose to end sanctions against Russia in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow.

    From RUSSIA  A series of press reviews. First, British politician Jeremy Corbyn is accused of being a Russian collaborator for questioning the NATO buildup on the Russian border. There was a rumor in the Sunday Times that Putin and Trump will meet in Iceland shortly after the inauguration which was denied. British selected PM Theresa May announced a schedule for implementing Brexit, but it is dependent on Northern Ireland having an assembly in place- and a leader of the Real IRA was executed on the street in Cork last month.

    From CUBA  This month the US government fined a US non-profit organization, the Alliance For Responsible Policy, for arranged trips to Cuba for US citizens in 2010 and 2011. A Viewpoint on Obama's pardon of Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar Lopez Rivera- an interesting history. Numerous Americans have been calling on Obama to pardon Native American leader Leonard Peltier. Obama did commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the longest imprisoned whistleblower in American history.

    From JAPAN  Russian President Putin said he has no reason to criticize or defend Donald Trump because he has never even met him and has no idea what policies he will implement. Japanese companies are having to rethink their business strategies with Europe in light of Brexit. Japanese electronics firm Toshiba is in a financial crisis because of huge losses in its nuclear power business in the US. International delegates studying the Israel/ Palestine conflict say a solution recognizing two states is the only way to achieve peace. French President Hollande says his country will continue military activity in the African continent, leaving 4000 troops in Mali.

    "Think of the things killing us as a nation: narcotic drugs, brainless competition, dishonesty, greed, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and- the worst pornography of all- lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy. All of these are addictions of dependent personalities. That is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce. A large fraction of our total economy has grown up around providing service and counseling to inadequate people, and inadequate people are the main product of government compulsion schools." --John Taylor Gatto

    PROGRAM NOTES 13jan17

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  Japanese executives are worried about their businesses in Mexico if President-elect Trump conducts a review of NAFTA. Two aging nuclear reactors in New York are to be shut down by 2021. Taiwan passed a law to shut down all nuclear power generation by 2025 in favor of renewable sources. A US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at Iranian military boats in the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

    From RUSSIA  George Galloway interviewed Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London. They discussed the political climate in the US and UK, why election polls are increasingly inaccurate, and the return of Tony Blair to the political scene. They describe Jeremy Corbyn, the presumed Labor candidate for Prime Minister, as the UK's Bernie Sanders. They also speculate on the future of enacting Brexit and the timing of a new PM election.

    From CUBA  In Mexico thousands of people continue to take to the streets to protest the government's decision to raise fuel prices by 20%. Then a Viewpoint on the opposition party in the Venezuelan Parliament which is working to remove the elected President Maduro, which many are describing as an attempted coup. Syrian President Assad says his armed forces will fight until all of Syria is free from extremists groups, and that he would step down if a public referendum directed him to. The Pentagon has admitted that Special Forces made a raid in eastern Syria last weekend.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on plans for peace talks on the war on Syria between Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. She aired President Assad's remarks on the bombing of Aleppo. Iran met with major powers to discuss the 2015 nuclear deal which Trump said he will dismantle. Israeli forces demolished homes and the only school in a village in the occupied West Bank. Alison then aired the New Years statement by the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his hopes for peace.

    "Here is a conclusion I've come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone really knew something about socialism, or that someone actually knew how to build socialism."
    --Fidel Castro

    PROGRAM NOTES 06jan17

    This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From SPAIN  Islamic State or Daesh claimed responsibility for the mass shooting on New Years in Istanbul- Turkey's President Erdogan lists many terrorists and says that Western goverments support them, which the US denies. There are protests in Mexico over steep increase in gasoline prices. Then a press review including the controversial Israeli settlement expansions on Palestinian territory which were condemned recently at the UN.

    From CUBA  Cuban radio spent the beginning of this week reviewing the top international stories of 2016, here are three of them- the Parliamentary coup against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, outside support for attempts to overthrow President Maduro of Venezuela, and reports that 2016 was the hottest year on record while President-elect Trump intends to cut funding for climate change programs. Antonio Guterres, the new Secretary General of the UN, warned that the global body faces very challenging times.

    From JAPAN  A US consulting firm says the biggest risk facing the world this year is the US led by Donald Trump. A Japanese academic has questioned the wisdom of attempting to decontaminating the Fukushima region, where $25 billion have already been spent, given that the majority of former residents do not want to return to the area. Car makers are ramping up development of all-electric vehicles.

    From RUSSIA  George Galloway interviewed Kim Sharif a British lawyer of Yemeni origin. The British government just admitted selling banned cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia which are being deployed in their war on Yemen. They discuss the history and current situation in Yemen which Kim describes as genocide on the part of the Saudis. She also points out how Yemen has become a dumping and breeding ground for ISIL or Daesh fighters, with the support of Britain and other western powers.

    "We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn." --Mary Catherine Bateson

    PROGRAM NOTES 30dec16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN   Japanese Prime Minister Abe visited Pearl harbor with US President Obama on the 75th anniversary year of the infamous attack- here is an Insight discussing the reconciliation between the nations, which included Obama's visit to Hiroshima in May- there is much speculation as to how the relationship will change under President Trump. China joined in the conversation saying that Japan should reflect deeper on its past history of invasion of many places in Asia including China. Despite strong local opposition, work has restarted to relocate a US military base in Okinawa. Japanese electronic firm Toshiba has posted a huge loss from its nuclear power operations in the US under its subsidiary company Westinghouse, partly from losses incurred at the nuclear reactors being built in Georgia and South Carolina. A private fund in Japan is providing financial assistance to young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Japanese government consultants are suggesting that high-level nuclear waste should be stored 5000 meters below the earth surface rather than the 300 meter burial as currently planned.

    From CUBA  This week RHC aired specials on their top stories of 2016. First a report on President Obama's historic visit to Cuba in March, the first US president to set foot in Cuba since 1928. In October at the UN members passed a resolution urging the US to end the crippling economic blockade against Cuba, though the sanctions remain in force today. At the age of 90, the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro died in November.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports that much discussion over immigrants is taking place in Europe following a Tunisian man who drove a truck into Christmas shoppers in Germany. Alison then reads from articles written by Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk on how the wars in Syria and Iraq continue to fuel these attacks, like the ones in Belgium and Paris. Fisk says that ISIL uses the attacks as a strategy to provoke attacks on muslims and encourage the far-right sentiments in Europe. Then reports on the wars in Syria, including the discovery of mass graves in rebel held areas of Aleppo, the rebels claim that they have not been defeated, and the transition of so-called moderate rebels into the ranks of Daesh.

    "You are about to be told one more time that you are America's most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources?! Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don't ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They're going to strip mine your soul. They're going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist, because the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked!" --Utah Phillips, to youth

    PROGRAM NOTES 23dec16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPUTNIK RADIO, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From CUBA  At the WTO Cuba argued that the US economic blockade remains practically unchanged and is the main obstacle to the economic development of the country. Ousted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called acting President Temer illegitimate and that the takeover was a coup. The EU and the Arab League have denounced Israel's illegal settlement activities, demanding the land grab in Palestine cease.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi interviewed members of black American musical band called The Last Poets. They talk about whether Obama changed the situation for black Americans, what a Trump presidency might mean, and the idea of pardoning Mumia abu-Jamal.

    From JAPAN  The Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by an off-duty Turkish policeman, in response to Russian military actions in Aleppo. Following a deadly truck attack in Berlin, many European nations have stepped up security forces to stop terror attacks. The Foreign Ministers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have met to strategize an end to the war in Syria- the US was not invited to the talks.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on the evacuations in Aleppo which were occasionally besieged by sabotage. The UN voted to send monitors to observe the evacuation. The Syrian ambassador to the UN spoke about government support for the evacuees, criticizing the so-called rebels groups and their foreign supporters, and media distortions. Patrick Cockburn wrote a piece for the British newspaper the Independent, entitled "There Is More Propaganda Than News Coming Out Of Aleppo This Week."

    "Users of cliches frequently have more sinister intentions beyond laziness and conventional thinking. Relabelling events often entails subtle changes of meaning. War produces many euphemisms, downplaying or giving verbal respectability to savagery and slaughter."
    --Patrick Cockburn

    PROGRAM NOTES 16dec16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From JAPAN  The UN Conference on Nuclear Disarmament opened this week in Nagasaki with participants discussing their efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Antonio Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was sworn in as the new Secretary-General of the UN, replacing Ban ki-Moon. Japan has postponed a summit with China and South Korea after the South Korean parliament voted to impeach the president. Israel received the first of 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes covered the evacuation and fighting in rebel held parts of eastern Aleppo. Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett spoke at the UN about the ceasefire attempts, the actual will of the Syrian people, and accused the mainstream media of lying about what is happening in Aleppo. She questions the credibility of the White Helmet organization and the British Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. She says that the agenda of the western media is regime change, despite Syrians overwhelming support for Assad

    From CUBA  The EU and Cuba signed a deal to normalize political and economic relations. The Brazilian Senate passed the controversial amendment to freeze public spending to the inflation rate for the next 20 years. The Obama administration released a CIA report on Operation Condor, the 1970s covert efforts to control Latin American governments.

    From RUSSIA  George Galloway interviewed Nomi Prins author of "All The Presidents Bankers." She says that the global financial crisis has not ended but merely been covered up. She says that the reason for skyrocketing debt and zero interest rates is to support a flawed and criminal financial system. The banks have gotten bigger and paid $160 billion in fines for criminal actions without anyone facing trial.

    "We must reconstitute the natural world as the true terrain of politics. We must draw our standards from our natural world, heedless of ridicule, and reaffirm its denied validity. We must honor with the humility of the wise the bounds of that natural world and the mystery which lies beyond them, admitting that there is something in the order of being which evidently exceeds all our competence." --Vaclav Havel

    PROGRAM NOTES 09dec16

    This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPUTNIK RADIO, and RADIO HAVANA CUBA.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on two significant elections in Europe this past week. The first was in Italy, where Prime Minister Matteo Renzi saw a referendum that would change the constitution rejected by voters- following that he resigned as he had promised. In Austria Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen won the presidency, giving some relief to those worried about a complete far-right takeover of European leadership. Eurozone finance ministers are discussing Greek debt and plans to add even more austerity measures, including privatizing ports and historic sites. France has elections coming up in May, President Hollande has announced he will not seek re-election, and several right wing candidates are cuing for the leadership.

    From JAPAN  Japanese and US defense chiefs have reaffirmed a desire to stay aligned despite Trump's campaign threats of changing the military relationship between the two countries. Trump reported that Japanese telecom giant SoftBank group will invest $50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the US over the next 4 years. The foreign ministers of NATO and the EU agreed to boost defense cooperation over concerns over Trump's stance opposing their military buildups.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi's guest on Going Underground was filmmaker John Pilger whose latest release is "The Coming War On China." They discuss the 400 US military bases surrounding China as a provocative blockade building steadily for the past 6 years. In the process both China and the US have changed their nuclear weapons policies from low-alert to high-alert. Western media has avoided reporting on the largest accumulation of US air and naval forces since the second world war. Pilger describes the threats from US military bases in the Marshall Islands and Okinawa.

    From CUBA  Arrests have been made in Venezuela for those accused of hacking and shutting down the banking system last week. The UN Environment program posthumously awarded assassinated Honduran activist Berta Caceres its Champion Of The Earth award. There were large protests in Brazil against plans to shut down corruption investigations. The UN General Assembly again passed a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from Syria's Golan Heights, seized in 1967.

    "We journalists have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else's country. That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home. In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us. Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power."
    --John Pilger

     

    PROGRAM NOTES 02dec16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPUTNIK RADIO, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  South Korean opposition parties are pushing to impeach President Park Geun-hye despite her offer to resign before her term expires. The Japanese government plans to scrap the controversial fast-breeder nuclear reactor. Swiss voters rejected a referendum to speed up the elimination of nuclear power plants. The US military has announced that their attack on Syrian forces that ended a truce between Russian and so-called rebel forces was an unintentional human error, but will not apologize for the action.

    From CUBA  The death of Fidel Castro was a primary topic in most international news sources this week. Numerous world leaders spoke at the tributes to him at ceremonies in Havana, here are summaries of what President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. Then a Viewpoint on the key role Fidel played in exposing the crippling effect that foreign debt has had on third-world countries, leading to impoverishment and resource exploitation.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi interviewed Rob Miller, director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign. He says that the demonization of Castro was led by the US media and US government propaganda. Billions of dollars of fines have been levied against nations and corporations for trading with Cuba, and this blockade has continued under President Obama. Miller points out that American media accused Castro of torturing Cubans while the US tortures prisoners in Guantanamo Bay prison, which Cuba considers an illegal occupation of land. He says that other Latin American nations are also targets of US media disinformation.

    From SPAIN  President-elect Trump called Castro "a brutal dictator." Then Spanish press reviews covering the death of Fidel Castro, the Catalan budget which includes funding for a referendum to separate from Spain, and changes in the educational reform and opposition to the recent citizen security law, popularly known as "the gag law."

    "As I have said before, the ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry but they cannot kill ignorance, illnesses, poverty or hunger." --Fidel Castro, 2002

    PROGRAM NOTES 25nov16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From CUBA  The governments of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have joined forces to protect their citizens who may face deportation from the US after Trump is inaugurated. Despite a state of emergency, protests took place in Paris opposing the election of Trump and the fear of rising fascist candidates in upcoming elections in Europe. In Brazil trade unions have called for protests and a general strike in opposition to the neo-liberal agenda of President Temer. The Colombian President Santos has condemned escalating violence against human rights defenders.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on Parliament repealing controversial Spanish educational reforms that included standardized tests. Spanish arms exports have increased 400% since 2006 with much of it going to Saudi Arabia. In Turkey the government has fired another 15,000 civil servants and media outlets.

