Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Trade As One :: A Fair Trade Subscription Box Delivered Quarterly {Spring Box Review & Code}

Live Simply. Buy Ethically. That's the motto behind the latest awesome subscription box company, Trade As One. This quarterly subscription service features products from Fair Trade businesses that are high quality, ethically sourced, and are striving to make a difference. Trade As One is passionate about using Fair Trade as a means to promote sustainable business and break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world. They partner with producers that are fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, human slavery, and extreme poverty. By buying Fair Trade you are definitely stepping in the right direction, and definitely making an impact on vulnerable families and individuals around the world.

Trade As One's seasonal boxes are not just a unique experience. They're a chance to introduce you to awesome Fair Trade businesses that need your support to continue making a positive impact in their communities. I usually buy wholesome organic foods and organic body care products. A step further for me is going with ethical companies that are responsibly and fairly treating their workers and paying a fair wage. To me, it's simple. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

I was generously sent the Spring Box to review. (Please keep in mind that as of this week, box contents have changed to the Summer Box.) Inside are 14 full-size products from Fair Trade producers. There is a gluten-free option at checkout in case you are gluten-free like me. I wasn't aware that this was an option, so I'm glad to hear that it is! Here's what was inside my Spring box:
Setting the tone for the entire box upon opening is Organic Ruby Red Rice from Alter Eco. I've had the pleasure of reviewing for Alter Eco in the past, so I know the high quality, delicious foods that they produce. Their commitment to fair prices, direct trade, community development, and environmental stewardship help create a better life for their farming families. Showcasing Alter Eco along with a booklet about the story of rice really brings to light the positive impact that Fair Trade and furthermore, organic farming, has on a family. This heirloom rice comes from Thailand, is USDA Certified Organic and has a nutty, hearty flavor.
Organic Mascobado Sugar from Alter Eco : This unrefined cane sugar has a fine texture with a delicious aroma of vanilla maple syrup. I have used this sugar before to make cookies, using a 1:1 ratio with great results. I prefer more nutrient dense sugars to refined white sugars, and this is a fantastic option. This product is produced in the Philippines and is also USDA Certified Organic.

Organic Royal Black Quinoa from Alter Eco : A nutty Supergrain from the Andes, this variety of quinoa is especially unique with a delicious crunch and hearty taste. Quinoa is a great gluten-free grain alternative, and it provides lots of protein and essential amino acids.This product is produced in the Bolivia, and is USDA Certified Organic.

Sun-Dried Tomato Caper Spread from Canaan Fair Trade : My hubby loves sun-dried tomatoes so naturally he's been enjoying this spread. It's just sun-dried tomatoes, organic capers, and organic olive oil. It's a bit tangy, and compliments feta cheese on (gluten-free!) crackers quite well. I think it would be great on a turkey sandwich too. Canaan Fair Trade helps Palestinian rural communities that are rocked by instability by promoting a Fair Trade model so they have the means to sustain their livelihoods and culture. The tomatoes in this spread are actually sun-dried by women-owned cooperatives in Palestine which is pretty neat. 

Southwest Salsa Mix from Women's Bean Project : The definition of Fair Trade isn't exclusive to fairly traded ingredients from other countries. Poverty and unfair life circumstances exist in our country as well. The Women's Bean Project provides employment and training to women suffering from urban poverty and difficult life situations in Denver, Colorado. Their goal is to help transform women's lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency for a better community. This salsa mix was delicious in guacamole, and I'm planning on using the rest of the mix to make a homemade salsa using the recipe on the back of the package.
Cream Scone Mix from Women's Bean Project : This wonderful organization partnered with The Denver Tea Room to create this mix. Sadly, it's not gluten-free so I cannot make them but I'll be passing this on to my sister-in-law also. Based on the natural, simply ingredient list, these are probably amazing though!

Organic Maftoul Couscous from Canaan Fair Trade : Another Fair Trade goodie prepared according to ancient methods by women-owned Palestinian Cooperatives. Although not gluten-free, it looks delicious, and the artisan aspect of this hand-rolled couscous is beautiful. I'll be passing this on to my sister-in-law to try. On the box is states "Quality and distinction for our customers. Pride and dignity for our farmers." Canaan Fair Trade guarantees fair prices to farmers, and they also reinvest a portion of profits in development projects for farming communities.

