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Coffee Lovers – Make Your Next Brew A Level Ground Trade

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level ground trading, fair trade, victoria bc, coffee, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

Coffee lovers – pay attention!

Stacey Toews and his team at Level Ground Trading are bringing something incredible to the global economy that is lacking in most transactions – something so powerful it changes the way we think about the products we purchase and our consumer impact.

They are bringing the human narrative into the story.

“There is so much of the global economy that has been militantly oppositional to connecting the dots,” explains Toews, “because so much of the drive for profitability has been on keeping things and places and sources anonymous. Whether it’s a person in a field, a farmer or a factory, if you knew their name and you knew their face and you knew their lifestyle, and how your purchase of a product supported their lifestyle…in that potential connection, the economy becomes humanized.”

And that is the basis of the Level Ground Trading brand – personalizing products that come from typically anonymous places, being that ‘humanizing bridge between consumer community and producer community’ by consistently buying products from farmers at a fair price in advance.

level ground trading, fair trade, non-GMO, coffee farmers, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

www.levelground.com

So, how does this all happen?

“We look to partner with farmers who have the means to produce product, who don’t have any or adequate customers for their production capacity, and then through visits and personal dialogue with that community of producers we want to chart a path together that looks at how change is brought about in that community, economically speaking, through that trade relationship being developed, without using charity or donations.”

Currently, Level Ground Trading has trading relationships in ten different countries. They started out with coffee and have now expanded to tea, spices, dried fruit, cacao nibs, cane sugar, heirloom rice, coconut oil and vanilla.

Like, real vanilla. Not the GMO ethanol based, vanilla-flavoured extract that many of us use in our everyday baking. Level Ground Trading wants us to consider that vanilla actually grows as a bean as part of the orchid family, and you can purchase the whole bean, split it open and use the actual seeds in the food you will consume. And there is no need for trafficking heavy liquids or GMO products. “And in our case,” Toews goes on to say, “this model allows us to put the bulk of your purchase into the hands of the farmer in Uganda for having grown the vanilla bean.”

How’s that for some extra flavour in your cake?

level ground trading, coffee, fair trade, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

www.levelground.com

Their model also gives the farmer the bonus of predictability. By creating and maintaining long-term relationships within the same farms and communities, the producers know what they will be paid a year from now, two years from now. That creates a lot of stability within their own homes and lives.

But this isn’t just about ‘helping’ the farmer – this is a two way street. A level ground trade, as their name implies. Their company has employed 3 dozen full-time Canadians and is growing. Around the time of this publication, the company is getting ready to relocate to a larger facility after 20 years in the same space. This new facility, just 800 m up the road from their current one in Victoria, B.C., is also designed to facilitate tours where you can learn the behind-the-scenes operation of the company.

In fact, transparency is a huge part of how things work for them. Do you want to see the numbers? Here they are. Right down to how much the farmers were paid.

So, how do you get your hands on some of their coffee and other products? You can shop their online store from the comfort of your own home – perhaps knock off a few Christmas gifts for some foodies on your list. Or you can visit one of the 1700 grocery or health food stores they supply each month. For example, you’ll find their products in Ten Thousand Villages, Costco, Choices or IGA. Or use their store locator to find a place close to you.

You can even meet the farmers they work with by exploring their website. Are you in the Victoria, B.C area? Contact them for a tour.

Follow Level Ground Trading on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Reach out with any questions or comments through their social channels. If you’re not sure where to start, ask them about their zero-waste policy that they have implemented for the last 13 years. Stacey will blow your mind with his team’s commitment to the planet and the humans who call it home!

 

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News. She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.

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Food & Drink

Bring Italy to You with the Art of Aperitivo

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The pandemic may have shifted your travel plans, but if this year has taught us anything, it’s to learn how to adapt. With international travel looking unlikely for the foreseeable future, now’s the time to bring home the best cultural experiences from your favorite destinations and recreate them with your close friends and family, no boarding pass required.

Craving a taste of Italy? Take a break from this unsettling time and bring the beautiful Mediterranean sunshine to you with the art of the Italian aperitivo. As per the Italian tradition, aperitivo is the time of day to take a break to unwind with friends. This custom is present throughout the country; it’s a state of mind and an attitude which demonstrates gratitude for everything that makes life possible.

Here are three simple ways you can master the culture and art of aperitivo:

1: Give yourself some time to slow down

  1. The aperitivo represents the time of day when taking a break is most needed, so it’s of utmost importance to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Stop scrolling, sign out of Zoom, and connect with your socially distant bubble.

