Tag Archives: organic

bongo java organic fair trade coffee

Amazing Fair Trade, Organic Coffee Beans…From Nashville? Bongo Java Coffee

In 1993, Bob Bernstein launched Bongo Java (aka “Bongo”) to serve a personal need he identified shortly after moving to Nashville – a coffee shop where you could work or read for hours.  But it wasn’t long before he began incorporating other practices that made him a Nashville icon and one of our nation’s leading organic fair trade coffee roasters.

While organic fair trade coffee companies  are now pervasive throughout the industry, back in 1993 sustainability and fair trade were basically ignored. In fact, many felt that “organic coffee” was another term for “inferior coffee”. However, pioneering shops and roasters like Bongo felt it was important to support these fledgling sustainable practices. And in time, these businesses helped spur the entire industry to take organic coffee, then fair trade coffee roasters, and eventually direct sourcing, seriously.

From the beginning, Bongo believed so strongly in sustainability, it crafted its mission statement to read “We strengthen communities by expanding the definition of quality to include factors of how coffee is produced, purchased and promoted to the important issue of taste.”  In 1999, Bongo deepened its commitment to this mission by committing to only buy organic and fair trade coffee directly from small-scale farmer co-ops.

These and other equally aspirational standards have contributed to Bongo’s success, including its growth to five cafes and two wholesale businesses.  While we love hanging out at Bob’s coffee shops and the taste of his many brews, we were curious. What is fair trade organic coffee?

kaldi's dog organic coffee
What is fair trade coffee?

 

Most discussions about fair trade start and end with the price paid to the grower. Yet, fair trade is a much broader set of principles that attempt to level the playing field between trading partners. Coffee-growing communities are among the poorest communities in the world. Thus, the aspect of fair trade that seeks to pay farmers a livable wage for their goods is very important. As a result, Bongo and six other enthusiastic, conscious coffee companies launched Cooperative “Co-Op” Coffees. Cooperative Coffees, which is now 20+ members strong, pays more than established fair trade minimums. However, they also do much more.

The “much more” began with Bob and other Co-Op members visiting small-scale coffee farms throughout Central America and around the world. These visits help establish and maintain long-term relationships with like-minded, similarly organized farmer groups from the remote destinations where the best organic shade grown coffee is grown and harvested.

The visits include honest discussions about trade, direct trade agreements, and they’ve resulted in Bob and the Bongo team’s increased commitment to only buying beans grown by these farmers. To clarify, Bongo and Cooperative Coffees view direct trade with the farmers as an avenue to provide farmers more money to support their families, not a way to save money on the coffee beans they purchase from them.

In an attempt to be beyond fair, these Co-Op Coffee organic fair trade roasters and coffee sellers may change contract terms when commodity prices, or other impossible to control issues, change drastically. They’ve also paid for coffee they never got due to crop disease; and helped fund health care, education, social services and other critical needs in the communities where their farmer partners live.

In 2001, Bob and the Cooperative Coffee team bought the United States’ first container (40,000 lbs) of organic fair trade coffee from Ethiopia. In addition to benefiting coffee farmers across the globe, roasting company staffers return from trips to growing countries with an increased appreciation for, and commitment to, what they do.

What is organic coffee?

 

Similar to other organic products, USDA organically grown coffee is free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and harmful fertilizers. What may not be as widely known is that conventionally grown coffee is one of the most heavily treated crops in the world.

Additionally and most unfortunately, coffee farmers incur most of the negative side effects associated with these poisons, mainly because they cannot afford the protective materials to shield themselves from the chemicals.  Beyond protecting these vulnerable farmers, organic coffee also protects us the consumers and ecosystem used to grow it.

