Thursday, May 25, 2006

News from the South Central Farm

Julia Buttefly HillFrom Mike Feinstein, 5/24 @ 2:50pm:
I just came back from the farm

we had a press conference there this morning at 11am (singer Ben Harper, actresses Darryl Hannah and Laura Dern, NRDC director Joel Reynolds and Green Party members Linda Piera-Avila, Byron DeLear and myself, followed by Joan Baez, Julia Butterfly Hill [above] and John Quigley speaking from up above us in the giant walnut tree on the farm) [video]

now the LAPD helicopters are overhead and the farmers have barricaded themselves inside the farm

Baez, Hill and Quigley are all tree-sitting on the farm at this moment

we don't know if/when the LAPD will try and force their way in

there is a vigil planned at 7pm tonight outside of the fence around the farm - GO THERE TONIGHT IF YOU CAN

for now, no one else will go in or out

we don't know what will happen

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Starbucks Challenge

Starbuck Challenge 4.0This past weekend, Erin and I went to our local Starbucks on Larchmont. I tried the Starbucks Challenge for the first time. That is, I ordered a cup of "your fair trade coffee". I'd been waiting to do it for some time, partly because I haven't had an occasion to go to a Starbucks, and partly because I was worried that the experience would be embarrassing. What if they said no, and I had to argue with them? Or if they didn't know what it was, and I had to explain it to them?

Anyways, on Saturday we decided to go read at the Starbucks. A manager was training someone at the time so we were double-teamed. At first the response was a confused look, but after I repeated my order the manager sprang into action, telling me he would have to French press it. I said that would be okay, and he told one of his associates to open a bag of Estima and French press it.

So far, so good, with the emphasis on the "so far".

He told me it would be about 8 minutes, then took Erin's order - some tea concotion that they were missing an ingredient for. They suggested an equally complicated alternative and she agreed and they said they wouldn't charge her for it. Erin and I sat down at a table to read.

About 15 minutes later, I was starting to get curious about my coffee.

Erin and I were discussing what I should do (she thought I should remind them, I wanted to see what would happen), when we heard some variation of "oh shit" as the manager remembered that the coffee had been steeping too long. He came to our table to apologize, and gave us two free drink coupons. He said a new cup would be ready in four minutes. About a minute later, another Starbucks employee came to our table with another apology and two complimentary baked goods. I was becoming embarrased. Finally, a couple minutes later, the same guy was back with not one but two cups of coffee.

So, in total: 1 iced tea, 2 cups of coffee, 2 desserts & 2 drink coupons, all for a buck seventy plus tax.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fair Trade LA supermarket campaign

fair trade federationFair Trade Los Angeles, of which Erin and I are steering committee members, is launching a campaign to rate supermarkets in Los Angeles on their fair trade options. In a couple months, we'll have the results on the Fair Trade LA website. Our local Pavilions fared very poorly.

Download the Fair Trade Los Angeles supermarket scorecard (pdf), print it out, and grade your local market(s). Send in the results and we'll give you a Co-Op America canvas shopping bag.fair trade certified