2: Recreate an Italian-inspired ambiance at home

  1. Aperitivo is always best enjoyed in the relaxed comfort of your own home. Treat your guests to an Italian-style spritz like Bella Amari on your patio during a sunny September afternoon. An effortlessly refreshing beverage, Bella Amari balances sweetness with bitterness and is available in three natural flavours: Blood Orange, Pomegranate Cherry and Limone.

3: Prepare a delicious charcuterie platter al fresco

  1. Italians consider it important to prepare the body for a meal by slowly waking up the appetite, hence the concept of a small snack beforehand. Charcuterie, mozzarella, bruschetta with fresh herbs (maybe from your quarantine patio garden), pickled olives, peppers and gourmet chips served with a spritz over ice can all enhance your aperitivo.

With seemingly so many moments, vacations, and celebrations on hold this year, it’s more important than ever to practice gratitude for the small joys in life, like spending time with your close loved ones, that likely would have been easy to take for granted in any other year. Salute!

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Food & Drink

Pandemic Puts Sustainability at the Top of the Shopping List for B.C. Residents

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Oroweat Organic releases new research revealing an increased desire to shop locally and eat sustainably following the outbreak of COVID-19

B.C. residents are prioritizing eating locally-sourced food and making more sustainable food decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a newly commissioned study by Oroweat Organic. The research shows that fears around food scarcity at the start of the pandemic have shed light on the importance of being more self-sufficient, in turn leading to a greater desire to support local food producers and adopt more sustainable eating habits.

The survey was commissioned by Oroweat Organic, sustainably baked bread produced locally in Langley, BC, to mark its launch in Western Canada. Results revealed that 85 percent of B.C. residents are more aware of the importance of supporting locally-sourced food as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, one in three residents are more likely to prioritize locally-sourced food, and notably, this stands true regardless of household income. When it comes to sustainability specifically, 75 percent of B.C. residents are more aware of the importance of eating sustainably and the environmental impacts of their food choices, as a result of the pandemic.

While survey results indicate that shoppers are putting more focus on sustainability, this year’s unique and unpredictable back-to-school season raises concern. Fifty-two percent of B.C. residents are worried about their ability to juggle their schedules in the ‘new normal’ this fall and 48 percent worry this will impact their renewed efforts to shop and eat sustainably.

This September, three varieties of Oroweat Organic hit shelves in Western Canada, making sustainable and healthy bread options simple and accessible for British Columbians. The brand is locally produced in B.C., using sustainable baking practices and certified organic ingredients.

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Food & Drink

Celebrate National Organic Week With the Launch of Coors Organic

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Did you know that tomorrow marks the beginning of National Organic Month (or even more widely celebrated, Organic Week (Sept 7-13)? To help celebrate this month, Coors has launched the latest addition to its line introducing: Coors Organic a new, organic beer that is brewed with one thing in mind – simplicity.

Coors Organic decided to offer a simple way to feel better about your choices for Canadians looking to integrate healthier alternatives into their day-to-day lifestyle but who feel overwhelmed by all of the options to choose from. Next time you are reaching for a beer, enjoy an organic option and feel good about the healthier choice you made.

Certified organic, 90 calories and 4g carbs (per/355mL), this light, refreshing organic lager is expertly brewed with minimal ingredients including organic hops, organic barley, and water.

Product:

  • Made with three simple ingredients: Organic hops, organic barley and water.
  • Certified Organic
  • 3.8% ABV
  • 90 calories, 4g carbs (per 355ml)

Taste:

  • Light and refreshing malt-forward taste with a crisp and clean finish.

Availability:

  • Coors Organic is available at BC Liquor Store and Independents.
    • Single can – $3.05
    • 12 x 355ml can – $27.50
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Food & Drink

Introducing: Le Cheeseburger Week 2020

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From September 1st to 7th, Le Burger Week is back with a cheesy twist, and, it’s called, Le Cheeseburger Week

From September 1st until September 7th, 2020, gather up your appetite because Canada’s beloved food festival, Le Burger Week, sponsored by Saputo & Lightspeed is back! With Saputo, Canada’s cheese dynasty in the mix, this year’s catch is cheese, cheese, and more cheese, thus transforming Le Burger Week 2020 into Le Cheeseburger Week. Chefs & restaurants across the nation must abide by one rule – integrate cheese or “fauxmage” (vegan cheese) into their burger, because, why not? In addition to providing Canadian’s with a delicious and fun experience, Le Cheeseburger Week is committed to giving back to their local communities notably, through their 2020 affiliation with United Way Centraide. Get ready for the cheese to melt, Canada, as you dive in, mouth first, to Le Cheeseburger Week!