Organic coffee has also proven to be a more resilient crop for farmers as the climate changes. This makes coffee less susceptible to disease and producing greater yields. Organic coffee fields also help store carbon and cool the planet. Right now Cooperative Coffee is leading the way to paying producers more per pound for the amount of carbon they store in the land.

bongo java organic coffee bags
Bongo Java: a company beyond organic and fair trade

 

“Bongo” Bob Bernstein, a former campaign organizer and political reporter, knew very little about coffee when he started Bongo Java. In fact, he made his first latte just two days before his first cafe opened. To learn, he attended the Specialty Coffee Association annual conference a year before the opening. Even though there with a host of seminars focused on how to brew the best cup and espresso machine maintenance, he found himself more interested in seminars about the social and economic aspects of coffee. So instead of coming away educated about coffee, he came home with the previously mentioned commitment to support small-scale coffee farmers.

Beyond supporting small-scale coffee farmers, USDA organic beans and exceeding fair trade pricing, Bongo Bob’s cafes and restaurants focus on local and organic food ingredients. All outlets have vegan options; and Grins, the one on the Vanderbilt University campus, is Nashville’s first certified Kosher and oldest, currently operating vegetarian restaurant.

To further demonstrate Bob’s commitment to sustainability, the company composts, recycles, and has worked with numerous non-profit organizations to raise money by selling coffee (similar to Girl Scouts cookie sales, though fortunately year-round).  For example, Bongo created the 10 for Tenn coffee blend. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this tasty blend benefits TennGreen Land Conservancy.

100% organic, 98% pretension free

 

Bongo consistently makes doing the right thing easy. It’s collection of more than 40 single origin and unique blends do exactly what the company’s mission statement says: they expand the definition of quality. They taste great, they support small-scale farmers around the world, and they tread lightly on our planet.  Bongo is a 100% certified organic fair trade coffee roaster.  For those that would like a little assistance choosing, we recommend the company’s namesake Bongo Blend, the almost spiritual Mystic Brew or the medium-roasted Kaldi’s Dog (humorously named after the dog who discovered coffee). If single origins are your thing, then you’ll love the incredibly smooth Sidama, whole bean or ground Ethiopian coffee or Dark Peru’s surprisingly natural sweetness.

As good as the coffee is, you may enjoy just reading the text of the company’s website. You can tell it was written by an owner who feels as confident with a pen as he (now) does making a latte. It also reflects another one of our favorite Bongo Java core values: 98% pretension free.

After your first Bongo order, you’ll likely join the many who the company playfully “appreciates for their addiction”.  And to support that addiction, the company has a discounted organic coffee subscription service that lets you order just what you want – or just what the Head Roaster feels like sending. Order your next fair trade beans online, or ground as you like ‘em, here, and let us know if you’re as addicted as we are.

OneDey readers can get 10% off online purchases with the code: BongoDey

black and berry organic cleaning products hand sanitizer- onedey

Safe, organic cleaners from sister duo Black and Berry Living

Last updated: June 6, 2021

Cindee Black and Jordan Berry started Black and Berry Living because of Cindee’s rare, childhood auto-immune disease. The disease caused her to have reactions to household products severe enough to result in numerous hospital stays.

Determined to overcome this challenge, Jordan and Cindee began creating safe, organic cleaners which they shared with friends and family members. In 2018, they used these recipes to build an eco friendly, simple, yet simply great, cleaning and bug spray brand.

black & berry organic cleaning products OneDey

Organic ingredients and recyclable packaging

Two hallmark components of Black and Berry Living make their products safe, effective, and getting to green – organic apple cider vinegar and aluminum containers.

The USDA organic apple cider vinegar they use is as gentle on the earth as it is tough on viruses, bacteria, and grime.  Apple cider vinegar is food safe but bacteria combatant. It’s filled with probiotics and its own natural microbiome, so spilling the multi-purpose cleaner on your skin or your house plant is no cause for concern.

All Black and Berry Living products arrive at your doorstep in aluminum spray or refill bottles.

Consider the following:

  • 18% of waste in landfills is plastic
  • Only 20% of plastic can be recycled
  • Each day, approximately eight million pieces of plastic trash end up in our oceans
  • Each year, 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, and one million seabirds, are killed by plastic pollution

 

On the other hand:

  • Only 1% of United States waste is aluminum
  • More than 75% of aluminum that has ever been used is still in circulation today, and it can be reused an infinite number of times
  • Aluminum is more durable and lighter than glass, reducing shipping costs and emissions

In short, aluminum containers rock!