    From JAPAN  Japanese Prime Minister Abe says the TPP free trade pact will be meaningless without the US involvement. At the devastated nuclear power plant in Fukushima the removal of spent nuclear fuel scheduled for 2018 has been delayed again. A cooling system at the Fukushima nuke failed temporarily following a powerful earthquake offshore. There is a move to impeach President Park Geun-hye in South Korea.

    From RUSSIA  On Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi got a press review from Ben Chacko, editor of the UK's Morning Star. The Sunday Time reported that Tony Blair may return to frontline politics, The Guardian accused Venezuelan President Maduro of being a dictator, and Global Research on the calls for a clamp down on so-called "fake news."

    "The state can't give you freedom, and the state can't take it away. You're born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free." --Utah Phillips

    PROGRAM NOTES 18nov16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From JAPAN  The Japanese Prime Minister Abe sent a special advisor to speak with a Republican senator about Japanese government worries over President-elect Trump's policies. Major emitters of greenhouse gases have called on Trump to honor the Paris agreement on climate change. The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica remains at the same level as the average for the past decade.

    From CUBA  As President Obama tours Europe for the last time, massive protests and riots broke out in Greece. Obama asked Congress for increased war funding for fighting ISIL and Afghanistan, just days after the UN announced it is investigating US airstrikes that killed 32 mostly civilians in Afghanistan. The International Criminal Court announced that the US military and CIA may be guilty of carrying out war crimes in Afghanistan. The US has criticized a new measure by the Israeli regime to legalize illegal settlements built on Palestinian land.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on the new Colombian peace deal, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and the UN conference on Climate Change being held in Morocco. In Colombia, after the peace accord referendum failed, the opposing sides met and created a new proposal to end the 55 year long war. Julian Assange faced questioning by Swedish prosecutors at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Chelsea Manning has asked President Obama to commute her remaining sentence to the time she has already served. The UN Climate Change talks in Morocco are focusing on implementing agreements reached in Paris in light of ever increasing global temperatures.

    From RUSSIA  On Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi interviewed Dr.Jill Stein, the Green presidential candidate. She disputes blame for the Trump victory, and points out why she thinks Clinton was the wrong candidate for the Democrats. She speaks about the effect Trump's climate change denial might have on the environment, but points out that he did not start bad climate policies, they have been underway for decades. She mentions recent local environmental victories and calls for a unified struggle against assaults on the climate. She says it is important to remember the Richard Nixon administration and how that drove the people to create the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and womens rights, and led to the end of the Vietnam War despite the spurious leaders in Washington.

    "You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana are Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists."
    --Richard Nixon, 1971

    PROGRAM NOTES 11nov16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPUTNIK RADIO, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  At the Climate Change Conference in Morocco, the UN weather agency said that 2015 was the hottest year on record, emphasizing the need to immediately implement the Paris Accords. Before the election Donald Trump made threats about US military support of Japan, now the State Department is trying to dispel fears of major policy changes. People in Japan are worried about the nuclear weapon policy Trump described in his campaign. Japan, like the rest of the international press, reported on the large number of anti-Trump protests taking place in the US.

    From CUBA  A review of international responses to the election of Donald Trump.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi spoke with legendary filmmaker and documentarian John Pilger on the outcome of the US elections. Pilger says the result did not surprise him. He said the liberal class wanted to maintain a corrupt war-mongering status quo, and the majority of voters sought change. He compares the shock surprise to the Brexit vote and talks about who funded each candidate. He says journalism has become an echo chamber for the establishment, and denies that Russia and Assange helped Trump to victory. He talks about the neo-conservative influence on Hillary, and the silence of the media on the expanding US involvement in wars around the world.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes covered some Spanish press and the Podemos political party responses to the unexpected Trump victory. Then she reports on Daniel Ortega's election victory in Nicaragua.

    "Vietnam was as much a laboratory experiment as a war."
    --John Pilger

    PROGRAM NOTES 04nov16

    This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on the protests in Madrid following the congressional vote allowing Mariano Rajoy to continue as Prime Minister of Spain. NATO defense ministers put into effect the biggest military buildup on Russia's borders since the Cold War. An article was published questioning whether Russia's foreign bases really a threat. At the UN demands were made that all fighting stop in Syria.

    From CUBA  Two reports on the political turmoil in Venezuela, where right-wing opposition forces who want to impeach President Maduro called off a protest march and trial. Former Uruguayan President Mujica questioned the neo-liberal policies of the new Argentinian President Marci and the global growth of right-wing politicians. The recently installed government in Brazil says that the expansion of government funded social services caused the country's economic problems- and that the 20 year freeze on public spending will fix the situation.

    From JAPAN  Japan will sign a deal on nuclear power technology with India, the first such deal with a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Chinese President met the Taiwan opposition leader in Beijing where they agreed on the "one China" policy- this is in contrast to the current pro-independence President of Taiwan. The Chinese Premier met with Japanese business leaders and discussed restoring bilateral ties. Japan is protesting some new Chinese gas field development in the South China Sea.

    From RUSSIA  Sophie Shevarnadze interviewed Dr David Shambaugh director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University. They discussed the legacy of Obama's policies with China and Asia, and the tensions over who has rights in the South China Sea. They also covered the changing relationship between the US and the Philippines, and the Rand Corporation which released a study called "War With China: Plans for a military conflict with China."

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." --Noam Chomsky

    PROGRAM NOTES 28oct16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  50 non-nuclear countries at the UN General Assembly submitted a resolution calling for a treaty to ban all nuclear weapons- the US urged all NATO members to oppose the resolution, which as of press time had not come up for a vote. Philippine President Duterte spent several days in Japan after his visit to China. Japanese Prime Minister Abe made agreements with Duterte on economic and security matters, notably the conflicts in the South China Sea. Duterte wants all US troops out of the Philippines within 2 years, and warned Japan of an impending confrontation between the US and China in the South China Sea. NATO members are discussing a perceived threat of Russian military buildup adjacent to countries where NATO is increasing its military presence. Reporters Without Borders say that media freedom in Okinawa is under threat, with police removing those reporting on protests at US military bases in the prefecture- they also found US military surveillance of Japanese citizens, NGOs, and journalists. Officials have directed the burning of low-level radioactive waste starting in January to see if it is safe.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi talks about the pesticide risks to bees in Europe, the UK has banned some but not all pesticides thought to contribute to colony collapse- the German company Bayer produces most of these chemicals and is buying up Monsanto which is developing genetically-modified bees.

    From CUBA  For the first time the US abstained from voting on a UN resolution calling for the lifting of the economic blockade on Cuba- the blockade has seen a few adjustments but overall remains in complete effect. Venezuelan President Maduro has accused the opposition of attempting a parliamentary coup not unlike what has happened in Brazil. Opposition to the Presidential takeover in Brazil has led to the occupation of 1000 schools in the country.

    From SPAIN  The Socialists abstained from voting in Parliament, thereby allowing Mariano Rajoy to continue as Prime Minister and avoiding a third round of elections. Catalonia will hold a binding referendum on independence in 2017, while the federal government annulled the regional ban on bull fighting. In light of calls for a no-fly zone in Syria, Alison recalls the no-fly zone in Libya which led to the death of Gaddafi and, five years later, a failed state. The World Meteorological Organization reported dire levels of gases and carbon in the atmosphere, but pushed alternative energy now as a means of stopping an even more alarming future.

    "Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state." --Noam Chomsky

    PROGRAM NOTES 21oct16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From GERMANY  German President Merkel revealed plans to more than double military spending in the coming year. Russian President Putin denied that Moscow was using cyber attacks to interfere with US presidential elections. Russia and Syria began a ceasefire in eastern Aleppo to help civilians flee the opposition held area. Leaders of Ukraine and Russia agreed to draw up a new roadmap to implement the current ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The Iraqi government announced the start of an offensive to retake the city of Mosul. The EU has postponed a final decision on a free trade deal with Canada.

    From SPAIN  In this week's Panorama Alison Hughes reports on the still undecided leader of the government in Spain, and that Artur Mas, former president of the Catalan, faces a trial for staging a symbolic independence vote in November 2014. She then reports on the siege of Mosul by Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish soldiers with US advisers- some reports say that thousands of Daesh fighters were allowed to leave Mosul and travel to Syria in the lead up to the battle.

    From CUBA  On Monday there were large demonstrations across Cuba to protest the continuation of most of the US economic blockade. In Honduras a former Deputy Minister has been arrested in connection with the murder of environmentalist Berta Caceres. Protests continue in Brazil against the neo-liberal policies being imposed by the post-coup President Temer including a 20 year freeze on public spending. A UN agency has adopted a resolution reaffirming the right of Palestinians to the al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem. The New York Times reported that the Obama administration has intensified a clandestine war in Somalia with hundreds of US special operations forces and drone strikes.

    From RUSSIA  On his show Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi interviewed US filmmaker Oliver Stone. Oliver's latest film, Snowden, could not find a distributor in the UK. He discusses press freedom in the UK, Pentagon and CIA influence in American media, US support of terrorists, and the current anti-Russian attitude in American politics and media.

    "My father was a Republican and he hated Roosevelt. And that's sort of been the battle of my life, I think. You have to understand I grew up a Republican conservative. I hated Castro. And I put my money where my mouth was because I went to war, but I understood pretty quickly that this was another place, another culture and we would never fit in there." --Oliver Stone

    PROGRAM NOTES 14oct16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPUTNIK RADIO.

    From JAPAN  The US and South Korea began another round of military drills along the Korean peninsula. North Korea considered the drills a direct provocation. A Chinese fishing boat sank a South Korean coast guard boat in a dispute over territorial waters. Russia and Turkey made a deal to complete a gas pipeline between the countries for distribution to Europe, and accelerated plans to jointly build a nuclear power plant in southern Turkey- they also agreed to get humanitarian aid to the Syrian city of Aleppo.

    From SPAIN  In this week's Panorama, Alison Hughes reported on the two rival resolutions on Syria at the UN Security Council, both were defeated. A leaked UN report revealed that the US and EU sanctions against Syria are causing the greatest suffering among ordinary Syrians and preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. Saudi airstrikes on a funeral procession in Yemen killed at least 155 people- the US approved another $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, adding to the $22 billion in weapon sales to the Saudis since March 2015. The US blames Houthi rebels for firing missiles at a US ship in waters off the coast- as of press time, the US is firing missiles into Yemen.

    From CUBA  In Colombia President Santos and FARC rebels have pledged to continue talks to complete their peace agreement despite losing support in a very close popular referendum. 20 Latin American countries met in Ecuador to work toward a legal international treaty that would hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses. Answering a call from the School of the Americas Watch, hundreds of activists met on both sides of the US/Mexico border to protest a US military station and in support of migrant rights.

    From RUSSIA  On his show Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi interviewed US activist Medea Benjamin. She spoke about the Israeli seizure in international waters of a boat carrying women activists, including a Nobel peace laureate, that was heading to Gaza. Congress overrode Obama's veto on the right of 911 families to sue Saudi Arabia, which may lead to lawsuits against the US government for human rights violations.

    "No act is of itself either good or bad. Only its place in the order of things makes it good or bad." --Milan Kundera

    PROGRAM NOTES 07oct16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, SPUTNIK RADIO, and RADIO HAVANA CUBA.

    From GERMANY  The UN announced that the Paris Climate Change accord had been ratified and will go into effect on November 4th. On Monday Germany celebrated its 26th anniversary of unity but there were protests against Chancellor Merkel and refugees. Hungarians voted to not accept refugees and in Poland there were protests against a proposed ban on abortions. British appointed PM Theresa May expressed her conditions for Brexit. The Turkish parliament extended the state of emergency, while a German court dropped the case against a comedian who ridiculed President Erdogan. The Syrian government demanded that rebels leave Aleppo followed by the US suspending negotiations with Russia on reviving the gutted ceasefire in Syria.

    From SPAIN  One section of what Alison Hughes presented on Panorama this week was Princeton Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen spoke on the new cold war between Russia and the US. The end of the ceasefire in Syria, which collapsed with the US bombing of Syrian troops, indicates that either the US did not want a ceasefire or that President Obama is not in control of war policy in Washington. If the US and Russia had successfully ended the fighting in Syria, the cold war would be null, and there would be no justification for the NATO buildup on the Russian border.

    From RUSSIA  Three clips from Afshin Rattansi's program called Going Underground. It has been revealed that the Pentagon has paid up to $500 million to a public relations firm to create fake news reports and propaganda to entrap potential jihadists. The use of predator drones continues to escalate with increased terror threats to civilians in the countries deploying them. The BBC and American media continue promoting the cold war between the US and Russia.

    From CUBA  In Honduras, the case files on the murder of environmentalist Berta Caceres have been stolen further discrediting the investigation. The failed peace referendum in Colombia has left FARC rebels saying they will fight no more, while President Santos has announced that the ceasefire ends October 31. Wikileaks will soon release 1 million documents involving 3 different nations that will influence the US election, but that there is no intention to harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    "O take heart, my brothers. Even now, with every leader & every resource & every strategy of every nation on Earth arrayed against Her - Even now, O even now, my brothers, Life is in no danger of losing the argument! - For after all, (as will be shown) She has only to change the subject." --Kenneth Patchen, "What Shall We Do Without Us?"

