We’re delighted to share a guest post by Kyle Freund, Digital Content Manager at Fairtrade America.
Last month may have been Fair Trade Month, but why not celebrate all year long? Remember, being fair is about more than just looking for a #FairTrade label (though that is an important part). Being fair means thinking about the things you buy and how they’ve made their way to your shopping cart. Every bar of chocolate, every piece of gum, every single banana in the bunch has a story to tell.
Here are a few facts and tips to chew on the next time you grab a shopping cart, or the next time you see a friend considering that tin of cheaply-produced coffee, or the next time you’re looking at a lovely black frock with a price that’s too good to be true (it likely is).
Get the facts – Looking into where your food and clothes come from can help you live your values. Did you know that 25 million smallholder farmers grow 80% of the world’s coffee, but many aren’t earning a living they can depend on? Or that there over 20.9 million victims of forced labor and human trafficking around the world?
These things aren’t fair. Investigate and get information on the reality behind what you buy.
• Arm yourself with info from Fairtrade America’s section on farmers and workers.
• Check out SlaveryFootprint.org to learn about your ‘Slavery Footprint’ and how you can help fight forced labor.
• Check out the work of advocacy organizations, like Green America or Oxfam to keep up to date on current issues.
Ask the tough questions – You have a right to speak up. Don’t just take what’s on the shelf. Let shop owners know that you’re looking for fairly traded and ethically-produced goods. Ask questions about where products come from.
Understand Fairtrade’s impact – Fairtrade has a Theory of Change outlining the world we want to see and our place in it. An important part of our work is making sure that we’re making an impact for farmers and workers. According to recent research:
• Fairtrade certification helps Ugandan coffee farmers increase household living standards by 30 percent and significantly reduces the prevalence and depth of poverty (Chiputwa, et. al, 2013).
• Workers on Colombian banana plantations reported an average 34 percent increase in income due to their affiliation to Fairtrade. 98 percent consider that their quality of life has improved since joining Fairtrade (CODER, 2014).
• In a sample of 51 Mexican coffee farmers (26 Fairtrade and 25 non-Fairtrade), there is a proven connection between Fairtrade certification and environmentally-friendly farming practices (Jaffe, 2012).
Fairtrade farmers and workers frequently tell us how certification helps them improve their businesses and their communities, but much of that impact comes when they can sell their products on Fairtrade terms. Support brands, like Glee Gum and others that carry the Fairtrade Mark.
Remember that Fairtrade is just one part of the solution – Creating a more sustainable world is a huge undertaking and Fairtrade is one tool in your ‘change-maker’ utility belt! A good approach is to shop LOFTy – local, organic or Fairtrade – for maximum effect.
Take the Fairest State Quiz – This one’s just for fun. Follow our friend ‘Greg’ through his day and help him make good, fair choices. Along the way, you’ll find out how fair you really are! Check out fairtradeamerica.org/faireststate.
So, don’t just rest on your ethical shopper laurels. Cogitate before you masticate!
Kyle Freund is a lifelong advocate of conscious consuming, from his youth growing up on a small-scale dairy farm in Wisconsin, to his service with cooperatives in the US Peace Corps, to his work with coffee farmers in Latin America. For the past six years, Kyle has helped Fairtrade International in Bonn, Germany, and Fairtrade America tell their stories and the stories of the farmers and workers they serve.
Frowns seem to abound this fall. But, here are a few happy places you’re apt to see GLEE out and about in the community.
43rd Anniversary Celebration at Georgetown Market, Indianapolis, IN ~ 11/5 – 11/6/16
Food Allergy Bloggers Conference at the Denver Renaissance Hotel, Denver, CO ~ 11/4 – 11/6/16
Fall for the Fells at Whole Foods Market, Woburn, MA ~ 11/6/16
10th Annual Natural Living Expo’s Sample Bar at the Royal Plaza Trade Center, Marlborough, MA ~ 11/12 – 11/13/16
Anniversary Celebration at the Sunspot Natural Market, Kokomo, IN ~ 11/19/16
Small Business Saturday at Total Health Foods, Wyandotte, MI ~ 11/26/16
And hey, anytime or place you see someone looking glum, consider offering them a piece of Glee Gum. It just might cheer them up, chum!
Looking for a dead-simple, DIY way to scare up some decorative Halloween treats this year? It only takes a couple of Glee Gum Pops, a few household items, and a half hour to create the cutest mummy lollipops this side of a crypt.
– a bag of Halloween Glee Gum Pops (any Glee Gum Pops will do the trick!)
– toilet tissue
– a pen or marker
– white thread (or dental floss, if you’re in a pinch)
– optional: a few wee, willing witches or game ghosts to assist you
Step 1: Roll out about 11 squares of toilet paper and cut them in half lengthwise to form two long strips.