Of course, there are some ways the sister team could improve their environmental efforts (as we all could), but this small business is making the conscious efforts where they can, and will expand from here! Check out our chat with the founding sisters below to hear their next steps.

black and berry organic cleaning products hand sanitizer- onedey

Organic cleaners… that work

Who doesn’t love a clean cleaner?  Half of what I hate about deep cleaning the house is the headache I get from all the chemicals.  Not anymore.

Concerned about the apple cider vinegar aroma from the multi-purpose cleaner? No worries, it dissipates after a few seconds, leaving a soft scent of either citrus or eucalyptus. I use it on granite and stainless steel in the kitchen, to clean my yoga mat, on bathroom surfaces and for post-entertaining clean-up.

While on an enviable getaway to Hawaii, an OneDey team member was the first to try the Black and Berry Living bug juice (i.e bug spray). It was a hit – not greasy in the slightest; and has a light, citrus scent and a pleasant little tingle to let you know it’s working.

While I enjoy a clean house and not being nibbled by mosquitos and no-see-ums, my friends would say hand cleanliness has bordered on being a decades long obsession for me. Then came 2020, and we all began collecting hand sanitizers. Our hunt for clean ranged from grabbing travel-sized bottles at check-out counters to buying jugs made by local distilleries. Smelling like vodka and enduring odd consistencies and unpleasant feelings on our skin seemed unavoidable.

Then, I discovered Black and Berry Living. They truly have achieved the hand sanitizer greatness that none of us knew we needed in 2019. How? It begins with a 4 oz. aluminum spray bottle. All other hand sanitizers I’ve found are sold in plastic containers. But of course, one can’t simply judge hand sanitizer by the bottle.

The hand sanitizer inside excels in every category:

  • The texture is feather light, leaving zero residue
  • It absorbs quickly
  • The very delicate, and soon imperceptible, scent is essence of organic rose water and orange blossom

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – the effective ingredient is USDA certified organic, ethyl alcohol derived from sugarcane. So…if our paths ever cross, you can be sure I’ll have some Black and Berry Living hand sanitizer at the ready for you to try. All ya’ gotta do is ask. Chances are you’ll become the very next Black and Berry Living hand sanitizer evangelist.

 

hu kitchen dairy free chocolate OneDey

Hu Kitchen: dairy free organic chocolate for everyone

Last updated: May 10, 2021

Trying to stay away from dairy? How about gluten? Or sugar?

Still get those chocolate cravings? Well, Hu Kitchen’s dairy free, gluten free, and sugar free chocolate is here for you!

When indulging in guilty, chocolatey pleasures, you may not be considering your treat’s environmental price tag.  Perhaps you’ve heard that due to mass production each conventional candy bar includes an average of eight insect parts (yikes!). But have you heard what happens to the wrappers when they hit landfills? Absolutely nothing (double yikes)!

Hu Kitchen is solving these problems (and many more) naturally.  The founding team sought to create a snack food brand that keeps you nourished and helps you flourish. Add to that caring for the planet, and together you and Hu Kitchen are now able to take satisfying your chocolate craving to delicious heights.

Dairy free chocolate?

Hu Kitchen makes their chocolate and other goodies in small batches (bye-bye bugs!), and they package most of their snacks (including chocolate bars) in paper that’s recyclable.  While Hu Kitchen isn’t currently offsetting their business operation’s carbon emissions, their ingredients put them far ahead of the competition.

Hu Kitchen nixes sugar, gluten, and grains; and all of their products are vegan and nearly all are organic. How do you make richly textured sweets without sugar or dairy?  Hu Kitchen relies heavily on coconuts for both sugar and dairy replacement.  Coconuts are relatively low on the water usage scale, an increasing environmental concern. They’re also known to have many health benefits, including being high in potassium and antioxidants, and providing hydration.