    PROGRAM NOTES 30sep16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

    From GERMANY  Germany and India have committed to comply with the Paris Agreement On Climate Change. Two reports on the Russian/Syrian attacks in Aleppo on rebel forces which the US and UK said were war crimes. The US will send 600 more troops to Iraq, Turkey is extending the state of emergency, and Greece cut pensions in new austerity measures. Two mosques were fire-bombed by German xenophobes in Dresden, and French President Hollande promised to dismantle the refugee camp in Calais by the end of the year.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi interviewed Dr. Suliman Alshahmy, the founder of the Libyan stock market. The discuss NATO attacks on Libya five years ago, which were said to save civilians caught in a civil war in Benghazi. Suliman describes how the standard of living has been destroyed in the richest country in Africa, and how Gaddafi's plan to unite African currencies may have been a reason for the devastation. Suliman responds to Hillary Clinton's pride in killing Gaddafi, and the EU returning refugees from many countries to Libya.

    From CUBA  On Monday the Colombian government and FARC rebels signed a historic peace deal after 4 years of negotiations in Havana. Bolivian President Evo Morales criticized the US Presidential debate as a show, saying that elected Presidents are ruled by bankers and businessmen. The Nicaraguan Vice President blasted a US congressional bill to prevent her country from getting international loans. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry rebuked statements by the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, on Russian and Syrian attacks on rebels in Aleppo.

    From JAPAN  Japan continues to call at the UN for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the US will sustain nuclear deterrence with a $108 billion over 5 years- President Obama has approved a nuclear weapon modernization plan estimated at $1 trillion while seeking a world free of nuclear weapons. Members of the IAEA have criticized North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs. The US congress voted to override Obama's veto of a bill allowing families of victims of the 911 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia- the Saudis threatened to sell off $750 billion worth of US bonds if the bill becomes law.

    "I won't be a party to a conspiracy to mobilize the Arabs against the Persians. Only the forces of colonialism benefit from such a conspiracy. I won't be a party to a conspiracy that splits Islam into two - Shiite Islam and Sunni Islam - mobilizing Sunni Islam against Shiite Islam." --Muammar Gaddafi, 2007

    PROGRAM NOTES 23sep16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPUTNIK RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban ki Moon is confident that the Paris agreement on global warming will go into effect soon. The Foreign Ministers of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India are calling for democratic reforms in the UN Security Council. 27% of the Japanese population is now over 65 years of age. Japan is considering permanently decommissioning its current fast-breeder nuclear reactor. China and Russian navies performed a joint landing drill in the disputed South China Sea.

    From RUSSIA  Afshin Rattansi interviewed retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell. He discusses the future of warfare with Hillary Clinton as President. He goes on to say that terrorism is not a new threat, and that abandoning rapprochement with Russia is dangerous and provocative. He also criticizes the so-called velvet revolutions as morphed CIA interventions. He praises Edward Snowden and says it is unsafe for him to ever return to the US.

    From CUBA  Ecuadorian President Correa warned about the existence of a new Operation Condor being perpetrated against progressive governments in Latin America. When Brazilian President Temer spoke at the UN General Assembly the delegations of 6 Latin American nations walked out in protest. Amnesty International says a US made bomb was used in an attack on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen, while 4 US Senators are pushing to ban weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is accused of using internationally banned white phosphorous in its war on Yemen.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on migration, including the revelation that 4 war-torn countries have each produced more than one million refugees. While the US media focused all attention on pressure cooker bombs in New York city, the US led coalition bombed Syrian troops thus effectively ending a fragile ceasefire in Syria, saying it was an accident. Russia demanded an emergency UN Security Council meeting which was ridiculed by US ambassador Samantha Power.

    "My party (Republican), unfortunately, is the bastion of those people, not all of them, but most of them, who are still basing their decision on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that's despicable."
    --Colonel (ret) Lawrence Wilkerson 2012

    PROGRAM NOTES 16sep16

    This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reported on 911, pointing out that Congress passed a law allowing the families of the victims of the attack to sue Saudi Arabia (though Obama says he will veto the bill). Then the words of Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress who opposed giving the President authorization to use all force necessary against anyone deemed responsible for the attack. The war in Syria is a result of that authorization, called external interference by an international panel studying that war, with regime change and weapons profits as the goals.

    From GERMANY  As of Wednesday night the US and Russia agreed that the ceasefire in Syria was holding. The head of the European Commission said insists that Brexit will not sink the EU which is moving forward with plans to create a combined military force. Germany closed its embassy in Turkey to avoid attacks, while China and Russia are engaged in large scale war games in the South China Sea. Philippine President Duderte wants US forces out of the south of his country. North Korea did an underground nuclear bomb test and the US flew nuclear capable bombers near the North Korean border. There is a new NATO mission in the Mediterranean Sea, and 800,000 Catalans took to the streets to demand independence.

    From CUBA  Obama extended for a year trade restrictions with Cuba. Venezuela is hosting the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, with 120 nations it is the second largest international body on the planet. The former Attorney General of Brazil says he was removed in order to sink the ongoing corruption investigation, while the current legislature is considering privatizing oil and other national resources. The ACLU and activists have launched a campaign to lobby Obama to pardon government whistleblower Edward Snowden before a new president is sworn in.

    From JAPAN  The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution barring nuclear weapon explosion testing, the US is still hanging up the non-proliferation treaty, and North Korea had a rally celebrating their fifth nuclear weapon test explosion.

    "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. People won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things. And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. The NSA will say that because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
    --Edward Snowden

    PROGRAM NOTES 09sep16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, SPUTNIK RADIO, and RADIO HAVANA CUBA.

    From JAPAN  After the G20 summit Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke together for the first time in a year, saying they would try to improve ties. The New York Times reported that Obama is likely to abandon his proposal to ban first-strike use of nuclear weapons. Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye agreed on the importance of deploying the advanced missile system despite Chinese opposition

    From GERMANY  The German government has been criticizing the Turkish crackdown on journalists, and this increased with the Turkish seizure of DW footage this week. There was a new wave of Turkish tanks, ground forces and artillery into Syria, and Erdogan wants a no-fly zone in northern Syria. Turkish police continue to arrest more citizens suspected of involvement in the attempted coup in July. According to the UN, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted worldwide, with 28 million driven from their homes because of war.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on the migration situation in Europe. The instability in Libya has made it a hub for human trafficking mafias. The French town of Calais has seen local protests about the migrant camp, demanding it be torn down. Recent German elections saw the rise of the new far-right anti-immigrant political party, called Alternative For Germany, or AFD, which many see as the beginning of the end for Angela Merkel's rule.

    From RUSSIA  George Galloway and Gayatri interviewed Dr. Juan Grigera from University College London on the shifting politics in Latin America. The leftist movement, named the pink tide, which had grown to almost every nation in South America is rapidly vanishing. Why is this happening and what does it portend?

    From CUBA  Brazilians opposing the ouster of Dilma Rousseff have been facing military police repression. After the G20 summit in China Obama visited Laos where he offered some restoration funds but no apology for the years of intense bombing. Thousands staged a demonstration in the Hague against the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    "No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches." --Milan Kundera

     

    PROGRAM NOTES 02sep16

    This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, and SPUTNIK RADIO

    From GERMANY  The German Vice-Chancellor says that there will be no fair trade agreement between the EU and the US, though possibly one with Canada. Central European nations are urging a European army. Chancellor Merkel says that Germany can cope with the refugee crisis, while the Italian Coast Guard rescued 10,000 migrants from the Mediterranean in just 2 days. The European Commission ordered Ireland to recover 13 Billion Euros in back taxes from Apple computers. Venezuela is accusing the US and political opposition of plotting a coup against President Maduro.

    From CUBA  France also announced opposition to the free trade proposal with the US, the TTIP, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. On Monday tens of thousands of Brazilians protested the impeachment hearing for Dilma Rousseff. Before the Brazilian senate voted on impeachment, acting President Temer cancelled a popular and effective literacy program in the country. Then on Wednesday the Senate voted to impeach suspended President Dilma Rousseff, which many describe as a farce and Parliamentary coup.

    From JAPAN  Following her impeachment, Dilma Rousseff said she will be back in political office soon. Following a recent court ruling against anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd America, the Australian branch announced a new high speed patrol boat to block Japanese whaling in the Antarctic Sea. There is an international conference on the fate of blue fin tuna which are approaching critically short stocks in the Pacific Ocean- environmental groups want a total ban rather than establishing quotas. An aide to Obama reports that he will be pushing to complete the TPP free trade agreement before he leaves office since Trump and Clinton have both stated that they oppose the pact.

    From SPAIN  Alison Hughes reports on the accord reached last week in Colombia, ending a war between government forces and FARC rebels. Some 220,000 people died in fighting during the last 50 years. FARC stopped fighting last summer, wants recognition as a political party, and reintegration into society. There will be a referendum in October, but some oppose any deal, including former President Uribe who is accused of creating right-wing death squads.

    From RUSSIA  George Galloway and Gayatri interviewed Dr RS Karim, co-founder of a relief agency in Yemen. They discuss the under-reported Saudi led war on Yemen, which is having its people and infrastructure devastated by an enormous wealth of weapons sold by the US, the UK, and France.

    "Why do they say I hate my country? And what does that even mean? Am I supposed to hate my town, am I supposed to hate all English people, or my government? And if I do hate my government, does that mean I hate my country? It's a democratic duty to criticize the government."
    --Ken Loach, director "The Wind That Shakes The Barley"

    PROGRAM NOTES 26aug16

    This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO.

    From JAPAN  North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine into the Sea of Japan in protest of US/South Korean military exercises. Japanese self-defense forces have begun tr

              Sin City - Hartigan 18"        
    Sin City - Hartigan 18" Фигурка Хартиган (Брюс Уиллис) из фильма Город Грехов Фигурка Хартигана говорит несколько фраз из фильма, активизация звука происходит с помощью специальной кнопки: — Skinny little Nancy Callahan. She grew up. She filled out. — I take away his weapon. Both of them. — Lead the creep outside, get that Beretta away from him somehow and kill him. — An old man dies. A young woman lives. A fair trade. Размер: 45 см Материал: пластик
              Alter Eco Dark Coconut Toffee        

    Alter Eco Dark Coconut Toffee

    Happy New Year! Let me start off 2015 by posting a review for a brand that I have been meaning to blog about for ages: Alter Eco. I have draft reviews for 2 other Alter Eco bars (aside from this one) that I haven't gotten around to posting, so it's about time!

    Alter Eco has just about every fair trade/organic certification I've ever seen, but that's all I'll say on that. What I am qualified to comment on is the fact that every darn bar of theirs that I've tried is pretty delicious. This is the Dark Coconut Toffee bar, but I hope to post about the Dark Quinoa and Dark Salted Brown Butter bars soon, too. If I can find my notes, I'll add the Dark Velvet, too!

    Alter Eco Dark Coconut Toffee

    Full disclosure: in my notes, I treated this like a milk chocolate bar. Oops. But I definitely prefer this sort of barely dark bar to milk chocolate, and I wouldn't want it to be any "lighter." The bar smelled like cocoa and nuts rather than coconut. The chocolate was slightly bitter and not sticky, nor overly sweet. Much like the aroma, the coconut flavor was subtle, so I wouldn't write it off if you’re lukewarm on coconut. Like the chocolate, the toffee was bittersweet, especially at first, giving way to a caramel flavor.

    Combined, the flavors reminded me of the Samoa Girl Scout cookies, only not as sweet. The bar had a crunchy texture that was reminiscent of sugar, especially the kind with larger crystals. The flavors and textures were well-balanced, but I wouldn't call this bar a new favorite. As I stated above, Alter Eco makes some excellent chocolate bars, and this one was good – just not top tier.

    B+

    Alter Eco Foods website


              Theo Fig Fennel & Almond        

    Fig Fennel & Almond

    I love when people bring me chocolate! This bar came from my Aunt on a trip to a cute shopping district in northern Michigan, though the company is located in Seattle. I've tried a few Theo bars in the past and remembered their flair for unique combinations.

    This bar is no exception; fig and fennel are not your typical candy bar ingredients. Along with using unique ingredients, Theo's website also notes their commitment to organic, Fair Trade, and Fair for Life products. "Fair for Life" was a new moniker for me, but it's a certification that appears to encompass fair trade standards and "social accountability."

    Fig Fennel & Almond

    I could smell and taste the fennel immediately, and it gave the bar a rather savory flavor. The fig came in later as the chocolate melted, and it complemented the fruitiness of the chocolate. The almonds added a nice, roasty flavor, but it didn't come through in every bite.

    The bar was a complex mix of flavors and textures. The fig pieces were chewy, almost like raisins. The almonds, and maybe even the fennel added a bit of crunch. The cocoa content (70%) was just about perfect for me, and it broke well and melted cleanly. Definitely unique, but not a bar I'd reach for again.

    B+

    Theo Chocolate website


              mongolian on "Town Talk: Ten Thousand Villages to open non-profit gift shop downtown; Sixth and Iowa intersection upgrades on drawing board; a crazy day in store for downtown"         

    There is a fair trade gift shop in Lawrence now, Kretyen next to Paisanos near 25th and Iowa.

    Posted by mongolian on April 2 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)


              AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield VPN sharing data and information to third parties        
    You think your VPN is safe? Sorry to say but not all VPNs are created equal and really safe. What is supposed to be private and secure isn’t always reliable. If you happen to use the Hotspot Shield VPN app by AnchorFree, you may have been a victim of deceptive and unfair trade practices according […]
              The Irresistible Incentive        

    What’s the secret to build a big email list? The Irresistible Incentive. Offer something for free that leads people to give an email address as a fair trade.

    The post The Irresistible Incentive appeared first on Rob Eagar.


