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Woo-Hoo for UIMQROO!

Originally posted on July 14th by Glee Guy.

Not only does Glee Gum offer delicious & Fairtrade gum flavors, but the company is making an impact on the education of many in Mexico. 

What is UIMQROO? It stands for the Maya Intercultural University of Quintana Roo, an incredible Mexican school with which our company is now partnering. This public university was started in 2007 and, from the beginning, set out to be innovative. Its mission is to contribute to social and economic development in the region of Quintana Roo and the Yucatan. And it’s doing so by developing a cadre of professionals to bring their cultural heritage to bear and use their training to create positive changes there.

This past May, our company president Deborah Schimberg visited the campus of UIMQROO to guest-lecture a class on social entrepreneurship. She explained how her interest in the sustainable harvest of chicle, the tree sap used to make gum chewy, led to her development of Glee Gum. Many of the studentsin attendance had family members who harvested chicle. It was a rare and exciting opportunity to close the circle of production from tree to Glee!

UIMQROO is focused on multilingualism, so all students learn in Spanish, Maya, and English. The university is also focused on interculturalism. For example, each summer, students return to their homes to apply their studies to actual problems happening in their respective villages. Students can earn degrees in one of eight areas of study: Agro-ecology, Municipal Management, Language & Culture, Community Health, Alternative Tourism, Intercultural Education & Arts Management, Social Entrepreneurship, and Information and Communication Technology.

At the present time, there are about 550 students at UIMQROO— 97% of whom are on financial aid. Our company, Verve, is proud to contribute to the UIMQROO’s financial aid budget, helping to make it possible for students to attend and thrive in this truly unique school. We’ll keep you updated as we work to find more ways of supporting UIMQROO and its students!

When Lloyd Bernhardt and his wife went to Guatemala to adopt their daughter, they were horrified by how coffee farmers were being treated. They decided to do something about it and founded Ethical Bean Coffee. Ever since, they’ve continued to deepen their commitment to Fairtrade, organic and environmentally-friendly sourcing and roasting. Check out this short video to find out more about Ethical Bean’s story!


Ghana’s Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union is celebrating its 20th birthday this month! The #Fairtrade cocoa cooperative has grown from just 6 members in 1993 to over 85,000 in 2014. The Fairtrade cocoa cooperative, and part owners of the popular Divine Chocolate brand, is now the biggest farmers’ co-operative organization in Ghana. Pick up a bar of Divine Chocolate and give this story a read.

If you’re in the DC area, come visit us at Whole Foods Market on River Road in Bethesda!

If you’re in the DC area, come visit us at Whole Foods Market on River Road in Bethesda!

Divine and Saffron Road Sweepstakes!

Did you know what Divine now has 5 halal certified flavors in our everyday range? In celebration of Ramadan, we are excited to team up with our friends at Saffron Road for a special sweepstakes! Enter to win our new halal certified flavors, and Saffron Road’s chick pea snacks.

Photo: Did you know what Divine now has 5 halal certified flavors in our everyday range? In celebration of Ramadan, we are excited to team up with our friends at Saffron Road for a special sweepstakes! Enter to win our new halal certified flavors, and Saffron Road's chick pea snacks. Enter here:

Enter here:

Report Highlights Producers, Premium, Purchases

Fifth edition of impact and monitoring report covering 2012 data puts spotlight on benefits and challenges for 1.4 million Fairtrade farmers and workers in 70 countries around the world. Producer organizations reported a 42 percent increase in Fairtrade Premium received and a 36 percent increase in sales on Fairtrade terms over 2011.

Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade, Fifth Edition (PDF),’ includes more than 120 pages of data, charts, and statistics on Fairtrade farmers and workers, and also gives summaries and links to in-depth impact studies on banana producers in Colombia, farmers and workers in Malawi, flower producers in Ecuador, women in supply chains, and more.

The growth in Fairtrade Premium resulted from a doubling of the required Premium payment in 2011 as coffee farmers confronted a difficult market. This year’s report also includes a more detailed breakdown of how producers elected to invest these funds. In general, Fairtrade small farmers invested over 80 percent of their Fairtrade Premium funds in supporting their producer organizations to grow stronger and providing services to members. Meanwhile hired labour organizations (plantations and estates) invested more in services for workers and their families.

“This growth in Premiums paid is an outstanding opportunity for farmers and workers to invest in what’s important to them,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive at Fairtrade International. “And this is the key. When producers are able to choose what they invest in, according to their priorities, it’s good for the community and it’s good for businesses.”

The total number of farmers and workers grew by 15 percent to 1.4 million with roughly 61 percent of them in Africa and the Middle East. Particularly strong growth was seen in the number of farmers and workers in Asia and Oceania (22 percent growth), though the region remains the smallest in Fairtrade.

Key insights include:

  • The largest proportion of total Fairtrade Premium was coffee (43 percent), Bananas (19 percent), Cocoa (11 percent), and Sugar (11 percent).
  • This was the first year that Fairtrade monitoring data reflected the full impact of Fairtrade’s decision to double the Fairtrade Premium in coffee in2011. Farmers reported a 97 percent increase on 2011.
  • Fairtrade sales as a proportion of total production in small producer organizations were highest in bananas (61 percent), cane sugar (46 percent), and cocoa (46 percent).
  • On the other hand, Fairtrade farmers in tea and cotton sold just 9 percent and 13 percent, respectively showing much need for improvement to drive more sales for farmers.
  • The number of Fairtrade producer organizations grew by a steady 15 percent, including organizations in Jamaica, Nigeria and Timor-Leste – new countries to the Fairtrade system.
  • Women make up 23 percent of total Fairtrade farmers and workers, but 47 percent of all workers on estates and plantations.

While the data show strong growth for small producer organizations, plantations and other hired labour set-ups in some product areas continued to sell a relatively small portion of their production as Fairtrade.

“There is a rich seam of data to mine here – a snapshot of Fairtrade – that allows us to learn in the future as we develop and change to improve impact for producers,” added Harriet Lamb. “In particular, the low percentage of tea sold on Fairtrade terms, especially given the number of tea famers and workers, shows room for improvement.”

Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade, Fifth Edition (PDF)),’ is based on data collected from the 1,139 Fairtrade producer organizations, including small producer organizations and hired labour organizations. The publication of the monitoring data is part of our commitment to compliance with the ISEAL Impacts Code. The ISEAL Impacts Code requires member standards systems to develop credible monitoring and evaluation systems.

The full report and previous years’ reports can be found at

Originally from Fairtrade International


Last Chance to Celebrate National Candy Month!

Enjoy this recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Brittle from Tate + Lyle Sugars to celebrate the last day National Candy Month.

Dark Chocolate Almond Brittle


1 1/2 cups Tate+Lyle® Fairtrade Certified Organic Turbinado Sugar
1 (6 oz.) package whole almonds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. dark chocolate


  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray; set aside.

  2. In a skillet, combine sugar and almonds over medium flame. Cook, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved; remove occasionally from heat to avoid burning. Once sugar is almost melted, nuts will make a popping noise; add butter and continue to stir until sugar is dissolved. 

  3. Carefully pour and spread hot sugar mixture onto prepared pan. Cool until hardened.

  4. Melt dark chocolate in a microwave 30 to 60 seconds; stirring every 15 seconds. Drizzle over brittle. Cool completely to harden.

  5. Break up brittle into 2-3 inch pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Check out other Fairtrade sweeteners and candies!

Divine Chocolate

Lily’s Sweets

Green & Blacks

Wholesome Sweeteners

Glee Gum

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