As I’m sure our Rioters have noticed, sweetriot is pretty crazy about cacao, but our coffee addiction is definitely a close second. From dark roasts to pumpkin spice lattes, we need our caffeine to get us through the day. That being said, we care a whole lot about where our coffee comes from, and we hold it to the same standards we do our chocolate!
Have you ever considered where your coffee started out? Farmers from countries all over the world harvest coffee beans and sell them to importers. But sometimes these farmers are tricked into selling their beans to middlemen for much less than they’re worth. By buying fair trade coffee, you’re supporting hardworking farmers, ensuring they get the money they deserve. Fair trade gives farmers an honest price for their harvest and connects them directly with importers. As a result, farmers receive higher incomes and can properly maintain their land to produce quality product.
In celebration of Fair Trade Month, sweetriot is asking our Rioters to buy fair trade products. That might mean walking the extra block to reach a fair trade coffee shop in the morning, but we promise the trek is worthwhile. Check out fairtradeusa.org for a list of fair trade coffee companies and products, because equitable coffee is more joyful, more delicious, and filled with more good vibes!
Hey Rioters, we’re so excited to keep talking about Fair Trade Month with you, but we wanted to take a second to fill you in on something awesome one of our rioters did a couple weeks ago! Tracy Johnson, Catalyst of Cool Operations at sweetriot, set out to raise awareness about sustainability and active transportation in the Climate Ride 2014. Tracy completed the five-day bike trip, over three hundred miles, from New York City to Washington, DC and somehow still made it into the office last week! sweetriot did a Q&A with Tracy to get more info on her journey and to hopefully inspire our rioters to take part in next year’s ride! Check it out:
How does biking from NYC to DC promote climate awareness?
In order to participate in this event, participants must raise a minimum contribution. Through this fundraising effort, each participant educates their prospective donors and, in my case, I asked the company I work for to spread the word through social media outlets. Additionally, the physical ride itself spreads awareness to those who see the riders on their way to the Capitol!
That’s awesome! How much did you end up fundraising for your ride, and where did that money go? My final fundraising efforts totaled $2,972, which was evenly distributed to the three beneficiaries that I decided to support: B Lab/B Corporation, The Nature Conservancy and The Natural Resources Defense Council.
Three hundred miles is a lot. Fundraising aside, how long did it take you to physically prepare for Climate Ride?
It is highly recommended to train months before the ride as you will certainly need endurance and to have built certain muscles to go up these crazy hills. With that said, beginners are certainly welcome and if you are injured or unable to go forward, the amazing Climate Ride staff is available to shuttle you until you are able to continue.
Who were your main support systems during this experience, whether in training or in the ride itself? My friends and family were of the utmost support both with training and with the fundraising efforts. sweetriot was also a huge support system with informing our rioters about the cause and spreading the word.
sweetriot is obviously big on promoting fair trade products, but where does environmental awareness fit in? Where do you see similar goals and interests?
sweetriot is a B Corporation, which is the organization that organized the team I rode for during Climate Ride. B Corporation and sweetriot believe in transparency in all aspects of a business, and this directly correlates to the awareness that all individuals should feel is necessary when inquiring about sustainability. The reality is that Climate Change is very real and affects all of us regardless of if we acknowledge it. Education is the first step.
Will you be participating next year, and how can our rioters get involved?
It is VERY easy to get involved and I recommend that anyone who has even a tiny bit of interest should just sign up and go for it! If NYC to DC is too far away, there are other events throughout the nation and the year that you can get involved in! Visit their website to see how you can get involved today! http://www.climateride.org/
If you’re a long-time Rioter, then you know how excited sweetriot is about promoting our rocking artists! Every few months, we ask our Rioters to vote for an emerging artist to share his or her work on our upcoming packaging. But we don’t want our support for these amazing artists to end at a riotBar or Nib Tin, so we’ve put together a list of some of our past featured artists! Instead of sharing the same artwork we used for our riotBars and tins, we want to show you some other pieces these talented individuals have created (and to share their blogs and online stores with you). Don’t forget to click their names to be linked to more of their work :) !
Lindy Gaskill has been a fan of abstract and expressionist artwork since she was a little girl, and it inspired her to pursue her own creativity. After traveling around the world, including nine countries and a number of states, Gaskill used her cultural experiences to develop her unique artistic style.
