ethical consumer

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thumbs up for the broccoli project

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-09-05 13:35

Did you know that you can buy a booklet of four Broccoli vouchers from Pick n Pay? Each of these is worth R5 and you can use them instead of cash to give to those in need.

So, next time you're at a robot...

If this is old news to you, then ignore this blog, but it is news to me. And a refreshing one.

You give your voucher to someone who wants money. They can then exchange the Broccoli voucher at any Pick n Pay for basic goods (no cell phone recharge, alcohol or cigarettes).

Pick n Pay gets paid for used food vouchers

fresh earth food store - one place you gotta eat

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-08-04 09:25

I'm sitting at a wooden table in an alcove amidst the buzz of the café that lies to one side of the food store cum health shop that is the Fresh Earth Food Store, exclaiming over my breakfast. I can count on one hand the number of eateries* where I can hope to find something on the menu, like my choice of French Toast on wheat-free bread, with 'real' free-range eggs and real maple syrup (the Canadian kind not cheap, flavoured syrup).

This particular dish also comes with huge slices of haloumi cheese. You have no idea how good it was. Heart-warming stuff. Add to that the African-brewed organic and Fair Trade decaf coffee (Bean There Coffee) that I'm enjoying with, I have no doubt, 'real' milk (not the kind full of hormones and other stuff, because the cows are fed so badly) with a choice of rice or soy milk if you do not do dairy, or are vegan.

are you happy with that nappy?

Submitted by Sandy Van Hoogs... on Thu, 2011-06-30 07:01

I’d like to say that the most ill considered thing about disposable nappies is the name. They last for centuries. All the disposable nappies ever "disposed of" are still around...

But even less logical, is the idea that "disposable" nappies are convenient.

Ask a mother why she uses "disposable" nappies rather than cloth nappies. The short answer is "Its convenient". I wonder if she knows this is short for "I find it convenient to transfer current inconvenience for me into future inconvenience for my baby". I wonder if she’s thought it all through thoroughly. I wonder if she’s done her "convenience sums" correctly.

Babies in "disposable" nappies take six to twelve months longer to potty train, than babies in cloth nappies. Convenient?

Cloth nappies never run out. "Disposable" nappies are always on your shopping list. Convenient?

eco design competition 2011 calls for "no kak" in design

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2011-06-08 09:42

Eco Design Competition 2011Eco Design Competition 2011As the organisers put it: "Nokak is a beautifully South African way of expressing one's intolerance of nonsense!" And design can be full of, erm nonsense, to put it politely. The "Nokak" approach means removing waste, pollution and other harmful effects from the process and products being designed and produced.

The theme for Eco Design Inititive's 2011 competition is HOME. Because Home is where the heart is, it can be understood in any number of ways:

"The interpretation of HOME is relevant to each individual, based on our unique experiences, backgrounds and life situations; however, we do have one common HOME we all share – our Planet.

Designers are called to submit sustainable and innovative concepts for HOME. All creatives and innovators are invited to design to improve life and make a real difference!"

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fairtrade sales in sa reached R18,4 million in 2010

Submitted by incoming on Tue, 2011-05-31 17:14

Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA) is glad to announce that Fairtrade is growing from strength to strength with sales in 2010 reaching ZAR 18,4 million, a steep increase from the ZAR 5,7 million estimated in 2009. This shows that awareness and demand for Fairtrade products in South Africa are on the rise. The bulk of the sales are mainly accounted for by local Fairtrade wine and African Fairtrade coffee, which are currently the key Fairtrade products available on the local market.

"This is a great achievement for Fairtrade in South Africa," says Mr Boudewijn Goossens, executive director of FLSA. "Soon local consumers will

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graze - slow food in the overberg town of stanford

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-05-17 14:05

Stanford already has its requisite village market on the green, held on the last Friday evening of the month. During summer, I believe, it's a great place to be. The town is no newcomer to good, local food either and both Marianas and Madré's Kitchen are well supported by locals and Capetonians, who if the influx of 4x4s is anything to go by, make no bones about using Stanford as their regular weekend and holiday base.

It's a beautiful town, is Stanford. It's got everything you could possibly hope for in an Overberg village – gorgeous historical and restored buildings that the local heritage committee have not only individually numbered, but have also included in an Historical Stanford on foot, which you can pick up at the local tourism info (just across the road from the Stanford Trading Store).

mad about makana mead

Submitted by sproutscout on Mon, 2011-05-16 09:09

The welcome sign at iQhilika MeaderyThe welcome sign at iQhilika Meadery

In an old abandoned power station on the outskirts of Grahamstown, a wacky scientist has something brewing in his lab. With a touch of technology used to modify an age-old recipe, the concoction is set to solve problems of sustainability, biodiversity, unemployment, and help us have a good time while we do so. It is something quite undeniably magical that comes in the form of a bottle of honey mead.

The iQhilika Meadery (named for the isiXhosa mead) in Grahamstown was started ten years ago as a part of Dr Garth Cambray’s PhD research project, and now produces about 15 000 bottles of mead a year. I spoke to Cambray about mead, constructive economics and the innovative systems at iQhilika…

Mead production in decline
Mead is an age-old recipe of fermenting honey to make wine. With the declining bee populations in Europe, mead production in

wake up and smell the coffee

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2011-05-12 10:02

Find out more about Fairtrade, Fair Trade, Fairtrade Coffee Week, World Fair Trade Day and what you can do to help!

Nothing beats that first sip of coffee in the morning, and most of the Western world rely on caffeine's psychoactive effects to kickstart their day, but spare a thought for how the world's second largest commodity (after oil) got from where it was produced to your lips.

In Black Gold, being screened at the Labia as part of Fairtrade Coffee Week, Tadesse Meskela is a man on a mission to save 74 000 Ethiopian farmers from bankruptcy. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, but as Tadesse travels the world, will he find a buyer willing to purchase coffee beans of the highest quality at a fair price?

The movie exposes the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the world's coffee trade. Unsurprisingly the world's largest sellers of coffee to consumers - Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, Kraft and Sara Lee declined to be interviewed for the film. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation also come under scrutiny.

With so many middle-men, the coffee farmers, left to the devices of a skewed "free market" system, will never receive a decent price for their efforts. So what is an ethically minded coffee addict to do?

Support the Fair Trade movement
This is where the Fair Trade movement steps in so that

beautiful hand-made jewellery from frangipanni

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-05-05 11:29

Frangipanni is a community upliftment project, formed to help rural women to provide an income for their families by working at home on beautiful items, which require fine attention and uplife the soul.

If you want to make an order for some of these and others, contact Megan Braithwaite on 033 5070053 or Visit for other products.

care about the forest - here's what you can do

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2011-05-04 09:15

We visited Platbos recently. For those who don't know what it is, Platbos is this fairly incredible ancient, indigenous forest that was discovered kind of by accident by Francois and Melissa Krige, just off the coast of Gansbaai, in the Overberg.

We'll save the story of our visit for later, but what this blog is about, is how YOU can contribute to Platbos, for only R75, and put your money where your mouth is, by sponsoring a tree (or two).

If you look closely, you'll see that companies, like Solartech, sponsor 20 odd trees a month to lower their carbon footprint.

Each tree you sponsor contributes a square metre of forest canopy and

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