Step 2: Begin by covering the head of the lollipop with tissue, then continue wrapping the sides until all packaging is covered. Kids don’t need to be particularly neat here!
Step 3: Tie a knot around the stick with the ends of the tissue, and trim any extra tissue as necessary.
Step 4: For extra freaky mummy flair, cut a length of white string (or dental floss). Wrap it in circles around the mummy and then tie it off.
Step 5: Add some eyes and a facial expression to the mummy with a pen or marker! If you happen to have googly eyes lying around your house, well, gluing those on could be a super good idea, too.
Step 6: Enjoy! Glee Gum Pops contain no artificial colors, flavors,sweeteners, or preservatives. They’re vegan and allergy-friendly, too. So, you can rest easy knowing that no matter how scary your creations may look, there’s actually nothing scary sneaking around inside ’em.
How did your mummy pops turn out? Snap a pic and tag it #MadewithGlee so we can see. With your permission, we might even share shots of your creepy creatures with our chums. Don’t be too frightened if they POP out at you later!
A Halloween whodunnit: is your candy a trick or a treat?
Ooo. Creepy question!
But do not fear. Here’s an infographic to help you determine which is witch. Er, which.
Something to chew on: how much time have you spent on introspection lately? Not to burst your bubble, but this is a really important thing to do. Pause and and take a moment to think about it. You just might find that now is the moment to answer one of life’s deepest, most burning questions:
Really. Are you bubbly like bubblegum? Cool like peppermint? How have you gone this long without knowing?!?! Take our quick quiz to find out. The quiz ends with a coupon to save 20% on EVERYTHING at GleeGum.com, too. You can even share your new insights (and coupon) with pals if you’d like. So, go on. Learn a little. Chew a lot!
A few autumn events where you’re apt to see GLEE. Yippee!
23rd Anniversary at Tunie’s Natural Grocery & Vitamin Market ~ Coral Springs, FL ~ Palm Beach Gardens, FL ~ Fort Lauderdale, FL ~ 9/1 – 9/30/16
Fall Into Arts in Edina, MN ~ 9/10/16
The Victorian Fair in Downtown Melrose, MA ~ 9/11/16
Fair Trade Campaigns’ New England Regional Conference at Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, MA ~ 9/17/16
Town Day in Arlington, MA ~ 9/17/16
Locals’ Afternoon at Whole Foods Market, Hyannis, MA ~ 09/24/16
Grand Re-Opening of Be Natural Market, Boone, NC ~ 10/1/16
Customer Appreciation Day at Marlene’s Market & Deli, Federal Way, WA ~ 10/3/16
Customer Appreciation Cookout at Garden Patch Market, Mishawaka, IN ~ 10/7/16
Health and Wellness Expo by Kankakee Natural Foods at the Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene, Kankakee, IL ~ 10/8/16
Fall Open House and Non-GMO Fair at the Natural Health Center, Kalamazoo, MI ~ 10/8/16
Customer Appreciation Day at the Food Co-op, Port Townsend, WA ~ 10/9/16
Gluten-Free and Nut-Free Trick-or-Treat Event at Naturally Soergel’s, Wexfod, PA ~ 10/15/16
Boo at the Zoo at the Akron Zoo, Akron, OH ~ 10/15 – 10/30/16
Annual Trick or Treat Drive at Holiday Market, Canton, MI ~ 10/20/16
39th Anniversary Celebration at the Sunspot Natural Market, West Lafayette, IN ~ 10/22/16
Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) Walk in Jacksonville, FL ~ 10/22/16
39th Anniversary Celebration at the Sunspot Natural Market, Kokomo, IN ~ 10/22/16
Halloween Candy Swap & Drop at SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA ~ 10/23/16
Trick or Treat Event at Holiday Market, Canton, MI ~ 10/26/16
Healthier Halloween at Whole Foods Market, Jacksonville, FL ~ 10/31/16
When our company moved into a new office last year, it was hard for us to imagine a garden on the vacant lot behind it. The property was sprawling, overgrown, and loaded with debris. It had been so long abandoned, only unwelcome critters called it home. But we summoned our green thumbs, rolled up our shirt sleeves, and, eventually, managed to turn that forgotten space into a thriving, sustainable, organic vegetable garden. Here are a few lessons we learned along the way.
1. Have a “workday.”
Friends and family are often happy- OK, OK, willing- to help start a garden. “Workdays” are ideal for making new beds, moving or planting trees, carving paths, and any number of your other, larger-scale projects. Keep your list of tasks manageable, the time window relatively tight, and the music playing. While it’s about getting stuff done, it’s also an opportunity to have fun and build community! Be sure to offer snacks and drinks afterwards, so everyone’s still your friend in the end. Bonus points if you promise to share whatever produce you grow.
