Fair Trade Certification and Why We Care

When you think “fair trade” it’s probably closely followed by “chocolate” or “coffee.” Maybe it comes to mind as the fancy coffee associated with hipsters and small, but costly coffee shops. It may also remind you of really dark chocolate or possibly clothing brands like Patagonia. Fair Trade may seem like just a buzzword to make a product sound better, but it’s actually a signifier of how you can buy products to support more sustainable practices for labor and the environment.


What does Fair Trade Certification mean?

Though you can go to the Fair Trade Certified website to get more in-depth descriptions of their mission and methods, essentially Fair Trade is an organization meant to protect and aid labor workers and communities in exploited industries. Products like coffee, chocolate, textiles, and garments, are subject to corporations that take advantage of the low wages in poor countries to exploit workers and drive down the cost of labor and products. This also, often, force small farmers and workers out of business and into working for an unsustainable living. These practices are bad all around, causing community and environmental degradation for the sake of lower prices and better profits.

The goal of Fair Trade is to create industry price floors that ensure workers are paid properly for their labor and products. A company or community that receives Fair Trade Certification must pay a licensing fee which is reinvested into social and economic programs for that community. They also have their operations, from supply chain to sales, overseen to ensure fair trade practices and sustainable working conditions.

Of course, Fair Trade isn’t a perfect program, but it’s a great starting point for learning how the products you buy affect other people and the environment. The end goal is to create a more fair, safe, and sustainable work environment and consumers who are more easily able to make informed, ethical buying decisions. Whether it’s through Fair Trade Certification or personal research, being aware of what you use your buying power for is important in holding brands accountable for treating workers and the environment right.


How can you buy Fair Trade Certified?

If buying Fair Trade goods interests you (and, really, what’s not to love?), then you’re in luck! Fair Trade Certified products are always obviously marked with their logo because the goal is to make it easy to support fair trade practices with your purchases. Plus, Fair Trade certification isn’t just for coffee and chocolate. You can find a range of food, clothing, makeup, and some home décor that are all Fair Trade Certified. Armed with the knowledge of the Fair Trade Certification, it’s time to get using that buy power for good!


For more information on Fair Trade Certification and products direct from the source, check out Fairtradecertified.org.

Girls Night Out Refreshment Recipes

Thank you everyone for visiting us during Girls Night Out event on October 12 2017. We had several folks ask for the recipes of what we served, and this is the easiest way to share with everyone. These recipes are all easily doubled or tripled, depending on the size of party you are hosting.

Spiced Cider Punch
-32 ounces apple cider
-24 ounces ginger ale
-1 cup spiced rum
-Add ice to punch bowl
-Core and slice apples and add on top of ice
-Add in rum, apple cider and ginger ale and stir
Serve and enjoy! You can add more or less rum to taste, or omit it if children will be at the party. To get the same spice that the rum gives, you can add a small amount of apple pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Fluff Dip
-3 tbsp pumpkin puree
-7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-8 oz block cream cheese
-whole graham crackers
-Allow cream cheese to soften in bowl
-Add everything but graham crackers to bowl
-Mix at medium speed until well blended.
Serve with graham crackers to dip. This recipe is vegetarian, and can be gluten-free if you use GF graham crackers.


Hope to see you at the next Girls Night Out on December 14, and don’t forget Santa Claus will be here!

New Product Line-Cedar Ravine

These scarves and headbands are thoughtfully designed to evoke the spirit of some of America's most beautiful places, like the misty beaches of rocky coastlines, the unlimited expanse of the desert, and the rich fall hues of dense forests.

Cedar Ravine supports the preservation of wild spaces through partnerships with various environmental groups. With each sale they adopt one square foot of land for protection in the Northern Rockies, the Central Appalachians, and the Northern Sierras in conjunction with Nature Conservancy programs.

The beautiful scarves and headbands showcase original nature photography and low-impact fiber-reactive synthetic dyes that limit waste while creating exceptionally rich colors.

Made exclusively in the USA by small businesses that focus on high-quality specialty crafts.

Featured product photos by Stephanie Parshall Photography with our very own Alix Curnow modeling.

Supporting Local Companies has Consequences!

From the beginning we have believed that where our merchandize comes from matters. Buying from Michigan companies not only cuts down on shipping distances, but also has impact on our communities. Recently we were delighted to discover that one of our favorite companies is having an impact is one of the most devastated communities in the nation, Flint.

At the Green Scene we have been carrying Stormy Kromer for almost two years. Right from the beginning we have been in love with this company. Based on the way we are treated as retail partners we were not surprised to learn about the relationship that has developed between Stormy Kromer and  St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center.