Hu kitchen snacks OneDey Review

So.. Does Hu Kitchen taste good?

I can honestly say, Hu completely satisfies my chocolate desires.  Of course, it is chocolate, so that makes sense.  But when eating Hu chocolate, I’m not adding to my sugar dependency while enjoying a treat that’s as rich and delicious as any artisan chocolate bar I’ve tasted. I’m not certain whether it’s the nutrition density or the taste, but Hu products leave me feeling satisfied much more quickly than other chocolate. I can finally stick to the two square serving size on the back of the package!

The crackers are also snack food champs.  While there are a bunch of gluten-free crackers to choose from, Hu Kitchen once again sets a new standard by making theirs grain-free.  How? By creating flour out of almonds, cassava (aka “yuca” – a starchy root frequently used in Latin American and Caribbean cooking), and you guessed it…coconut.  They’re a perfect compliment to hummus or other dips, and a great snack straight from the recyclable box.

A note on baking

The OneDey team mostly has been eating the chocolate gems straight from the (unfortunately, not recyclable) bag, but our first gluten-free, gem-filled cake turned out great.  The chocolate bits melted just enough, and we think the gem shape may have helped distribute that yummy, gooey chocolate evenly throughout each slice.  Below is our new go-to recipe for grain-free, egg-free, guilt-free, chocolate heaven cake.

Ingredients:

1 c unsweetened whole fat coconut milk

1/2 c raw honey

1/4 c ghee or high quality butter

2 tbsp fresh ginger

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 c chestnut flour from Acornucopia

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 c Hu Kitchen dark chocolate baking gems

1 c walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line/grease a 7’’ baking pan.

Mix coconut milk, honey, ghee, ginger, and vanilla until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix chestnut flour, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the dark chocolate and walnuts.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly; don’t worry that it’s super thick.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the edges are golden and the middle is only a little spongey, since there aren’t any eggs, no need to worry about under-baking!

Enjoy!

 

Recipe modified from Hormones and Balance

pomifera eco-friendly skincare

Pomifera eco-friendly skincare: a ghost fruit with purpose

Last updated: May 5, 2021

Pomifera (aka hedge apple, hedge, or or sage orange) is a familiar looking, though curious, tree fruit from my Tennessee childhood. A good friend introduced me to the company in early 2020.  Alison, who has guided me to many eco-friendly, life improving products and strategies promised it was a favorite, so we had to give it a try. As with all companies on OneDey, several of the company’s products needed to be used and loved by one or more members of our team before opting to include them on the site. As a hair and skin care minimalist who is choosy about her products, I came to Pomifera as a skeptic. But I was willing to try these highly touted, eco-friendly products as yet another step in reducing my carbon footprint. Here’s what I found:

The Green:

The Pomifera tree and fruit require little space to flourish. Unlike almonds, the hedge apple doesn’t need much water to grow.  Pomifera oil, the product line’s hallmark ingredient, is combined with natural oils or simple ingredients like baking soda and epsom salts, making Pomifera products safe. Plus, the natural ingredients make it sustainable to begin with.

When feasible, Pomifera uses reusable glass product containers, their packing materials are easily recyclable paper and cardboard, and half of their energy needs are met with solar power.

pomifera eco-friendly skincare

The Goods:

I’ve found two Pomifera products that are must haves – the Hydrating Body Lather and Radiant Hair Oil.  The Hydrating Body Lather is like no other shower and bath liquid soap I’ve ever used. It’s a body cleanser that reduces the need for body moisturizer – eco friendly and space saving. The Radiant Hair Oil recently edged out my salon-grade hair oil for a spot in my favorite products drawer. While I’ve tried MANY hair oils, Pomifera Radiant Hair Oil smells the best, works well, and is the only eco-friendly hair oil I’ve found.

Pomifera the company has a ways to go before being entirely sustainable – just like us. But, if every company took their emissions seriously like Pomifera ToDey, we would have a greener tomorrow.