2. Get your soil tested.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important. Since our land once housed an old gas station, we opted for raised beds and trucked in organic soil. We weren’t sure what kind of soil we had, nutrient-wise, and were a little lax on getting it tested. We actually waited to do it ‘til after we had planted our first plants! As it turned out, our guesses about the soil we had were way off– instead of being under-fertilized, ours was over-fertilized. Bottom line: get the right answers from a local lab so you can treat your soil correctly. The blog A Way to Garden is also a great resource to review before you begin.
3. Zucchini plants will take over your life.
Zucchinis have a cool name, are full of fiber and vitamins, and are super easy to grow. The perfect crop? Perhaps- but, they may take over! Plant about half as many plants as you think you need. (Same goes for summer squash.) If you don’t spot the younger fruit hiding underneath the huge leaves, before you know it your zucchinis will be the size of your leg. Our kitchen counters were covered with ’em, our friends grew tired of eating them, and we ended up giving many of ours away to a local soup kitchen.
4. You don’t need to spend a lot on perennials to get plants that come back.
Our first year, we planted a ton of annual flowers just to have something pretty to look at in the space. This year, we were delighted to find them ALL over our garden! Zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers dropped their seeds and then returned the next year in beautiful, unexpected places. We’ve found cleome to be a particularly lovely, long-lasting flower that looks great in the middle of beds and beside the front door of our office.
5. Native plants are the way to go.
In the summer, life can get in the way of, shall we say, consistent plant-watering. Listen, the beach calls! Luckily we learned that using plants native to our home, Rhode Island, meant that they would be better adapted and more resilient than any to be found at big box nurseries. We also discovered varieties we hadn’t known to be native to Rhode Island (a New England prickly pear cactus? Color us surprised!). For local plant sales near you, check out PlantNative.org.
6. Your blood, sweat, and tears taste delicious.
Yes, it will be the hardest you’ve ever worked for a tomato. Yes, you will be consistently overwhelmed– by weeds, or sun, or bounty. And yes, you will love it!
Have YOU ever started a garden? How did it go? (And grow?) Is there anything you wished you’d known before? We’d love to hear. Tell us your story in the comments below.
Where’s the GLEE this summer? So many places! Here’s hoping a few happen to be near you.
Whole Foods Market Presents the Kiss 108 Summer Movie Series at Ellsworth McAfee Park, Northborough, MA ~ 8/4/16
20th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival, Los Angeles, CA ~ 8/5 – 8/7/16
Annual Back To School Bash with Whole Foods at the Seminole Town Center Mall, Altamonte Springs, FL ~ 8/6/16
Annual Celebrate the Day Event at Food Matters, Brevard, NC ~ 8/13/16
Gluten Free Expo at Harmony Farms, Raleigh, NC ~ 8/13/16
Save the Bay Swim at the Newport Navy Base, Jamestown, RI ~ 8/13/16
Lights on Stillwater in Stillwater, OK ~ 8/17/16
The Taste of Main in Old Bellevue, WA ~ 8/20/16
Back to School Bash at Sprouts Farmers Market, Austin, TX ~ 8/20/16
Yellowstone Trail Fest at the Starke County Fairgrounds, Hamlet, IN ~ 8/20 – 8/21/16
Build Your Own Back to School Lunches, Whole Foods Market, Santa Rosa, CA ~ 8/31/16
We see you, you beautiful yoga-going, green juice drinking, FitBit wearer. Reading food labels. Taking the stairs. Cutting vegetables into elaborate shapes to disguise them for your kids. And, we offer you with a big, virtual high five.
You’re fighting the good fight to lead a healthy life. It’s a noble pursuit and no mean feat, especially when neon drive-thru signs light your way home and the pizza delivery guy’s number just might be on speed dial in your phone. But while you dutifully swap Slurpees for smoothies, have you ever happened to check what’s inside your chewing gum?
Studies have shown that gum can be a small but mighty (and mighty tasty) part of a healthy lifestyle– from curbing cravings and helping with calorie reduction to aiding with focus, concentration, memory, and even cavity prevention. Most mainstream gum, however, is chock-full of artificial, unpronounceable, and unappetizing ingredients.
Yup. Flip over any pack of conventional gum, and you’ll most likely find that it contains artificial flavors, colors (like Blue 2 Lake or Red 40), sweeteners (like Aspartame or Acesulfame K), preservatives (like BHT), and 100% synthetic gum base for chewy texture.
Not Glee Gum! As our friends from Naturally Savvy show in the comparison below, Glee instead uses natural flavors, colors (like red beet and beta carotene), sweeteners (like the Fair Trade cane sugar in Classic Glee Gum and xylitol in Sugar-Free Glee), and natural, chicle gum base. No additives. No preservatives. Just delicious gum.
So, we invite you to change what you chew! And we also say cheers to healthy, wonderful YOU.
We know you’ve got the moves! Show us how you’re staying healthy and active this summer for a chance to win oodles of Glee Gum and Pops.