We now know that every time we sell a Stormy Kromer cap or vest we are having an impact on the lives of some very grateful Flint, Michigan residents.

What’s Hiding in Your Home

Ok, ok I stole this title from Capital One, sorry, it just worked! While our home is not completely cleared of the items mentioned in the article attached, it doesn’t hurt to know about them so we can all work on removing them. I have been finding that white vinegar can replace many of them.

Here is a list of the chemicals environmentalists call the “dirty dozen“. It will surprise you.

Smartwool, how to care for?

At the Green Scene we frequently get questions about how to care for Smartwool socks. Lots of customers are worried about wool and how to wash it or if it can be machine washed at all. No worries! Just follow these simple suggestions and your socks will care for your feet for a long time.

How to Wash

  1. Machine wash cool or warm water.
  2. No Bleach.
  3. Turn socks inside out.
  4. Tumble dry low.
  5. Do not use fabric softener. (wool dryer balls is a much better idea)

One of the things you will find is that you can get by without washing them after every time you wear them. The merino wool used in Smartwool is naturally anti microbial which greatly reduces foot order.


Life Goes On

Over the past six weeks my team has said goodbye to 3 of our members. We planned to create a short video for each one but they are all gone now so I will just tell you about them.

Kate Samra joined us last fall as a Senior at Marshall High School. She was dual enrolled at Kellogg Community College while completing her high school credits and attending the Battle Creek Math and Science Center. As a student Kate was one of the founders of the Environmental Club and MHS Gay Straight Alliance, as well as a peer educator with Project Trust. She is now attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Garrett Sander also joined our team in the late fall and was also a Senior at MHS. Garrett was also involved in the Environmental Club and GSA as well as a Junior Leader with the Alaska Great Lakes Project in 2014. He recently returned from a backpacking and hiking trip to the Adirondack Mountains with the Land Sea Program of Kalamazoo College where Garrett will major in Philosophy.

Shannon Hicks joined us in early January. She recently graduated from Marshall High School where she played Varsity Soccer and Golf. While at the Green Scene Shannon was always very excited to learn about our earth friendly products and promote them to her friends and family. Shannon is playing soccer at Trine and will be studying engineering.

While we are sad to see our seniors leave we are very proud of their accomplishments and with them well in their college careers!

Partnering for Community Service

This morning started at Oerther’s with Kathleen and a group from the Ketchum Park Advisory Committee which included Mitch Robbins, Kate Samra and Garrett Sander where they were presented with some of the funds we raised from our Earth Day Sale. Kathleen and I sold self- watering planters made from recycled wine bottles for Earth Day. We had great fun making them with the help of a couple of friends and sold them for $10.00 each. $7.00 from each sale has been designated for the Ketchum Park revitalization project. Thank you to the people who purchased them and those who simply donated, this is such a worthwhile cause that everyone will enjoy for years to come. We are committed to partnering with our neighbors for service to our community and encouraging our neighbors to think green! Thank you OERTHER’S for being that partner.

Spring is here at last!

Well it’s been nearly nine months since Doug and I began this retail adventure, and I love coming to work more everyday! What a great sight this morning to see our main street lined with white blossoms on the pear trees and the American flags waving in the sunshine. This is what living in a small town is all about. It is quite a challenge for me to be so near Louie’s Bakery and not get something everyday. I am up to the challenge and try to stick to once per week, so far so good.

This is my first blog post so pardon the rambling. I plan to add something each day going forward, there is an abundance of information that I can share with you about living more naturally so I hope you will check in and see whats new. Go out and make your day awesome!

Vernal Equinox

This is the first installment of The Green Question. Periodically we will be posting a question on our Facebook Page with either an environmental question or one related to the store and home town. These should be fun and thought provoking. We hope you have fun with this.

So, today in the Northern Hemisphere is the vernal Equinox, Autumnal in the Southern. At 6:45 PM the Sun comes back from its winter trip to the south. At 6:45 this evening the Sun will be directly over the equator and we roughly have the same amount of daylight and darkness.

The question: Where on Earth do they have the most daylight time over the course of a year?

The Answer: Sorry a trick question to kick us off. Everywhere on Earth over an entire year has the same amount of daytime and nighttime, just not distributed equally. Int eh tropics every day has nearly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. At the poles they have 1 day and 1 night each lasting 12 months.

We have the Earth’s axis tipped at 23.5 degrees for the change is seasons and the nice long summer days that we all love.