“It’s not fair,” could be the rally cry of middle class children, to which parents respond in the most condescending way, “Life’s not fair.” How bitter is that first taste of injustice- the crayon the kid brother stole and ravaged when mom wasn’t looking, the unquenchable desire for that new, expensive toy that will hold attention for mere minutes, the inarguable need for that acid-washed jean jacket with neon accents (I was born in the 80s after all). We stomach that frustration, then we grow up, and it’s all too easy to give credence to this notion. Life simply isn’t fair.
Our parents were not wrong. Life is utterly and completely unfair, but the phrase ends so succinctly- a glaring period. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. There is no further discussion to be had. Life is unfair.
That period is fine when the injustice in question is a neon-accented, acid-washed denim ensemble (let’s be real- we dodged a bullet on that one), but what about the larger, looming unfairness? Do we end our sentence with a period and turn our heads? Many do, but there are others who turn their eyes toward those injustices, seek to understand them and be so bold as to look that unfairness in the eyes and defy it.
I am no beacon of holiness on this issue. I try to live my life in a way that supports fairness, to sustain myself without depleting the stockpiles, but I am not above the blind eye or the cheated corner. I lean too heavily on the excuses of time and money and “someday,” but then I’ll find myself confronted with my own bullshit, typically when enshrouded in the darkness of a theater.
As a student, I found myself passionately involved with my university’s film festival. Had it not been for the new director, the event would have been a scrappy assemblage of films, but under her guidance, we skimmed the world for the most relevant and artistic films, many of them dark and emotionally daunting. Through the weight of these screenings, I saw injustices from corners long ignored by our media outlets.
Through the screening of Black Gold, I saw how my coffee habits affected others. I saw just how deeply unfair life is, how those in the thick of the unfairness are seldom, if ever, the ones to utter “it’s not fair.” I also saw ways to inch towards fairness, towards “Fair Trade.” These two words, when stamped on food mean we are saying “life can be fairer.”
That stamp of equality extends beyond food, a fact which crystallized at yet another film festival. Watching Fair Trade: The First Step, a short film at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival exposed me to the realities of cheap clothing (and on the brighter side of the festival- to Desert Dawg!). My fair trade coffee and chocolate are not enough. Food, clothing, decor, gifts… I must consider how and where these items were made.
Tomorrow, May 13th, is a celebration of that effort- World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization.
The World Fair Trade Organization believes that Fair Trade is a solution to trade injustices and imbalances of power in the supply chain. It is our inherent power to make change. Together, hand in hand, we can work for a fairer world.
To celebrate this day, I’ve partnered with Ten Thousand Villages, a beautifully shop, but more importantly, an agent for change. Growing up, I loved shopping at TTV, the collections offered some of my first glimpses of the world and planted seeds for the extensive journeys I would one day make.
The stone slate tray you see here, with these chocolate splattered scones, is an example of how we can go beyond food choices to defy unfairness. TARA, the fair-trade initiative behind this handcrafted tray works for fair wages, educational programs, health and environmental awareness for its artisans, so adding this tray to my home collection is not in vain.
Our parents were not wrong. Life is not fair, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit still. We can make strides, big and small, toward a better system, so join the movement and celebrate the impact Fair Trade has on the supply chain. If you live in Pittsburgh, maybe we’ll cross paths at the Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill. I might just be the girl in the acid-washed neon jean jacket, defying my parents on all accounts.
p.s: If you’re celebrating World Fair Trade Day, don’t forget to use these hashtags: #fairtradeday #agentforchange
Disclaimer: I did receive product in exchange for this post, but all opinions and acid-washed, neon-accented jean jackets are all my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support With The Grains and stand up for good causes.
Whole Grain Dark Chocolate Cardamom Scones with a Hint of Coffee
About this Recipe: Loaded with fair-trade coffee, chocolate and vanilla, these whole grain scones are a responsible and sweet way to start the day. The coffee flavor is very subtle in comparison to the chocolate and cardamom, so up the intensity of your brew for a stronger flavor.
2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur’s)
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan sea salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (such as Kerrygold), chilled
1 cup Guittard extra dark chocolate chips (fair trade)
1/2 cup organic sour cream
1/2 cup strong fair-trade coffee or espresso, room temperature (such as One Village Coffee)
1 large egg (organic/free-range)
2 teaspoons organic, fair-trade vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup organic confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee or espresso
1/2 cup Guittard extra dark chocolate chips
For the Scones
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking stone with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, baking soda and salt.
Cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender, or use your fingers to blend, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then stir in chocolate chips.
In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, coffee and egg until smooth.
Stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until the dough comes together, pressing the dough together to form a loose ball. The dough will be sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick, and use a sharp knife to cut it into 8 triangles.
Place scones on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 18-22 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. Once scones are cool, drizzle with the chocolate glaze.
For the Glaze
Melt the chocolate using a double boil method.
In a small bowl, combine coffee and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Whisk in melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.
Place scones on a parchment-lined tray. Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate glaze over the scones.
Allow glaze to set for about an hour, then enjoy!
This Post Has 4 Comments
Living ethically as much as I can is an issue which is often on my mind. We can ‘do our bit’ by buying fairly traded coffee and chocolate, but as you say, that isn’t enough.
One of my ethical priorities is trying to avoid products which involve cruelty to people and/or animals somewhere in their manufacturing chain. I recently did quite a bit of research into the skincare and makeup products I use to avoid brands which test their products (or their products’ ingredients) on animals.
Having said that, it’s so difficult to be ethical all the time. Case in point: I just bought a new laptop and the parts might have been made and assembled by someone working in questionable conditions in a Chinese factory, although the manufacturer (HP) scores better than its competitors on managing workers’ rights.
In terms of food: I’m vegetarian, but I’ve recently cut down on the dairy I eat, influenced by hard truths about the dairy industry (including this article Dairy is scary). When I do eat dairy, I’m careful to buy it from small producers who are as ethical as possible. Your recommendation of Kerrygold butter reminded me of an excellent article I read by writer and environmentalist George Monbiot: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2015/may/29/its-time-to-wean-ourselves-off-the-fairytale-version-of-farming
The scones look very tasty. I think I’ll make a batch for my colleagues at work. 🙂
I totally feel you. Life is full of trade-offs, and it can be really daunting/infuriating trying to find the ethical answer to daily needs. My clothing choices have been really weighing on me lately. I mostly try to buy vintage, but I know my occasional sales rack find at Target is not contributing to the greater good. Thanks for the article lead. I’ll check it out.
I hope you like the scones. 😉
Very nice post. These look delicious, I love the combination of chocolate with coffee.
Thanks Jess! The scones are definitely at their best when served with a big mug of coffee. 🙂