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A Happy Valentine's Day for All

This Valentine's Day, consider the real price of your flowers and chocolate and buy fair trade.

Chocolate. Flowers. Justice. Why not have some of each this Valentine's Day?

In 2010, 198 million roses were produced for Valentine's Day and more than 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold during the week of Valentine's Day. These are ways we express our affection on this holiday, but at what costs?

Over 60% of the flowers bought in the U.S. come from Colombia. The floral farmworkers there are primarily women, working long hours and paid poverty-level wages. The women working in the flower fields often face hazardous working conditions that put their health at risk.

Although chocolate is made in the United States, Switzerland and other places, the cocoa beans that are harvested to make chocolate primarily come from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. An estimated 284,000 children are working on cocoa farms in hazardous tasks such as using machetes and applying pesticides without the necessary equipment.

This Valentine's Day, convey your love by participating in Global Exchange's fourth annual National Valentine's Day of Action. Some of the action ideas include the following:

In addition, Change.org is sponsoring a petition to 1-800-Flowers asking them to offer flowers for purchase that weren't picked by exploited workers.

Purchase fair-trade chocolate and flowers and you'll have more than just a happy Valentine—you'll have a happier world.

Last Updated: 02/14/2011

© 2014 United Methodist Women