Warm a foodie’s heart (and belly) this holiday season with these eco-friendly and beautiful gifts. I’ve included some personal favorites that I use in my own kitchen (and plan on gifting to others), plus a smattering of newly discovered items I covet. Notice how each product on the list tells a story — of artisans, farmers, foodways and families — and in doing so, offers a window into how others may live.
Looking for fresh-roasted, organic, fair trade coffee that you can truly trace back to the farmer? Through a new coffee CSA – aptly named CoffeeCSA – you can support small-scale farmers in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Peru and Mexico and get your share of the harvest every month of the year.
Development Marketplace winner Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (PCC) was featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Its newest initiative CoffeeCSA.org found its roots in humble beginnings. Springing from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which began in the 1960’s in Switzerland, consumers receive their produce directly from the farmer through a household subscription paid for in advance. Then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, the consumer cum subscriber receives a portion of the overall harvest.
The package sits by the mailbox, its aromatic contents promising a richly flavored, caffeinated start to the day. Anyone can get his java delivered from Starbucks or Peet’s, but this particular box has a different, very specific provenance. These coffee beans have traveled from Meliya Ame’s four-acre farm in Ethiopia, with only one small detour: a San Francisco coffee roaster who toasted the still-green beans to order, then sped the delivery to one of the “investors” in Ame’s family farm — a cup of joe for a regular Joe.
The community-supported agriculture movement, which provides consumers a direct link to local farmers, is extending to coffee growers in Latin America and elsewhere.
FUN though it is to pretend that a magic bunny provided the chocolate in your Easter basket, it is much more likely to have been grown by smallholders in West Africa, the region that produces 70% of the world's cocoa. The crop is an important source of income for many countries—the largest producer, Côte d'Ivoire, earns over 20% of its export revenues from cocoa. But although global sales of chocolate amount to some $75 billion a year, growers capture only a tiny fraction of this: around $4 billion a year from the sale of cocoa beans.