              2012 Calendar For National Events        

    Here is our collection of National Events, Special Days, Bank Holidays and Awareness weeks for 2012 UK National Events Calendar 2012 EventStart DateLink New Year's Day BH02 January 2012 World Braille Day04 January 2012World Braille Day Farmhouse Breakfast Week22 January 2012Farmhouse Breakfast Week Chinese New Year23 January 2012Chinese New Year Cancertalk Week23 January 2012Cancertalk Week Burns Night25 January 2012 Holocaust Memorial Day27 January 2012Holocaust Memorial Day National Storytelling Week28 January 2012National Storytelling Week National Marriage Week07 February 2012National Marriage Week Valentine's Day14 February 2012 National Chip Week20 February 2012National Chip Week Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day21 February 2012 Ash Wednesday - Lent Begins22 February 2012 Fair Trade Fortnight27 February 2012Fair Trade Fortnight World Book Day01 March 2012World Book Day St David's Day01 March 2012 British Pie Week05 March 2012British Pie Week International Women's Day08 March 2012International Women's Day National Science and Engineering Week09 March 2012National Science and Engineering Week Commonwealth Day12 March 2012Commonwealth Day No Smoking Day14 March 2012No Smoking Day St Patrick's Day17 March 2012 Mothering Sunday18 March 2012 Sport Relief23 March 2012Sport Relief BST Begins25 March 2012 National Salt Awareness Week26 March 2012National Salt Awareness Week Palm Sunday01 April 2012 International Children's Book Day02 April 2012International Children's Book Day Good Friday BH06 April 2012 National Pet Month07 April 2012National Pet Month World Health Day07 April 2012World Health Day Easter Sunday08 April 2012 Easter Monday BH09 April 2012 Earth Day22 April 2012Earth Day Wallace and Gromit's BIG Breakfast23 April 2012Wallace and Gromit's BIG Breakfast St George's Day23 April 2012 International Firefighters' Day04 May 2012International Firefighters' Day Deaf Awareness Week07 May 2012Deaf Awareness Week National Doughnut Week07 May 2012National Doughnut Week Early May Bank Holiday07 May 2012 Europe Day09 May 2012 British Sandwich Week12 May 2012British Sandwich Week Limerick Day12 May 2012 Walk to School Week21 May 2012Walk to School Week The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend02 June 2012The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend Spring Bank Holiday04 June 2012 World Environment Day05 June 2012World Environment Day The Queen's Diamond Jubilee BH05 June 2012 World Blood Donor Day14 June 2012World Blood Donor Day National Bike Week16 June 2012National Bike Week Fathers' Day17 June 2012 Recycle Now Week20 June 2012Recycle Now Week Wrong Trousers Day29 June 2012Wrong Trousers Day Armed Forces Day30 June 2012Armed Forces Day World Population Day11 July 2012 St Swithin's Day15 July 2012 London 2012 Olympic Games27 July 2012London 2012 Olympic Games British Food Fortnight27 July 2012British Food Fortnight International Youth Day12 August 2012International Youth Day International Left Handers Day13 August 2012International Left Handers Day Summer Bank Holiday27 August 2012 London 2012 Paralympic Games29 August 2012London 2012 Paralympic Games Heritage Open Days06 September 2012Heritage Open Days International Talk Like A Pirate Day19 September 2012International Talk Like A Pirate Day World Car Free Day22 September 2012World Car Free Day National Poetry Day04 October 2012National Poetry Day World Space Week04 October 2012World Space Week National Curry Week08 October 2012National Curry Week National Parents' Week15 October 2012National Parents' Week Trafalgar Day21 October 2012 BST Ends28 October 2012 Hallowe'en31 October 2012 Guy Fawkes Night05 November 2012 Remembrance Day11 November 2012Remembrance Day Remembrance Sunday11 November 2012Remembrance Sunday BBC Children In Need16 November 2012BBC Children In Need National Eating Out Week18 November 2012National Eating Out Week St Andrew's Day30 November 2012 World Aids Day01 December 2012World Aids Day Christmas Day BH25 December 2012 Boxing Day BH26 December 2012


              Can we shop our way to a better world?         

    When you buy a cup of coffee for €2, the farmer gets 3-4 cents for the coffee in that cup. If you buy a cup of organic and fair trade coffee, you may have to cough-up €2.50 and the farmer will get 4-5 cents. The farmer’s income will increase by an impressive 20-25 percent. Looking at it from another perspective, it seems that you will need to spend 50 cents to increase the farmer’s income by 1 or 2 cents. This example throws up the question whether the market mechanism is efficient in transforming consumers’ willingness to pay for direct or indirect benefits of a product.

    Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) such as fair trade, organic, and eco-labels have emerged as part of a number of converging – and associated – trends such as:

    - emphasizing the market and consumer choice as important tools to accomplish ethical, economic, environmental or social goals;

    - facilitating government de-regulation, which leaves more self-regulation to the industries;

    - holding those that bring products to the market place accountable for the quality of the products, a responsibility that extends to the suppliers of the products, and their suppliers in turn;

    - introducing a stiff global competition which makes differentiation in the market place an essential survival strategy to escape ‘commodity hell’;

    - organizing production into so-called value chains where each link is taken care of by independent companies that are under the constant threat of being exchanged, constantly competing with others.


    Let me expand a bit on this last point.

    In the movie The Godfather, Vito Corleone, the mafia boss played by Marlon Brando, is asked by his godson Jonny Fontane to help secure a film role that will boost his fading career. The head of the film studio has previously refused to give Fontane the part. The Godfather tells Johnny, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." One morning the studio director wakes up to find the head of his expensive racehorse on his bed. Fontane is subsequently given the part.

    This is basically what the chain leaders, i.e. supermarkets or corporations, have done; given suppliers an offer they can't refuse – follow the standard. Suppliers in the chain, all the way to the farmers, and sometimes even the suppliers to the farmers, should follow the standards developed by the chain leaders. In many cases, the standards also shift the costs away from the chain leader to the suppliers. In order to enforce compliance, suppliers have to use verification mechanisms, normally private certification bodies, authorized by the chain leaders or auditors from the chain leader.

    At a point in time, NGOs realized that consumer activism could be a tool to accomplish goals. This first took shape as boycott, that is refusal to buy products from companies because of their behavior. When companies tried to get away from their responsibilities by outsourcing, NGOs pointed out that those chain leaders had responsibilities for the whole chain. In some cases, this led to the NGOs initiating sustainability schemes, either in partnership with an industry or alone.

    We don’t have VSS for social conditions for labour in Scandinavia – but there is a Food Justice Certified scheme developed in the USA now. Why? Because it is needed in the USA but not in Scandinavia (at least not in the same way as in the USA). VSS has emerged in the space between that well regulated by the markets and by the governments respectively. If we view their existence as a result of “policy failure” or “market failure”, it means that if the markets and governments did their job properly they would not be needed at all.

    The example of the coffee cup shows that the market mechanism is not a particularly efficient tool for accomplishing non-market goals. Let me give a few more examples.

    VSS is often presented as an option for small-scale farmers, but they are oversold in this regard. In general, only a small proportion of the farms will be able to participate in the new value chains. The sustainability schemes constitute one factor among many discriminating small producers, be it farmers or food processors. Farmers with more resources are able to capitalize more on the opportunities. The processes of certification also, almost inevitably, favor the rich over the poor, both in developed or developing countries.

    I started an organic farm in 1977 in Sweden. From 1985 onwards, organic farms have been certified to voluntary standards. The number of organic farms in Sweden has grown from a few hundred in the early eighties to nearly 12,000. The market share has gone from 0 to 4-5 percent. Around 17 percent of arable land is organic. So this is a real success story. However, growth has slowed down despite the fact that a totally overwhelming majority of the population says that they want to eat organic food. Also, many farmers go organic mainly because of the compensation for environmental services that they get from the European Union and the government and not because of market demand. Looking at the bigger picture, the growth of the organic sector has done nothing to curb the rapid decline of farming in the country. The number of farms has halved in the same time that the organic market has developed.

    Most VSS in the agriculture sector have regulations that production can't be approved if it is established on land that until recently was rainforest. If certified production becomes important, however, the net effect will be that the certified producers will buy existing land and other producers will continue to exploit the forest frontier with the money they get from selling land to the certified ones. This process has been ascertained in Brazil, where soya production – now certified as forest-friendly – push cattle ranchers to the forest zone. In reality, the impact of these standards is almost zero on deforestation, compared to government regulation. They do make consumers feel good, though.

    They also are problematic to apply in situations caused by the sum of individual actions: for e.g. it is almost impossible to ascertain whether one farmer uses groundwater sustainably; it is the sum of water used by all farmers in the catchment area that will determine whether it is used sustainably or not. VSS in management of commons has existed for millennia, e.g. in the management of fisheries, forests, irrigation or pastures. But the modern sustainability schemes are based on the market and individual companies, which is contrary to the foundations of the long standing method of management of the commons.

    When discussing the impact of a certain standard, it is often contrasted against a worst case scenario. The producers that first go for a VSS are, to a very large extent, those that have production already close to compliance, which is why there are many organic smallholders producing coffee, but almost no organic flower producers in the market place. Meanwhile, proponents of the schemes mostly contrast their affiliated production with worst cases of non-certified production.

    I tell this not to make the case that organic farming and other VSS have failed, but to make the case that using the market and consumer purchase to accomplish policy goals is often less efficient than government regulations, direct subsidies, ban etc.

    In general, VSS is not particularly efficient in dealing with problems that are rooted in fundamental structures of society, the market and the economy. They do normally work well when they are about a simple substitution of a technology, e.g. chlorine-free paper or CFC-free fridges. But things like that can – and should – be accomplished by mandatory regulations.

    Ultimately, whether VSS delivers or not may be a sub-set of the bigger question, “Can we shop our way to a better world?” While I do think that we should buy organic and other products that are a better choice here and now – and to pay a bit more for them –I also firmly believe that this will only have small effects.

    In State of the World 2013, Annie Leonard (the person making the excellent video Story of Stuff) points out that the focus on sustainable consumption “distracts us from identifying and demanding change from the real drivers of environmental decline…. Describing today’s environmental problems and solutions as individual issues also has a disempowering effect, leaving people feeling that their greatest power lies in perfecting their daily choices.” I couldn’t agree more. 


    First published 26 April 2013
              From extraction to regeneration: Food and farming as keys to transformation        


    Industrial food and farming is based on practices, principles and mechanisms which are not compatible with equitable and truly sustainable development, human or planetary welfare. Since agriculture dominates over 50% of the primary biological metabolism of the planet’s terrestrial systems and food production is also shaping the development of the seas and arctic regions, how we manage food production is essentially how we manage the planet. Almost all major environmental challenges are strongly linked to our food production system.

    Most people feel a profound discomfort over how their food is produced and how this affects both the quality of the food and the world we live in. As a response to this organic farming, fair trade and alike has developed. However, these systems are by and large still subject to the endless competition in the market place, and increasingly so the more successful they are, which limits their transformational power. Real change of our farm and food system must be linked also to changes in social institutions. Because of the pivotal role of food and its way of engaging people it is also the best starting point for the building of such institutions. This has already begun with efforts such as community supported agriculture, local food movements, participatory guarantee systems and urban farming.

    A truly regenerative food and farm system will close loops of flow of energy, nutrients and most importantly meaning and culture. It will also have to reflect the role of our agriculture system for management of the planet at large. Such a system can’t be based on the capitalist market’s imperatives of endless competition and rent-seeking.

    This new path is a one of re-generation and co-production of resources, innovation, knowledge and meaning embedded in new relationships which to a large extent transcend the division between producers and consumers imposed on us by a capitalist market economy. Increasing prices of energy and general discomfort with the results of globalization will assist in the transformation. Like most earlier profound transformations of human society it will develop by a mix of new relations and adaptations of existing components and institutions.

    Summary of speech at the 18th IFOAM Organic World Congress 2014.

              Global Eating Disorder        
    Global Eating Disorder
    Industrial food and farming has been very successful in producing more food, and cheaper food. But it has come at a very high cost. The practices have wrecked havoc in important biological systems, in particular in bio-diversity and the nitrogen and carbon cycles. The food system squanders its own resource base and the most precious resource on the planet, the soil. Animals are treated in a disgraceful way. While food is abundant, the distribution system, the market, fails to reach 1 billion people which are hungry, while equally many eat too much and loads of food are simply wasted. More and more people are opposing the modern food system, a few have the energy to build a new system.

    Global Eating Disorder explains how our food and farm system developed into the system we have today, and how interdependent our food system and society are. Gunnar Rundgren demonstrates how farming and food processing technologies have transformed our lives and our relationship not only with nature, the plants we grow and the animals we raise, but also the relationships among ourselves. The book can be read as an evolutionary cookbook as it explains how and why the stuff on our plate reached there.

    The last few hundred years, and in an sharply increasing pace, width and depth, the global market revolution fueled by oil and coal, and shaped by endless competition and rent-seeking has been the factor that has determined the whole food system, from the prairies to the supermarket shelf, from the production of margarine to the emergence of fast food chains. It even transformed the act of eating from an act of confirmation of social relations to individual satisfaction of real or imaginary dietary needs. Global Eating Disorder tells the story with a mix of long term historical perspective and plenty of current day experiences from all continents of the world.

    But it left us, the animals and the planet unhappy. Most people feel a profound discomfort over how their food is produced and how this affects both the quality of the food and the world we live in. As a response to this organic farming, fair trade and alike has developed. These systems are by and large still subject to the market imperatives of competition, profit and constant labor productivity increase, and increasingly so the more successful they are. This limits their transformational power.