Mixed Berry GEObars from Equal Exchange/Traidcraft : I received a whole box of six chewy cereal bars that Buddy really likes. Although not gluten-free, they are packed with delicious Fair Trade ingredients like berries and honey from Chile, rice from Thailand, raisins from South Africa, and sugar from Zambia. Equal Exchange wants to connect you to the small farmers that grow their ingredients!
Rolled Oats from Bob's Red Mill : I'm very familiar with the vast array of products Bob's Red Mill produces, and these are our favorite morning oats. While not Fair Trade (to my knowledge), Trade As One has included these to create awareness about their Hungry for Change program. This 5-day food challenge invites you to stand in solidarity with the global poor by eating a diet of oats, rice and beans which equates to eating on less than $2 per day. Definitely a neat challenge!

Organic Rooibos Tea from Choice Organic Teas : A yummy, fruity Rooibos herbal tea with vanilla extract that's perfect with a bit of honey. This tea is Certified Organic, and of course Fair Trade Certified which guarantees fair wages for workers.
Shea Butter Dead Sea Spa Soap from Alaffia : A delightfully creamy bar soap featuring rosemary and eucalyptus for a lovely experience for the senses. It's a completely all-natural, moisturizing bar with just six ingredients including shea butter, virgin coconut oil, dead sea clay, french green clay and essential oils. Alaffia uses Fair Trade, handcrafted, unrefined shea butter from Togo, West Africa to advance gender equality, help alleviate poverty and empower their communities.

Cocoa & Shea Butter Lip Balm from Alaffia : A very moisturizing lip balm with a slight mocha scent. It features Fair Trade cocoa and shea butter, beeswax, palm kernel oil, and virgin coconut oil for truly natural and effective lip care.
Milk Chocolate Bar from Divine Chocolate : Yes, I opened this first and it was gone shortly thereafter! It's smooth, rich, and very satisfying. Chocolate production around the work is surrounded by awful conditions, unfair pricing, and extreme poverty. With Divine, Ghanian farmers receive a fair price for their cocoa and actually own 45% of the company, which means their influence on the company and share in the profits allows them to transform their communities for the better.

Jelly Beans from Women's Bean Project : While I'm not thrilled with the food dyes, these are really delicious jelly beans that taste much better than any generic store-bought jelly beans I've had before.

My Spring box from Trade As One has been a wonderful introduction to several Fair Trade companies I've never experienced before. This box is well-rounded with versatile Fair Trade foods for main courses, sides, snacks, appetizers, and desserts. Each company has a Fair Trade story and a specific, defined focus to better their local communities.

I love, love, love that everything is full-size. The whole sample-size subscription box thing has grown on me over time, but I definitely prefer to test full-size products. It's given me a chance to really experience each product to the fullest extent possible so I can best form my overall opinion.

I love that I was able to experience several products from one brand. Sometimes in subscription boxes such as this you might discover a new brand but find that you really disliked the product you tried (although that wasn't the case this time!). Trying several products from one brand gives you a more intimate experience with each brand within the box of fair trade products.

The difficult part about most subscription boxes is that being gluten-free can limit my ability to experience all that the box offers. However, Trade As One has a gluten-free option at checkout!

Love something from your box? You can buy your favorites from Trade As One's online shop too. Based on the retail value of the Spring Box contents, it's total retail value is about $82. Considering the beautiful mission of Trade As One, the experience as a whole, the cost of shipping such an enormous box, and all the business costs involved, $99 is an amazing price for such an amazing experience.

I can wholeheartedly recommend subscribing to Trade As One. This box was a great way to show me the realities of how food should be produced. Since I like knowing where my food comes from, naturally I like knowing how it was produced also. Fair Trade just seems right.

Subscribe Now---------> $99/box, delivered every 3 months. Always free shipping.

Trade As One has offered the code, Reynolds20, that will give $20 to Food for the Hungry's bean program for every new subscription - that's enough to feed a family of four living in poverty for a year

Connect with Trade As One on Facebook and Twitter
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review for free. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.


Janell said...

That stuff looks awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Brittney Minor said...

That is one awesome box!