Ira L. Black is a New York based photographer, with a focus in digital photography. Black has shot portraits for individuals including anyone from His Holiness The Dalai Lama to Hillary Clinton to Jay Sean. He’s also showcased his fine art photography, like the image below, around the states.
Rebecca Case loves the wild, especially when she gets to paint and photograph it. Inspired by her move from Colorado to Michigan, Case takes advantage of the woodsy areas near her home to create her art.
Paph Orchid in Egg Tempra
Sheena Sood studied textile design and visual art in college, and has since launched her own (super cute) clothing collection called abacaxi. Abacaxi has a unique tropical feel that triggers images of the sun, surf and island wildlife with an urban twist.
The Adeline Dress
Callie Hirsch first became inspired during a scuba diving trip with her father and family friend Dick Strauss, an underwater photographer. Since, Hirsch has been fascinated by sea life, and uses different art mediums to reproduce images of the fascinating creatures she researches.
Gabriele Stewart was born and educated in Switzerland, but now lives in the United States with her husband and three children. Stewart focuses on acrylic and mixed media paintings that explore the tension between control and commotion through abstract visuals.
After she received her degree in fine art at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Maggie Hernandez remained in New York City to work. Her abstract paintings capture untamed emotion by using strong color and movement.
Patty West Elstrott is a New Orleans contemporary artist whose paintings focus on scale and subject matter in a literal and ambiguous way. Elstrott is interested in adapting the physical world, making the invisible become visible.
Thomas Fedro lives right outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Illinois where he creates abstract art with “zing.” His large paintings embody deep colors and bold lines that represent the modern world in a playful, poppy way.
Jelene Morris works from her home studio creating everything from clay sculptures to canvas paintings. She makes smaller paintings, which she calls “minipop” series, but also paintings as large as six feet in length!
Poptoons and Nightmare Series
Mike Hammer’s abstract canvas paintings aren’t very easy to describe. Hammer likes to focus on “things,” meaning material objects, in a quirky way using a mix of colors and a minimalist approach.
On a beautiful July day in Provence, France our own Sarah Endline, Mastermind and Chief Rioter, married her French beau, Jean-Luc! We'll share more photos soon, but here's a quick taste of their lavendar-filled wedding day!
Next up in our Summer Intern intro's is Candice, who might be the most fashionable girl we know. Read a bit about her, in her own words!
My name is Candice Yan, a NYU graduate student from China. I have been in NYC for less than 1 year and already fall in love with it the first day I got here. In NYC, everyone is from elsewhere so you never feel alone or isolated. In this city of art, you have the chance to experience everything as long as you have the gut to imagine. I love jazz and soul music, so my favorite singers are Adele and Rebecca Ferguson. My favorite sweetriot product is 70% Dark Chocolate with Quirky Quinoa.
Three interesting facts about Candice:
1. People always mistake me for Japanese and will speak Japanese to me on the street.
2. Different from the quiet appearance, I love adventures and excitement.
3. I am Chinese, but I took western literature as my major in college.
The Tribeca Film Fest opened this week and sweetriot was standing by for the indie community. I was ecstatic to meet the cast of a lovely film, Paraiso Travel, which I predict to be a hit Indie film (the next Motorcycle Diaries). The film is beautiful and set in NYC and Colombia. I love Latin films and everyone knows I love Colombia, so I was stoked to see the film!
sweetriot sources in Latin America, and it's always nice to see scenery from down South. The story itself is touching and the actors are ones to watch. Don't miss this film!
Speaking of birthdays, my mom's birthday was April 16 (and Bill's was April 12) and I went back to Michigan. It was 60 degrees the entire weekend - nice. My favorite stop was
at the Marshall Fredericks Museum in Saginaw - amazing sculptures and a special exhibit on the Heidelberg Project, a public art project in Detroit. Very impressive for smalltown Mid Michigan! :)
Matt's college roommate, Ira Rigaud, is a teacher for Teach For America and brought an energetic group of 6th graders from Mott Hall 3/MS 128 by the office recently. They were so excited to visit. I said a quick hello and then Matt gave them a detailed perspective on sweetriot and then answered their many amazing questions such as - 'how do you handle distribution?" Matt and I were both impressed with their keen sense of business.