    Real change of our farm and food system must be linked also to changes in social institutions, in particular the market. This has already started with efforts such as community supported agriculture, transition movements, local food movements, participatory guarantee systems and urban farming. A truly regenerative food and farm system will close loops of flow of energy, nutrients and most importantly meaning and culture. It will also have to reflect the role of our agriculture system for management of the planet at large and recreate links between city and land.

    Global Eating Disorder shows a path forward. A path of regeneration and co-production of resources, innovation, knowledge and meaning embedded in new social and economic relationships.


    Order Global Eating Disorder  for a 10% discount at: https://www.createspace.com/5020215 using the code: GWDZZD8D. It can also be bought from Amazon and many other market places.


    See some of the articles on the blog associated to this book

    Published by Regeneration 

    The book is reworked to Swedish and is published by Ordfront (September 2016). 
              Trade in food: It’s the competition, stupid        


    I have written four posts about trade in food and agriculture commodities.

    In the first one I gave an overview of the changing role and scope of international trade. Global food production increased with over 50% between 1986 and 2009. Meanwhile the trade in food for direct human consumption has increased from 15% of total production in 1986 to 23% in 2009, thus about one fourth of food production is traded. Half of the net exports 2010 were originating from just five countries. 

    Rich countries are increasingly using land in other regions for their food production. Trade fills an important role for moving produce from areas with excess to areas with deficit. There are, however, many mechanisms in trade which leads countries not to produce food even if they could do so. Europe has let almost 100 million hectares of farm land revert to forest or lying idle, while European farmers buy protein rich feed stuffs from developing countries and European food industries buy palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia. Europe could produce those within its own territory. Only a quarter of the trade is with crops which could not be grown in the importing country.

    The increase in trade has big environmental repercussions as well as a big social and cultural impact. For instance, the large flows of agriculture products embed a lot of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. This means that soils in the exporting areas are depleted while importing regions suffer from eutrophication, algal blooms and dead seas.  In the second post I argue that the increasing distance makes it easier for market actors to externalize costs and more difficult to citizens and the political system to influence the way things are produced. Trade is not only a response to market demand, it creates demand and therefore recreates the need for it; trade becomes its own justification. 

    Competition drives farmers in to more and more specialization and larger scale in order to cut costs. This leads to that farms go into monocropping and, ultimately, economies of scale will turn whole landscapes to one or a few lines of production/commodities. The implication on bio-diversity is huge and ironically some of these bread baskets are increasingly becoming food deserts. The harmonization of standards which follows liberalized trade has a number of non-desirable side effects, and will lead to sub-optimal production in most parts of the world.

    On the level of the individual farmer trade is keeping up the pressure. In the third post, I explain how mechanization has crushed the comparative advantage of poor countries and poor producers. Poor farmers can only be competitive in crops which have not yet been successfully mechanized, such as coffee, tea, flowers, avocados and green beans. Because of productivity gains in developed countries, agriculture prices dropped by some 60% in the period 1960-2000. As the productivity of the poorest farmers remained much the same, it is obvious that they have lost out. Their value of production, regardless if they eat it themselves or sell it, has gone down considerably, making them poorer both in relative and absolute terms. 

    The fourth post starts on a positive note with my experiences from linking African small-holder to global organic markets. Only limited numbers of farmers can benefit from that, however. First because poor farmers are only competitive in a limited number of crops and second because only a small share of the farmers will benefit from linking into modern value chains (be they organic, fair trade or normal) - and it will be those with the greatest assets. Of the farmers forced off their farms, some will become farm laborers at the farms of the more successful, or in huge agri-business plantations, others will only get a better life if there is some place for them to go – but in many places the prospects in the cities are not too promising and the future as an economic migrant is uncertain.

    The effect of of trade is complex and depends on a variety factors, which makes it difficult to generalize. The theory of comparative advantage which underpins the arguments for international trade builds on assumptions that do not hold in today’s global economy. Capital and labour is highly mobile between countries through global value chains while the agriculture sector is highly inflexible, and mobility of agricultural labour and capital is low.  Meanwhile, self-sufficiency is not feasible for all countries and agriculture protection measures may have extraterritorial impacts that can harm food security of others, i.e. when countries exports surpluses with subsidies, they might undercut local producers.

    Of course there are many other aspects of trade, for instance if it is based on a fair exchange. There are clear signs that trade is not only based on difference in production factors or endowments but also in power, leading to a unequal exchange. For instance, there are more people engaged in producing coffee for the Swedish market than the total number of people employed in the whole Swedish food and agriculture sector. This is obviously only possible because the work of the coffee picker is valued very low.



    *
    It is difficult to sum all this up. Large scale trade in agricultural goods has clearly a number of huge disadvantages. And the economic blessings are mixed. There are some potential positive aspects, such as the possibility to move goods to areas of shortage, the possible improvement of diets and a better ecological adaptation of farming. Modern food trade doesn’t, however, deliver much in terms of those advantages. 

    The higher proportion of food that is globally traded, the bigger dependencies will be created when regions that could produce their own food cease to do that. More and more people will be structurally dependent on global trade. The possibility to move food from areas of surplus to areas of shortage (food aid) should be a backup measure which will not be supplied by the market but by governments. The food security argument for global trade is therefore not valid. 

    Fresh fruits and vegetables and high protein food, such as meat, is nowadays readily available for those that can afford it. Meanwhile, it is hard to argue that global trade in foods have improved diets for most people if we look at what people actually eat. 

    As for the ecological adaptation argument, there seems to be some merit in this as considerable areas of marginal land has been taken out of production and reverted to forests. But as the mechanization and specialization continues the ecological conditions in agriculture deteriorates rapidly, so any possible advantages are erased by much bigger damage.


    *


    In order to get a better understanding and perhaps a strategy for intervention, I believe we should disentangle the components of trade. There is a physical component, the movement of goods, there is a profit component, i.e. trade will only take place if there is a potential profit in it (which is why food aid is not trade but public distribution), there is a component of competition and there is a component of exchange (that is I exchange my labor, or other goods for the stuff I want to buy).

    All components have their set of issues. The displacement of nutrients is a problem with the movement of goods, regardless if there is a profit motive or not. Profit and the terms of exchange are related to accumulation of capital and terms of trade and therefore with the whole economic hierarchy of societies.

    The carrot for trade is profit, but the much bigger driver is the stick of competition. On the level of the individual basic actor in the food system, the farmer, the main influence of trade is competition. It is competition that drives mechanization and structural transformation of the farm sector, it is competition which makes it necessary for farmers to externalize costs to the environment, to workers or to livestock. It seems to me that reducing competition would be an important objective for a food trade policy.

              Food: trading away our future? - path IV        


    In the period 1996 to 2011 I worked a lot with various efforts to link smallholder farmers to markets, mainly organic, in developed countries. The biggest engagement was in EPOPA. By 2008, 80,000 farmers in the programme sold organic products to exporters for approximately US$ 15 million per year. All farmers received higher prices due to the organic premium, which ranges from 10-25% over the conventional price. Taking into account the size of households, 600,000 people have benefited from the programme. You can read a whole book about this successful project here. Overall EPOPA was a success. 

    Today, linking farmers to markets is an overarching policy for almost all development agencies as well as governments. It also fits very well with a development model that assumes that more markets and more capitalism is the best path to development. While I do think it works quite well under certain conditions, it has, unfortunately, been oversold.

    A report from Hivos, Small Producer Agency in the Globalized Market, looks deeper into if and how smallholders can benefit from globalized markets. In short the answer is that a few of them will - and they will soon not be smallholders as the recipe for success is to grow, mechanize and buy up your neighbours farms. This should be no surprise, this is how the farm sector developed in other parts of the world. The report estimates that linking farmers into modern value chains (be they organic, fair trade or normal) may benefit only about 2-10 percent of the farms - and it will be those with the greatest assets. Of the farmers forced off their farms, some will become farm labourers at the farms of the more successful, or in huge agri-business plantations, others will only get a better life if there is some place for them to go – but in many places the prospects in the cities are not too promising and the future as an economic migrant is uncertain.

    A recent report from the FAO, The State of Agriculturarl Commodity Markets, does a good job in untangling the contradictory views on the impacts of agricultural trade on food security. Trade affects each of the four dimensions of food security: food availability,  food access, food utilization and stability of food suply. The effect of of trade is complex and depends on a variety factors, which makes it difficult to generalize. Among others it is influenced by the way food markets work, by the ability and willingness of producers to respond to the changing incentives that trade can bring, and by the geography of food insecurity, each of which needs to be accounted for in the formulation of trade policy interventions.

    The report clarifies that theory of comparative advantage builds on assumptions that
    do not hold in today’s global economy. Capital and labour is highly mobile between countries through global value chains while the agriculture sector is highly inflexible, and mobility of agricultural labour and capital is low.  Competitive advantage prioritizes short-term conditions versus long-term structural transformation and efficiency gains are prioritized over other social goals. Meanwhile, self-sufficiency is not feasible for all countries and agriculture protection measures may have extraterritorial impacts that can harm food security of others.

    Perhaps surprisingly to some, the majority of hungry people live in rural areas; many of them are farmers, others are landless laborers. According to the FAO, 50% of those suffering from hunger and mal­nutrition are small-scale peasants, 20% are landless, 10% are pastoralists or fishermen and 20% live in city slums.Clearly these groups are affected differently by the increasing globalization of food. Low food prices may initially look like a good proposition for the poor as it makes food more affordable. Falling prices, however, can lead to a worse situation for the rural poor, who make up the majority of those hun­gry. Most of them are dependent on farm incomes, either as small­holders or as landless individuals seeking employment by farmers. A surplus of food, with falling prices, creates a bigger prob­lem as it drives small farmers off the market so that they cannot buy the things they need for produc­tion or for their families. 

    There are many side effects of the integration of farming in global markets, and those side effects may have far reaching implications. For instance, modern markets and global competition force farmers to adopt uniform high-yielding types of plant or animal. But when food produc­ers abandon diversity, valuable traditional varieties and breeds may die out, along with their specialized traits. For the poorest farmers, the diversity of life can be their best protection against starvation.

    There is no silver bullet that in itself can guarantee food security. It seems clear to me that food security, poverty and equality are intrinsi­cally linked, and that the root cause of food insecurity is found in an unjust society and unequal access to resources. As such, the main path to food security involves correcting those injustices. 

    This is the fourth post on the trade theme.


              Ethical Yellow and White Gold CZ Rings        
    Are you an ethical jeweler who creates unique white gold cubic zirconia rings using fair trade gold from environmentally and socially conscientious sources? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Why Are We Searching for Ethical CZ Jewelry Designers? We’re searching for ethical cubic zirconia jewelry designers because we can’t seem to find CZ […]
              Minister’s praise for fair trade        
    INTERNATIONAL development secretary Douglas Alexander praised Southampton’s efforts in promoting fair trade.
              City's Fair Trade links praised by minister        
    INTERNATIONAL development secretary Douglas Alexander today praised Southampton's efforts in promoting fair trade.
              A Conversation With LimeRed Studio        

    LimeRed is a local user experience (UX) firm that develops design and UX projects that emphasize social justice and innovation. Since the firm was founded in 2004, they’ve also garnered certifications as both a woman-owned business (WBE) and a Certified B Corporation (B-Corp), meeting high standards of social and environmental performance as well as public transparency and accountability. This is an especially impressive feat as Chicago is only home to 21 B-Corps and fewer than half of those businesses are woman-owned.

    In the spirit of local community-building and cross-organizational efforts, CHIRP Radio Features Director Amelia Hruby spent a morning at LimeRed recently with founder and company President Emily Lonigro Boylan and Strategy Director Demetrio Cardona-Maguigad.

    Amelia: How did LimeRed get started?

    Emily: I started my company because I had a computer, one client, and big ideas. I didn’t know anything. After college, I had been living in Chicago and working at agencies and on social justice projects, but I moved to New York because I had nothing to lose. So I was running my own little business with clients, larger agencies, and smaller non-profits. I kind of had a 50/50 split between New York and Chicago. It was going well, and that’s when I incorporated LimeRed.

    At that point I was freelancing for a company that did luxury design goods. Most of their clients were luxury e-commerce, cosmetics, travel and real estate, and that’s really where I learned everything online. But the stuff I was selling, I just couldn’t do it. So I quit and said “I can’t do this anymore.” I decided that I had to stay true to what I think and do small business and non-profit and social justice and blend it all together, because you can’t be two people, it just doesn’t work.

    Amelia: How did you end up back in Chicago?

    Emily: I moved back to Chicago right before Obama got elected in 2008 and the market tanked, which was very much a test of how committed I was to this. But in 2009 I did okay. In 2010 I hired my first employee, and then every year until 2014 I doubled in size and revenue. Then 2014 was a market shift and almost every agency struggled. But I didn’t go under or let anyone go, and we’ve been reformulating since then.

    Amelia: What does it mean to you for LimeRed to be a B-Corp and a WBE?

    Emily: I started my company under the impetus of the social justice movement of 2003-5, so we’ve always done social justice work and wanted to do that work. So when we became a B-Corp in 2014, so it was nice to get that stamp of approval for the work we’d been doing.

    And we’ve been a WBE for six or seven years, but honestly for most of that time, I felt like nobody cared. We got maybe one job because we were in the state business enterprise program list, but other than that there was pretty much no recognition of the fact that LimeRed was a woman-owned business.

    That said I think that the combination of the two is really powerful right now.

    Amelia: How do you see that combination impacting your business lately?