Three grand prize winners will be selected at random shortly after August 5, 2016. Everyone who enters will get an exclusive discount code to use on GleeGum.com in the meantime.
Now, you don’t need to be a star athlete to participate. In this contest, tricycles count just as much as triathlons. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, either. Smart phones take great shots! So, give it a go, shutterbugs. The pic you snap today just might mean free gum to snap tomorrow.
She returned to her car and began driving away, popping two pieces of Glee in her mouth as she went. She recalls, “I just had a hankering to blow a little bubble.”
She proceeded to blow THE BIGGEST BUBBLE OF GLEE GUM THAT WE HAVE EVER SEEN.
She took a selfie (presumably after parking the car) to capture the moment. “Although I could blow a pretty mean bubble as a teenager, it’s not something that I have practiced in many years,” she reveals. “I have to say, my friends didn’t believe it was real!”
We believe you, Cat. And, we salute you!
We’re pleased to share a special guest post from our pals at Preventive Vet, a collective of veterinarians, respected trainers, and devoted pet lovers. Preventive Vet’s mission is to educate and spread awareness about simple ways we can keep our pets safe and healthy. One of those ways involves protecting dogs from xylitol, the natural sweetener used in Sugar-Free Glee Gum. Read on to learn why Sugar-Free Glee, and all products containing xylitol, should be kept far away from pooches– plus tips on how to do so, and what to do right away if your dog somehow manages to get your gum!
Sugar-free gum and xylitol: Important awareness for dog lovers
Just what exactly is xylitol? It’s a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener and can be found in many sugar-free gums and other sugar-free, lo-carb, and “no artificial sweetener” treats. Xylitol is a common alternative to sugar because it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels, and it has positive benefits for your teeth. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for our four-legged friends! Xylitol can be extremely dangerous to dogs, even in very small amounts.
If your dog decides to go for a taste of your sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, peanut butter, or even lip balm or other cosmetics that may contain xylitol, there’s likely to be some very serious consequences. When a dog ingests xylitol, they can experience a rapid drop in blood sugar and damage to their liver, with symptoms including weakness, vomiting, seizures, bleeding abnormalities, and the risk of death. Not to mention, a very worried pet owner and an expensive stay in the Animal ER. Signs can come on in as little as 30 minutes, so time is truly of the essence!
How can I protect my pet from xylitol?
You can prevent a frightening situation by adopting these good habits.
• Hang jackets, bags, purses, and other bags in a closed closet, or high up and out of reach. A clever dog might figure out how to access your sugar-free goodies if they are left on a coffee table or in the pocket of a coat hanging off the back of a chair.
• Consider a dog seatbelt or proper travel restraint when riding in the car. Not only does it keep your pup out of your purse (where he may find sugar-free gum, or a host of other common purse hazards) but it also keeps everyone safe in case of an accident or sudden stop.
• Be mindful about what you set on end tables, coffee tables, and nightstands, both in your home and when visiting a friend or neighbor’s house with a doggy resident.
• Throw out chewed gum in covered trashcans, because even chewed gum could still contain enough xylitol to cause harm to a dog that likes to go dumpster diving.
• Make sure your friends and neighbors are aware of the dangers of xylitol to dogs. Spreading the word will help to keep everyone’s dogs safe!
• Appreciate responsible companies like Glee who care about you and your pets enough to work with pet safety experts to spread awareness.
I think my dog ate my gum, now what?
Some dogs are very clever, and accidents can happen, so if you think your dog may have eaten a food or product that contains xylitol, be sure to:
- Take away any remaining gum or xylitol-containing product to prevent them from consuming any more than they already have.
- Check the labels to see if there is xylitol in the products they ate – not all gums contain xylitol. Fortunately, Glee very clearly lists on their packaging if a gum contains xylitol, as well as the amount per piece of gum.
- Call an animal-specific poison control hotline (either ASPCA-Animal Poison Control Center or Pet Poison Helpline) for advice on what to do and what to watch for. Tell them what he ate, how much of it he ate, and how long ago he ate it. Do this even if you’re unsure if the product your dog ate contained xylitol, and even if he seems normal. They are your best resources for information and peace of mind.
- If your dog shows symptoms like vomiting, staggering, weakness, seizures or other concerning signs, get to your vet ASAP, and bring the gum packaging if you can. If your vet is closed, head straight to the closest Animal ER. (Not sure where the nearest one is? Find one here.)
What about cats—is xylitol dangerous for them, too?
At the time of writing, there have been no reported cases of xylitol poisoning in cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for cats to consume. It’s best to take the same precautions to keep gum away from prying paws, and contact your vet or poison control if your cat does get into any xylitol products.
Now that you have all the facts, you can safely protect your pets from xylitol while you continue enjoying your Glee Gum!