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Our favorite tea company, Rishi Tea, won nine awards at last month’s North American Tea Championship annual Hot Tea Class / Fall Tea evaluation. Rishi Tea, which offers Organic and Fair Trade Certified loose leaf teas, won four first place awards at the event—more than any other participating company.
Fair Trade: Third-party seals are becoming more abundant, but Fair Trade was the biggest one I saw. At the Fair-Trade booth, I learned three years ago, only eight products could be certified as Fair Trade; today more than 100 ingredients can bear the symbol. Three years ago, whole finished products were certified, such as coffee; now, companies tout the individual Fair Trade ingredients that feature in products.
Increasing numbers of companies and consumers are riding the wave of ethical shopping. The Fairtrade Foundation, founded 19 years ago, now has more than 4,500 licensed products. At the end of last month, it reported an increase of 40% in sales of Fairtrade-certified products in 2010 to £1.17 billion ($1.9 billion), despite many consumers switching to cheaper brands during the economic crisis.
Aguilera, who was born in Cuba but has lived in Boulder for the past 29 years, is channeling that cognizance into action as she volunteers with other locals to officially name Boulder a "Fair Trade Town." That designation comes through a five-step process that includes organizing a steering committee, making sure a certain percentage of the town's stores carry at least two Fair Trade products, receiving media coverage, gaining the support of community organizations like churches and schools -- and ultimately, convincing the City Council to pass the resolution.
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