    Emily: I think people are beginning to take notice of women’s inclusion in and ability to run businesses, and they’re becoming concerned with socially conscious businesses.

    Being a WBE and B-Corp was always something under the radar that we put on our website and I would talk about, but it wasn’t who we are totally. I feel like in the past year, I’ve taken steps to be more public about our status. And especially being a B-Corp, I’ve attracted a lot of talent that believes in that values. That really has changed our culture and what we do and how we think about our work. It’s also changed who we’re attracting. We’re attracting the coolest, best, neatest work, because we’re being public about our viewpoint.

    I want to know that I’m buying things from a company that has a B-Corp or a fair trade seal. As silly as it sounds, even my hand lotion is anti-human trafficking. I’m going to buy hand lotion any way, so I want it to stand for something.

    I think it’s a good time to really talk about what we’re doing as a B-Corp, as a woman-owned business, and as a company full of women.

    Amelia: How is social justice more at the forefront of LimeRed’s work now?

    Emily: Social justice is definitely infused into how we work, and we’ve built social justice into our company values. That value list includes keeping our commitments to ourselves, each other, our clients, and our community. It means staying dedicated to keeping our work human-centered and recognizing the different states of being and contexts that people come to us with. It also requires making sure our work and office aren’t hierarchically organized. No one is above doing the dishes here; we all order office supplies; we all take out the garbage.

    Our core value, I think, is that we champion our causes and community, and if we see an injustice, we help. We’re really trying to do the right thing in every way, blending it all together. There’s a lot.

    Amelia: How did you get involved with UX work?

    Demetrio: My background goes way back to organizing for immigrant rights and youth rights in the Filipino community in the late 90s. I worked with a lot of undocumented caregivers. I organized students on various university campuses. So I have a very social justice foundation.

    Web and digital tools were just emerging during that time, and one thing I realized doing that work was that people didn’t really know what we were actually doing. That motivated me to figure out a better way to broaden audiences and communicate more effectively. So I went back to school to study web design and that gave me a basic foundation in how the web is a tool to empower people by sharing knowledge and information. Since then I’ve used that knowledge to work with a number of organizations designing strategies for communication and education, converging systems thinking and design thinking for non-profits and other organizations.

    Amelia: What does the social and political positioning of LimeRed mean to you?

    Demetrio: Often when people say UX they’re talking about user experience as user interface design. But user interface design is really just how you place things on a digital page so that a user can click on it; it’s very two-dimensional. But user experience has three dimensions. You’re not looking at the design on a page, but the time spent by the user interacting with the product.

    So I’ve always worked hard to make sure that everything we create here is designed for people. We want to make sure that our user experience design is human-centered and that we are using problem solving to build strategies and designs that advocate for people. UX to me is all about time and the journey, and that’s what we’re working to do here at LimeRed, to take users on a journey.


              18. plavba s Mirkou Vacvalovou a Allanom Bussardom (najednejlodi)        
    Sociálny podnik TEN SENSES založila v Bratislave v roku 2005 Nadácia Integra so zámerom pomôcť malým výrobcom na Slovensku s predajom ich výrobkov. Postupne sa spoločnosť stala aj najväčším dodávateľom a predajcom fair trade certifikovaných výrobkov z krajín rozvojového sveta. O fair trade - spravodlivom obchode - nám Na jednej lodi porozprávali Mirka Vacvalová z TEN SENSES a Allan Bussard z Nadácie Integra.
              European Film Festivals by        

    European Film Festivals

    Preface

    With the ever increasing numbers of festivals emerging this cannot hope to be a comprehensive list as that would be a full-time occupation. The purpose of the page is to highlight the importance of film festivals and to encourage fans of older and slightly more off-beat film to kep an eye out for these festivals. The page by its very nature will be something of a work in progress rather than creating an attempt at closure.

    Introduction

    The growing number of film festivals in the towns and cities of Europe is a very important development from the perspective of defending national cinemas and pan-European cinema in general from being overwhelmed by the industrial might and marketing power of Hollywood and the subservience of the Multiplex exhibition system. As more and more emphasis is placed upon cultural tourism and cultural planning so more and more festivals are springing up especially as state film policy such as the UK Film Council's strategy is making positive steps to encourage this. Not only do these festivals provide an opportunity for people to travel around europe and meet like-minded people but they provide people in the localities and regions a cultural hub to enjoy films that would be difficult for them to see in a cinema. With European cinema having such a magnificent heritage of high-quality films there is a huge amount of material to draw on to make each festival a unique event.  This ability to call upon a long-tail of films provides many opportunities for people to think about and discuss films, directors, themes, performers and movements in ways that for all the wonders of the internet cannot be replicated. Whilst researching the Mike Leigh pages for this site I came across La Rochelle Festival which this year amongst other things is screening some Mike Leigh films. Given that getting his films into mainstream cinemas in Britain is a major feat this puts all the arguments about Hollywood in perspective.

    Whilst film festivals like Cannes and Venice are for the Glitterarty (!) this isn't relevant for large numbers of filmgoers who have a love of film and want to experience them on a large screen quite possibly in the company of others. With digital technologies rapidly improving and coming down in cost hopefully we could see the building of smaller scale cinemas which are more relevant ot localities. These would help maintain a discourse including a physical presence of quality cinema and its audience which is more challenging than the average genre film. These audiences would be able to experience festivals across Europe exchanging experiences, ideas etc. For this to be achieved European film policy needs to have in mind exhibitionary and audience development running alongside distribution. The other things that film financing bodies need to be prepared for is not the quick return on capital demanded by Hollywood investors.

    The very best films can have a long life measured in decades rather than in days. Given that it is still impossible to get many European classic films of DVD in the UK and assuming that this situation is replicated across Europe this is a shameful issue that needs addressing. Hopefully readers of this blog will use opportunities to persuade policy makers that there needs to be a stimulus to general film culture that goes deeper than just boosting tourism important though that is. If the European project is to generate deeper meanings it is essential that this takes place on cultural grounds rather than being forced through by politicians against people's will. Although this blog is entirely in favour of developing closer links between European countries the agenda needs to be driven from below rather than by dictat from above.

    Film Festivals tend to be divided into two types. Ones which are more aimed at audiences and those which are primarily about screening new materials in order to raise profiles and do business. The latter ones are more international in their nature. Bearing this in mind it is interesting to see how the UK Film Council  is assigning £740,000 over the next three years to build up film festivals although there is certainly commercial intent behind the initiative:

    The funding from the UK Film Council's Film Festivals Fund (national strand) will give thousands more people the opportunity to enjoy more films, learn about film and meet filmmakers. The cash boost will also help to raise the profile of British film at home and abroad and contribute to the development of a more competitive UK film industry.


    Film Festivals in France




    La Rochelle Film Festival


    La Rochelle Film Festival 2008 La Rochelle film Poster 2008


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    Film Festivals in the UK

    French Film Festival UK


    Audrey Tatou Priceless

    The French Film Festival UK is an annual event and takes places across a number of cities. 2008 saw the 16th French Film Festival UK take place from 7 - 20 March 2008 in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Cardiff, Warwick, Birmingham, Manchester and London.


    The Filmstock Film Festival

    The Filmstock Film Festival at Luton looks like more of an audience event fun and whacky as well. They also ensure that there is Fair Trade produce only on sale


    Luton Filmstock Banner



    Filmstock Banner


    Luton Hat Factory

    Image of the Luton Hat Factory now regenerated to a post-industrial cultural industries agenda.  This is the venue for the Filmstock Film Festival


    Borderlines Film Festival

    Its over now but watch out for next year's.


    Bristol the Encounters short film Festival

    Bristol Encounters Shorts Festival

    The 14th edition of the Encounters Short Film Festival takes place in the wonderful city of Bristol, UK from 18th - 23rd November and once again we will be screening the very very best short films from around the universe!'The big thinking short film festival' the Guardian. Encounters offers an important platform for both new and established filmmakers to showcase their work and is the place to be inspired, to talk technology, share ideas and make new connections.  6 days of screenings, special events, workshops and masterclasses and those all important networking opportunities: the parties!

    History of the Encounters Festival


    CORNWALL FILM FESTIVAL 6th - 9th November 2008

    The Cornwall Film Festival is an annual festival dedicated to exhibiting and marketing Cornish filmmaking and developing relationships with the wider industry. The festival offers local and national premieres, master-classes, workshops, discussions and networking events for everyone from the enthusiast to the professional.


    Bradford International Film Festival

    Bradford Film Festival

    Alex Cox

    Alex Cox attended the 2008 Bradford Film Festival with his new film Searchers 2.


    Cambridge Film Festival organised by the Cambridge Film Trust


    Edinburgh International film Festival

    Edinburgh Film Festival

    The UK Film Council has given the Edinburgh International Film Festival a large award to try and establish it as the World's leading festival for new talent.



    Glasgow Film Festival

    Glasgow Film Festival

    The 2009 Festival which will run from February 12th to 22nd.



    Having just held its fourth event the Glasgow Festival has recorded another great leap forward in audience attendance with final figures expected to nudge 20,000 admissions. The festival lasts for eleven days.



    Sheffield International Documentary Festival

    Sheffield Film Fest Logo


    The first Sheffield International Documentary Festival was held in 1994. The festival was launched as a two pronged event - an international film festival and a conference for all professionals working in documentary film and television production. he idea of launching a UK-based international documentary festival was the vision of Peter Symes of BBC TV Features Bristol.  He felt that it was incredible that there was no festival in the UK celebrating the work of documentary makers and no forum at which the makers could meet to argue and debate their craft, especially considering that Britain has a long tradition of making some of the very best documentaries in the world.


    Moves 08 Manchester Film fest


    Leeds Film Fest Banner


    London International Film Festival 2008


    london 2008 International Film Festival announced

    Picture from the Times BFI London Film Festival reception at the Cannes Film Festival, Sunday 18 May 2008, Hôtel Palais Stéphanie. From left to right: Greg Dyke (BFI Chairman); Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP (Minister for Culture, Creative Industries & Tourism); Amanda Nevill (Director of BFI); Sandra Hebron (Artistic Director, The Times BFI London Film Festival)


    Film Festivals Czech Republic


    Karlovy Vary International Film Festival


    Milos Forman Karlovy Vary Film Fest


    Spanish Film Festivals


    Seville Film Festival


    Seville Film Festival held in November. Look out fot the latest information.


    Resources


    The reputable film studies publishing company has established a festivals magazine for cinemagoers and film makers called Films and Festivals which provides much useful information and news.


    Film and Festivals 6


    film & festivals is also proud to announce its partnership with Filmfestivals.com, the largest website dedicated to film festivals in the world! Filmfestivals.com and CFC Media Lab, Telefilm Canada in partnership with Moving Pictures, film & festivals magazine and Cineuropa.org are proud to present another installment of the 'Future of Cinema Salon Series' at the Cannes Film Festival this year.



    Film&Festivals


              Fair Trade Coffee Benefits Communities and the Environment        

    There’s nothing quite like the aroma and flavor of a freshly brewed cup of joe in the morning… or any time of day, really. It’s just the perfect pick-me-up you need to chase away your drowsiness, and kick yourself into high gear. But do you know what’s even better than … Continue reading

    The post Fair Trade Coffee Benefits Communities and the Environment appeared first on The Coffee Blog | K Cup Reviews | CoffeeForLess.


              Where Are They Now: Emma Watson        
    Where Are They Now: Emma Watson
    Photo Credit: Kerry Hallihan Photoshoot/Entertainment Weekly
    Emma Watson is known to the Harry Potter generation as Hermione Granger. Since the film franchise ended six years ago, the captivating role model has continued an astounding bold career in acting, feminism, and fashion. Often compared as a real life example of the famed Gryffindor student, Watson has taken her own love of reading, equality, and creativity long after the movies finished. In honor of her 27th birthday, we’re taking a brief look at where the young actress is today and some of her most inspiring moments so far.

    U.N. Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador

    In 2014, Emma Watson was appointed a UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador. As an effort to launch the HeforShe Campaign, which called on men to join in gender equality, she delivered a speech in New York City at the UN Headquarters. Through her own experiences as a teenager and young woman where she was treated differently because she was a girl, Watson questioned gender bias shared between all sexes, and what led her to call herself a feminist.

    The movement called on men to sign up in a bid for gender equality, and led Watson to interview icons such as Gloria Steinem, researched with feminist icons around the world, its impact leaders in business, and join International Women’s Day. Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called herself a feminist after watching Watson’s speech.

    Our Shared Shelf book club

    As part of her research for feminism and work with the UN, Watson started a book club on Goodreads where fans, bookworms, and feminists could join to read selected books every other month. Together, members discuss topics and themes dealing with equality, sexuality, race, and intersectionality.

    Watson has also become a book fairy, a worldwide group who hides books for others to find, read and leave for someone else. She has left books such as Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom on the London underground. On International Women’s Day in 2017, Watson snooped around Manhattan leaving books on and around landmarks celebrating women.

    Rapping with Lin-Manuel Miranda

    For UN Women’s HeForShe Arts Week, Watson landed a sit-down conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s known as a popular playwright and composer of Broadway musicals, especially as a creator of the game-changing musical Hamilton. The duo talked about his process of diving into Alexander Hamilton’s life and history, politics, sorting characters into Hogwarts houses and feminism. To close the interview, Watson gave her best beatbox as Miranda freestyled some lyrics.

