Thursday, September 23, 2010

Businesses that Care

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog explaining my dislike of capitalism. That notwithstanding, I now want to mention a couple of businesses that use capitalism in a small way to spread justice.

Once Again Nut Butter and Maggie’s Clean Clothes work closely with Nicaraguans and with us. Once Again Nut Butter is a cooperative in Nunda, NY, who makes nut butters (surprise!) and roasts nuts. They have worked with us since 1996 giving capital to growers here, buying their products at fair prices, and traveling down to meet with growers to make that one-on-one connection.

In 1998 through us, they loaned growers $142,000 in seed money, then Hurricane Mitch hit and all the crops were lost. It took eight years but the loan was paid in full. They continued to buy Nicaraguan organic sesame for the best tahini I have ever had, by the way.*

For several years the members quit coming but in the past year have started traveling back and it means so much to the growers…to put a face on the one who buys their products. OANB have tried to help the Center in other ways: they recently bought their promotion peanut butter scoopers from the woodworking shop that we have helped start here. You can find their products in the organic sections of food stores or on their website

Maggie’s Clean Clothes has been working with us since Hurricane Mitch in 1998…helping to establish cooperatives and fair trade businesses to make organic cotton clothing**. They were very involved with the Fair Trade Zone, a women’s sewing cooperative, in its early days…buying the cloth first, helping them learn about quality, and buying their garments at fair prices as well as promoting the women themselves.

They also have put themselves “out there” for the Nicaraguans taking risks. BenĂ¡ has been down twice this year with a film crew to promote the efforts that are being done here. Maggie’s is giving $5.00 for every order of $35.00 or more to the CDCA until November 30th. Their clothes are comfortable and very pretty…and are organic cotton. I love them…really. You can order from their website Use this promotion code JHCFAIRLAB for $5 to come to the CDCA. Do your holiday shopping early!

* Why organic foods? It is good for our health and good for the health of the earth.

**Why organic clothing? Cotton is the second most pesticide laden crop (coffee is first). Besides being good for the earth, the byproduct of cotton fibers goes into tampons…who wants to use pesticide laden tampons? No one but most women do and it is not healthy.