    Environmentally Friendly Style Leader

    Watson isn’t just a feminist but an eco-warrior establishing her wardrobe by where the materials come from, how it’s made, and who it’s made by. Her passion for environmentally-friendly clothes, shoes, and authentic beauty began when she teamed up with People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion brand in 2009. Since then, she has continued to ensure how her garments are produced impact the environment in her everyday life and promotional work including photo shoots and appearances. Most recently, as part of the press tour for the Beauty and the Beast live-action movie, Watson shared the process of her wardrobe choices for appearances on an Instagram.

    Post-Potter Roles

    After starring in one of the leading worldwide franchises, Watson took time off to finish college at Brown University graduating in English literature. She took time away from the screen to focus on personal development, but the big screen hasn’t been without her presence for long. Since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Watson has starred in several different movies including a cameo in Seth Rogen’s end-of-the-world flick This Is The End, as Sam in Steven Chbosky’s adaptation The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and auteur director Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah.

    In 2017, Watson will star alongside Tom Hanks and John Boyega in The Circle, an adaptation of David Eggers' novel of a young woman who discovers dark secrets behind a 'Big Brother' technological company.

    Emma Watson as Disney's Belle
    Photo credit by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Disney's Newest Princess

    Once again drawing parallels between herself and her characters, most recently Watson went from the brightest witch of her age to one of Disney’s most beloved princesses. As Walt Disney Studios converts its classic animated features into live-action adventures, their latest release was an uprooted version of Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, Watson stars as a Belle, a bookworm in a provincial town who is compelled to break a powerful spell on an enchanted castle and in its inhabitants. Filled with song and dance, romance, and adventure, the re-imagining of a tale as old as time has earned a billion dollars worldwide. And, as for Watson, she’s become an icon and leader of inspiration for people, especially young women, around the world.

    How has Emma Watson inspired you since the Harry Potter series? Feel free to share in the comments below!

              Trump Hints At New Limits On Steel Imports        
    President Trump is hinting that he may impose tariffs, quotas or both on imported steel in an effort to protect the domestic steel industry. "Steel is a big problem," Trump told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One en route to Paris, where he landed Thursday. "We're like a dumping ground, OK? [Other countries are] dumping steel and destroying our steel industry. They've been doing it for decades and I'm stopping it." "There are two ways," Trump said, "quotas and tariffs. Maybe I'll do both." The Commerce Department has been conducting a review of both steel and aluminum imports under a rarely used 1962 statute designed to protect industries deemed vital to national security. Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters in April that imports now account for more than a quarter of the U.S. steel market, while domestic steel mills are operating at just 71 percent of capacity. Trump railed against what he called unfair trade practices throughout the campaign and has continued to advocate
              Media Mania        

    The media.

    I have to admit that I don't intentionally seek out too many media sources in an average week, but at the same time, I have to acknowledge, that I am unsuspectingly exposed to more media than I care to be. I work out at the Uptown Y and find myself sometimes reading the ticker at the bottom of the CNN screen. I ride the bus and there are advertisements all over the place, from billboards to bumper stickers. The media source I seek out the most would be the radio and the internet. I live alone (with my two kitty-cats) and will turn on the radio for background noise. I listen to the Current (89.3) and MPR. I occasionally read St. Paul/Mpls magazine when I have an extra $4.50 and the same goes for the NY Times ($5!). I watch very little TV. I used to love the show "Lost" but who knows when that is coming back on the air. My internet is provide by Qwest. The world wide web is where I fall prey to whatever corporate domination decides to overtake my favorite (or just most frequent) websites - hotmail (a necessary evil), youtube, myspace (pathetic, I know), and that's about it. You are now getting a sense of how simple my life is. I have made a conscious choice to avoid corporate America as much as I can. I shop at the coop, try to buy independent clothing (or at least from environmentally responsible companies that don't exploit their workers), am into fair trade, etc. I recognize that the two words "control" and "corporate" are inextricably linked, never to be undone. Access and media content show obvious biases and reflect the values of whatever corporation is making the big bucks off of our addiction to entertainment. While I'm not exactly happy that Fox/News Corp/Google superpower dictates myspace or that my entertainment supports any corporate greed, I suppose there are necessary evils. It's nearly impossible to escape some tainting, unless I were a self-sustaining hermit living in the woods.


              #BloggersXmas 2016 Brand Reveal | Sat 19th Nov        

    It's only a few days until #BloggersXmas as we are unbelievably excited! We've been prepping like crazy for the big day and have had so much fun liaising with brands that we think you'll love, to arrange the perfect blogger experience at the event. We have some amazing brands showcasing and a whole load more that have contributed to your goody bags this year (aren't you lucky?)

    Keeping a lid on the final details has been tough and we are thrilled to finally be able to share the final line up with you all. We hope you enjoy connecting with the brands that you meet on Saturday and reach out to the brands that have been enormously generous with their goody bag gifts.

    The following will all be there exhibiting for you to meet at Finch's:

    Our lovely sponsors:

    JewelleryBox: Sterling silver and 9k gold jewellery at affordable prices. They are passionate about design.
    PNY: The leading manufacturer of memory cards, portable chargers and all the essentials to keep you blogging on the go. 
    SkinFix: Trusted for generations for their remedies based on old family recipes including healing balms and daily care products that treat skin's most vexing conditions.


    Sweet Cheesus: Gluten free, hand made cheesecake oozing with flavour and luxury.


    T Plus: Super good green tea mixed with the right vitamins to give your body the right top up and the right time. 


    Jewelled Buddha: An online boutique that sells scarves and necklaces that are all up-cycled from vintage saris. It is partnered with a social enterprise in India that works with women's cooperatives to empower marginalised rural women and break the cycle of poverty. The products are fair trade, sustainable and are zero waste.


    Aromand: Creating unique blends and recreating popular fragrance collections to make gorgeous candles.

    JournoLink: The go-to directory for press releases, and content production. 

    Miiko: Created and inspired by designers across Europe, they believe in clothing that reflects both femininity and power, helping you embrace your individuality and to feel free in the designs that you wear. 

    Type the Hype: Dedicated blogger outreach programme that connects innovative brands with talented bloggers. 

    Gia London: Boutique clothes collection for girls who refuse to live their lives in black and white. 

    La Miela: Fashion brand offering smart casual clothing aimed at empowering women and their personal style.

    Sheena Bulsara: An innovative jewellery designer with 13 years of experience creating luxury jewellery using precious stones, costume jewels, trims, beads and Swarovski crystals.

    Katherine Elizabeth: Whether it's Royal Ascot, a regatta, or garden party, this beautiful handmade millinery has a style to suit all. 

    Joe Browns: Unique ranges of clothing for everyday wear, taking inspirations from all over the world- you're guaranteed to find something to suit your personality. 

    Blogosphere Magazine: THE magazine by bloggers for bloggers. Full of fantastic content to inspire you. 

    My Beauty Matches: An online beauty marketplace where you can find unbiased, personalised recommendations and compare prices of your favourite brands. They will be there to talk about how to get the best out of the site and how to find your perfect beauty matches.


    In addition to all of those, the following brands have gifted samples and you can expect to see a combination of their products in your goody bags.


    Agroposta: Syrup sachets to make drinks at home and on the go. Flavours like lavender and sage flower.
    My Beauty Matches - Burt's Bees, Seascape Island Apothecary and Bee Good: Three of their most popular natural skincare brands, made from organic, ethically-sourced ingredients. 
    Gold Collagen: The drink for beauty from within.
    Freeman Beauty: An award winning range of natural skincare, including face masks and foot care.
    Carabao Energy Drink: An energy drink that gives you the power to stand strong and face daily challenges. sugar free, but full of energy.
    Popband: Hair bands that don't leave kinks and don't do damage AND look cute on the wrist.
    Nuva: The first natural spring water with a kiss of extracts and flavours without the sugar. 
    Popchips: All the flavour and half the fat of fried potato crisps. 
    Sibberi: Tree water that's naturally hydrating and low in sugar. Slightly sweet and wonderfully refreshing.
    Yankee Candle: The most recognised name in the candle world, offering a compelling selection of candles and home fragrances. 
    Saturated Colour: Formerly known as Kiss Cosmetics. This lipstick is cruelty free, vegan and perfect for travel. 
    Kiehl's: Dermatologist recommended skincare solutions. We've picked their best sellers. 
    Lotil: Softens and helps heal and prevent chapped and dry, damaged skin. 
    TAM Beauty - I Heart Make Up, Make Up Revolution and Freedom: Three of TAM Beauty's most iconic brands with a passion for disrupting the traditional beauty world with innovative, and fast exciting beauty products. 100% cruelty free. 
    Symbol Jewellery: Offering a wide range of symbolic necklaces, bracelets and earrings to make every special occasion memorable.


    Red Letter Days, My Beauty Matches and Freeman Beauty have donated fantastic prizes for giveaways on the day, so you keep your eyes and ears peeled for more info on how to enter.

    Hope you all enjoy Saturday! If you haven't got your ticket yet, there's still some available here.

              2016 Holiday Gift Guide        
    This guide includes games for young and old, for every sex, generation, temperament, and culture.

    Whatever you do, and whatever you celebrate, there is no better way to spend a Christmas, Hanukkah, or what have you than together with friends, family, and neighbors with a warm cup of (fair trade) cocoa and a stack of casual board and/or card games.

    Remember that the most valuable gift you can give is time. Don't just give your loved ones a game; play it with them. Find or start a local game group and join or form a community.

    I hope you enjoy the guide. Remember: the holidays are not only for sharing the warmth with family and friends, but also for sharing with those who have no one else to share with them. Give to your local shelters, hospitals, and so on, because that's the gift that keeps on giving.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10"

    I'm starting with this unusual choice for a board game list, because tablets are perfect platforms for playing thousands of face to face games for two to four players. Because you don't need to buy the physical components, you can stack all your games in a teeny space, the games (if not the tablet) cost very little, and you don't have to cut down old trees to make them or use fossil fuels to ship them. Tablets have their own environmental impact in their making, so that's a trade off; but if you're getting one anyway, most of the games on this list are available electronically.

    Nowadays, most games are also available on consoles, too.
    7 Wonders: Ages 9+, 4 to 7 players

    This is a game of drafting cards and building a wondrous city. You get a hand of cards; pick one and pass the rest. Everyone reveals the card they picked and puts it into their tableaux. Repeat. Done. Score points based on the combinations of cards you have at the end of all the passing.

    The graphics are fantastic, the theme not so visible. It's easy to learn, provides great choices, with depth enough to spare.

    Antike II: Ages 8+, 2 to 6 players

    Risk is a long game of laying low, with player elimination and just too much in the luck department; this game (and its predecessor but very rare and expensive Antike) is the perfect evolution to, and replacement for, Risk.

    It plays quicker, there's dice-less conflict, no one gets to lay low watching while others fight, and - excepting truly poor play - everyone has a chance for most of the game. There's also a lot more to the game than just conflict, but the rules are short and elegant.

    Other alternatives for the Risk player are Antike Duellum (for two players) and Risk Legacy (an odd game that moves in one game affect the next).

    Backgammon: Ages 6+, 2 players

    Backgammon is a classic game that can be enjoyed by children and parents alike. While there is a large amount of luck in the game, there are also many meaningful decisions, which makes this a good stepping stone to future games with more challenge, such as Checkers or Chess.
    Blokus, Blokus Trigon, Blokus Duo: Ages 8+, 4 players (Blokus), 2-4 players (Blokus Trigon), or 2 players (Blokus Duo)

    Blokus, Blokus Trigon, and Blokus Duo are abstract games with very simple rules. Each round you take a piece and place it on the board such that it touches any previous pieces you have played, but only corner to corner. It can touch other players' pieces along corners or sides.

    The rules are easy, the components are beautiful, and it's fun.
    Boggle: Ages 8+, 2 to 10 players

    Boggle is a word game, whose simple rules - find all the words you can within three minutes - make it a game that is both fun and quick. Adults can play with kids by restricting the adults to have to find words of four or five letters.

    The pictured version is a little quieter and less bulky than the old boxy version, and comes with a built-in electronic timer.
    Candle Quest: Ages 6+, 2 to 4 players

    A little plug for my own game. This is a simple set-collection auction game with a Hanukkah theme. It fits in well with the other games on the list: easy to learn, quick to play, lots of replayability. The theme makes it appropriate for all ages, and there's nothing overtly Jewish about it, other than that it's a menorah, so anyone should feel comfortable playing it.

    Of course, I may be biased, since I designed it. This game was published by Victory Point Games.
    Carcassonne, variants, and expansions: Ages 10+, 2 to 5 players

    Carcassonne is a bit more complex than some of the other games here, but the beautiful pieces and the fun game play are worth the time to learn. Pick a piece from the pile, rotate and place it so that it fits on the board (like dominoes), and then optionally place one of your pieces on that tile. There are several ways to score, some of which occur during the game and some of which only at the end of the game.

    There are some more rules than that, but not too many more. The game play is engaging enough to make you want to play it more than once in a single sitting.

    There are dozens of versions to the game, and some of the versions have several expansions.

    Catan: Ages 8+, 3 to 4 players

    This game, formerly known as The Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride, are the perfect adult games for beginning gamers.

    All you need to do is collect ten points through building settlements and cities, connecting roads, adding developments and trading with your fellow players. A unique board that changes each time you play, constant interaction even when it's not your turn, and a great balance of luck versus strategy makes this The Game to acquire if you still think that board games are only for kids.

    Chess / Xiangqi / Shogi: Ages 6+, 2 players

    These three games, Chess, XiangQi (Chinese Chess), and Shogi (Japanese Chess), are all top-tier 2-player games that can occupy a curious mind for an entire lifetime. They also have wide followings, so learning the game is learning a language that will admit you to a culture of fellow players around the world.

    Board and piece prices range from inexpensive to very expensive, and Chess pieces come in many different themes.
    Chinese Checkers: Ages 6+, 2 to 6 players

    Another great abstract, and a pretty one if you find one with nice marbles. The rules are simple: move or jump your pieces from one side to the other. Finding chains of jumps is a thrill for all ages.
    Carrom / Crokinole / Nok-Hockey / Air Hockey / Billiards / Foosball, etc.: Ages 6+, 2 players

    Carrom is the most played tabletop game in India. Like Billiards, the object is to knock pieces off the table area, which you do by flicking wooden disks with your fingers. Crokinole is another classic finger flicking game, as is a racing game called Pitchcar. All kinetic tabletop games, from snooker to billiards to foosball, are loved by players of all ages.
    Cards: Ages 3+, 1 to any number of players

    Decks of cards, whether they are the well known Western type with 52 cards in 4 suits, or special European or Asian decks, are a great starting point for any number of wonderful games, including Bridge, Hearts, Skat, Cribbage, Pinochle, Oh Hell, Bullsh*t, Durak, President, Spades, Solitaire, and many others.

    Check out Pagat.com for the rules to these games and to thousands of others.
    Codenames: Ages 10+, 4-10 players

    Codenames is a new, fun game that uses words in an unusual way. Two teams, the clue givers alternate trying to give one word clues that match as many of their team's cards as possible. You must find a word that matches multiple other words, but not any of your opponent's words or the assassin's word. It's mindbending, and the game is infinitely replayable.

    A great game for non-gamers and gamers alike.

    Dixit: Ages 10+, 3-6 (12) players

    Dixit is an incredible game, especially for non-gamers. It is loved as a creative exercise: pick a card and give a word, phrase, song, dance, or any other clue to describe it, but not too perfectly. The other players try to play cards that also match your clue. You only get points if some people guess which was your card and some people don't.

    The fun is in the creativity of the clues, and I've yet to see a game where even the most stodgy non-gamer doesn't have fun.

    There are now several expansions, which are all good. This game, like many others, was inspired by Apples to Apples, another nifty game for the casual non-gamers who walk among us.
    Froggy Boogie: Ages 3-9, 2 to 4 players

    Froggy Boogie is a brilliant game to frustrate grownups and please younger children. All you have to do is remember where the picture of the fly is, under the left eye or the right eye? The dice have only colors - no counting necessary. It's a perfect first game.
    Go / Pente: Ages 6+, 2 players

    Beyond Chess, Checkers, or XiangQi is the absolute perfect game of Go (aka Weiqi); it's so popular, there are twenty-four hour television stations dedicated to it, an anime series based on it, and it's considered one of the four arts of the Chinese scholar.

    It really is that good, and the rules are easy, too. Best of all, a built-in handicap system allows two people of any skill levels to enjoy a challenging game against each other.

    You should play with the nicest board you can afford.

    Pente, a game of getting five stones in a row, can be played on the same board. The rules are just as easy as Go, and while the game has much less depth, it is also a little less intimidating to new players.
    Jungle Speed: Ages 8+, 3 to 8 players

    There are several games of speed reaction / pattern recognition on the market; I chose this one because of the components. Players flip cards in turn and grab for the totem in the middle as soon as two matching cards are revealed. Don't play with friends who have sharp nails or finger jewelry.

    Love Letter: Age 8+, 2-4 players

    This game has just 16 cards, but it packs a full, replayable deduction, bluffing game into 10 minutes. It's a top seller, takes 30 seconds to learn, and is challenging to play.

    It's not my type of game, but I'm in the minority.
    Magic the Gathering: Ages 8+, 2 players

    After two decades, Magic is still The Bomb when it comes to collectible card games, although Yu-Gi-Oh sells more cards. These are not easy games to learn, but quick start guides can get you off the ground fairly quickly, and then you have months and years of challenging game play ahead of you.

    Don't get sucked into having to buy endless amounts of boosters; to play the game outside of a tournament, you only need a few hundred common cards which can be picked up for a penny each on various sites.
    Mancala: Ages 5+, 2 players

    This is widely known around the world under various names (e.g. Oware), and the national game of many African countries.

    The rules are easy: pick up all the seeds in one of your bowls and place one in each bowl around the table. If you land on an empty space on your side, you win the seed and any seeds opposite.

    There are a few more rules, but that's about it. It takes a few games to get up to speed; early victories tend to be lopsided. Once you get the hang of it, you can play several, quick, challenging games in succession.
    Memory: Ages 3 to 12, 2 to 5 players

    This is a first game for kids and adults, and a great game for it, because kids get the hang of it very quickly and adults find it a real challenge without having to pretend. All you need are one or two decks of cards, but an infinite number of these games are sold with various different pictures and themes.

    You can play with more than 5 players, but I wouldn't recommend it.
    Nefarious: Ages 8+, 2 to 6 players

    This is a game of mad scientists that is great for 2 to 6 players, and doesn't sacrifice speed with more players. Each round, you select one of four actions. collect money from any neighbors who selected actions that your minions are invested in, perform your action, and then check to see if you won. The actions are: invest minions, play cards, take cards, or take money.

    The cards are fun and the game is quick and replayable, because, in each game, you play with some random twists that make that game's experience unique.
    No Thanks: Ages 7+, 3 to 5 players

    This is an easy to learn and addictive little card game. A card is flipped up, and you either take the card and any tokens on it or place one of your tokens on it and pass it to the next player. Cards are bad, and tokens are good. But runs of cards only penalize you for the lowest valued card.

    A simple and fun game.

    Pandemic / Pandemic Legacy

    Cooperative games used to be either very boring, very childish, or very hippy. A new breed of cooperative games are nail-bitingly challenging and fun.

    Pandemic is a cooperative game of saving the world from disease. Other cooperative games include Lord of the Rings, Shadows Over Camelot, and Forbidden Island.

    The new Pandemic Legacy (like Risk Legacy, mentioned above), is a version that plays out: each time you play the world is permanently changed with stickers and torn cards; after dozens of plays, the game is over.
    Parade: Ages 7+, 3 to 5 players

    Another easy to learn and addictive little card game. Add cards to the end of the "parade", taking cards from the parade into your pile based on a few simple rules. Points are bad ... usually.
    Pit: Ages 7+, 4 to 10 players

    I don't know if you can play up to 10 players with the original game, but you should. This is a loud trading game. The cards are dealt out, someone says go, and everyone shouts for what they need. The first player to collect a full set wins.

    Raucous and fun. The deluxe version comes with it's own bell to signal the start of trading.
    Poker: Ages 6+, 2 to any number of players

    Playing for money is not a good habit, but a nice set of poker chips and some decks of cards is a great way to spend an evening. There are countless poker games, too.
    Scrabble: Ages 8+, 2 (or 2 to 4) players.

    Scrabble purists will tell you that you should only play with 2 players and a Chess clock, but for casual purposes it can be played with up to four. It is The word game, and for a good reason.

    My favorite way to play is to ditch the board and just play Anagrams: turn over tiles, and first to call a word gets it. A similar, recommended game is Bananagrams, where players race to create their own crossword boards.
    Set: Ages 6+, 2 to 10 players

    Those who don't have it won't enjoy it. For those who do, it hits just the right spot in the brain. All you have to do is call out matches when you see them, but the matches have to match or not match in all four characteristics.
    Stratego: Ages 6 to 15, 2 players

    By the time I was in my teens, I had outgrown this, but it remains a seminal game for early players, a great introductory war game with all the basic elements: strategy, tactics, and bluffing. Avoid the electronic ones; they break and they're noisy.
    Ticket To Ride: Ages 8+, 2 to 5 players

    Many of my fellow bloggers think that this, rather than Catan, is The Game. I used to disagree, but I think I have come around. New players will find this a great intro game, with lots of choices and great game play.

    There are several editions of the game, and the 1910 expansion is recommended.
    Tichu: Ages 8+, 4 players

    A partnership "ladder" game, similar to the game President (sometimes known by its crude name). It's similar, but the addition of a few special cards, a partnership, and passing elevate this to a perfect game for two couples. This is THE card game in gamer circles, and it's not at all complicated.
    Time's Up: Ages 8+, 4 to 10 players

    This consistently ranks as the number one party game on all of my fellow bloggers' lists. It's the number one ranked party game on Board Game Geek. Which says something.

    It plays a lot like the parlor game Celebrities.
    Uno: Ages 6 to 12, 2 to 8 players

    This could be a child's second game, after Memory, and before moving on to real games. There's not much in the way of thinking involved, but its simple rules, portability, and quick play make it an ideal game for younger kids in almost any situation.

    Just be sure to move up to better games when the kids are ready.
    Wits and Wagers / Balderdash: Ages 8+, 4+ players

    These are party trivia games where knowledge of trivia is not so important. The question is asked, and each player writes down an answer. These are revealed and players then bid on the answers they think are best. The winning answer, and the winning bids, all score points.

    Wits and Wagers does this in the form of a poker game setting, while Balderdash requires you to make up funny possible answers. Both have won awards and acclaim as an order of magnitude better than you-know-which famous trivia game.
    Zooloretto: Ages 8+, 2 to 5 players

    Winner of dozens of awards, Zooloretto is a cute game for kids and decent game for adults. Simply take the animals as they are revealed from the deck and try to fit them into your zoo without overcrowding.

    A few extra rules and some clever mechanisms makes the game enjoyable for all ages.


    Enjoy,
    Yehuda
              Beyond Market and State: The Renaissance of the Commons        

    The “peer to peer” and commons-oriented vision for a new type of civilization and economic system starts from an analysis of what is fundamentally wrong with the current economic system. Rather than put forward a utopian ideal, the P2P vision is based on generalizing the already emerging forms of peer production, peer governance, and peer property.1 It makes three primary critiques of the dys­functions of the present system:
    1. The current political economy is based on a false idea of material abundance.We call it pseudo-abundance. It is based on a commitment to permanent growth, the infinite accumulation of capital and debt-driven dynamics through compound interest. This is unsustainable, of course, because infinite growth is logically and physically impossible in any physically constrained, finite system.2
    2. The current political economy is based on a false idea of “immaterial scarcity.”It believes that an exaggerated set of intellectual property monopolies – for copyrights, trademarks and patents – should restrain the sharing of scientific, social and economic innovations.3 Hence the system discourages human cooperation, excludes many people from benefiting from innovation and slows the collective learning of humanity. In an age of grave global challenges, the political economy keeps many practical alternatives sequestered behind private firewalls or unfunded if they cannot generate adequate profits.
    3. The pseudo-abundance that destroys the biosphere, and the contrived scarcity that keeps innovation artificially scarce and slow, does not advance social justice.Although people may have a formal legal equality of civil and political rights, serious and increasing material inequalities make those rights more nominal than real. At the other extreme, the polity explicitly grants human rights to the artificial legal construct of the for-profit corporation, a pathological institution that is solely beholden to its shareholders, and is constitutionally unable to take into account the common good.
    The present corporate form is a machine designed to deny and ignore negative environmental and social externalities as much as possible. Because it is driven by profit-maximizing corporations, capitalism is not just a scarcity-allocation mech­anism, but a mechanism for engineering artificial scarcities, as epitomized in the sterile Terminator Seeds developed by Monsanto.4 Such seeds are specifically designed so that they can’t reproduce themselves, which not only kills cycles of abundance in nature, it also makes farmers permanently dependent on a corporation.
    The above analysis suggests that any solution to contemporary capitalism needs to address these three issues in an integral fashion, i.e., production that allows the continued survival, sustainability and flourishing of the biosphere; protecting and promoting the free sharing of social innovations and knowledge; and the recognition that social and economic justice will not be achieved unless we first recognize the actual scarcity of nature and the actual abundance of knowledge and innovation.

    Vision, values and objectives

    Contemporary society is generally seen as consisting of a public sphere, dominated by the state and public authorities; a private sphere, consisting of profit-maximizing corporations; and a subordinated civil society where the less privileged sectors have great difficulties in ascertaining and asserting their rights and interests.
    The peer-to-peer vision relies upon the three major sectors of society – the state, market and civil society – but with different roles and in a revitalized equilibrium. At the core of the new society is civil society, with the commons as its main institution, which uses peer production to generate common value outside of the market logic. These commons consist of both the natural heritage of mankind (oceans, the atmosphere, land, etc.), and commons that are created through collective societal innovation, many of which can be freely shared because of their immaterial nature (shared knowledge, software and design, culture and science). Civil society hosts a wide variety of activities that are naturally and structurally beneficial to the commons – not in an indirect and hypothetical way, as claimed by the “Invisible Hand” metaphor, but in a direct way, by entities that are structurally and constitutionally designed to work for the common good. This sphere includes entities such as trusts, which act as stewards of physical resources of common use (land trusts, natural parks), and for-benefit foundations, which help maintain the infrastructure of cooperation for cultural and digital commons.
    The Wikimedia Foundation, which maintains the funding for Wikipedia’s technological development is a well-known example in the domain of open knowledge. In like fashion, the Linux Foundation and Apache Foundation support two leading software development communities. It is important to note that these entities do not function as classic NGOs that use “command and control” management and salaried personnel to allocate resources to projects; rather, they use their resources and credibility to help paid and unpaid contributors continue to develop their commons according to their own consensus judgments.
    Around this new core is a private sphere, where market entities with private agendas and private governance can still create added-value around the commons by producing relatively scarce goods and services. However, because of the pathological and destructive nature of profit-maximizing corporations, in the P2P economy this private sphere is reformed to serve more ethical ends by using proper taxation, revenue and benefit-sharing modalities to help generate positive externalities, e.g., infrastructure, shareable k