Heading into its ninth year, Le Burger Week has become an annual autumn foodie tradition to look forward to. Restaurants across the nation are asked to think outside the bun and create a unique burger reflective of their overall concept, style, and cuisine. The 2020 edition will replace the traditional call to vote for the best burgers with a call to help through the charity partnerships. Both Lightspeed and Saputo will be awarding the “Lightspeed Choice” & “Saputo Choice” awards to their favourite burgers!

We understand that this year is different, but one thing remains the same – Canada’s love for burgers. To adapt to the current landscape, many of Le Cheeseburger Week’s participating restaurants will be offering their burgers for take-out and delivery, so that customers can still enjoy the festival whether they plan on dining-in or indulging in the comfort of their own home with mobile ordering apps, like Lightspeed’s.

For the past few years, Le Burger Week has remained committed to giving back to communities across Canada. This year, a proceed of select burgers sold in Canada will be going to Centraide and United Way ; philanthropic organizations that collect donations to support a vast network of community agencies that help individuals and families. Locally and nationally, their goal is the same – to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our communities. United Way Centraide uses local knowledge to make community investments that provide the greatest impact including; food programs, housing programs, job skills training, continued education opportunities, amongst others.

Created in 2013, by Montreal-based entrepreneurs Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam, the idea for Le Burger Week was born out of their shared love of burgers and an understanding that their fellow Canadians shared that same love. Adam and Rassam wanted to create a fun and exciting way for burger lovers to interact and support their favorite restaurants, while, at the same time, providing restaurants with the chance to build greater public awareness through their participation. As co-founder Na’eem Adam explains, “Le Burger Week began as a fun local food project to celebrate our city’s (Montreal) love for burgers. Over the years, we have grown into a national festival that continuously helps to stimulate businesses across the nation.”

On September 1st, burger-lovers across the nation are called upon to get stomachs hungry as they get a chance to discover the very best (cheese) burgers that Le Burger Week has to offer. Bon appétit!

For more information regarding Le Burger Week, please go to www.leburgerweek.com.

About Saputo:

Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients. Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada, the top dairy processor in Australia and the second largest in Argentina. In the USA, Saputo ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products.

In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a top manufacturer of dairy spreads. Our products are sold in several countries under well-known brand names such as Saputo, Alexis de Portneuf, Armstrong, Cathedral City, Clover, COON, Cracker Barrel*, Dairyland, DairyStar, Devondale, Friendship Dairies, Frigo Cheese Heads, Joyya, La Paulina, Liddells, Milk2Go/Lait’s Go, Montchevre, Murray Goulburn Ingredients, Neilson, Nutrilait, Scotsburn*, South Cape, Stella, Sungold, Tasmanian Heritage, Treasure Cave and Woolwich Goat Dairy. Saputo Inc. is a publicly-traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAP”.

*Trademark used under license.

About Lightspeed:

Lightspeed (TSX: LSPD) powers complex small and medium-sized businesses with its cloud-based, omnichannel commerce platforms in over 100 countries. With smart, scalable and dependable point of sale systems, Lightspeed provides all-in-one solutions that drive innovation and digital transformation within the retail, hospitality and golf industries. Its product suite enables SMBs to sell across channels, manage operations, engage with consumers, accept payments and ultimately grow their business. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Lightspeed is trusted by favorite local businesses worldwide, where communities go to shop and dine. Lightspeed has staff located in Canada, USA, Europe, and Australia.

For More Information, Please Visit www.lightspeedhq.com.

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Food & Drink

Uber Eats Celebrates 1 Year of Starbucks Delivery With BC and Canadian Trends Data

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To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Starbucks on the Uber Eats platform, Uber Eats has released top trends highlighting Canadians ordering habits at Starbucks.

While COVID-19 prevented many of us from going in-store to grab our favourite Starbucks beverages and treats, Uber Eats Starbucks orders tripled from March-August 2020 compared to August 2019-March 2020.

So, what are Canadians ordering? From coast-to-coast, Canadians love their Starbucks Caramel Macchiato – it’s the most ordered beverage on the platform. And while Alberta and British Columbia prefer it hot, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan like it iced.

Overall, order sizes have increased since March with many customers ordering food along with their favourite beverages. The Starbucks Birthday Cake Pop, which is the most popular food item on the platform, is a Canadian favourite in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, while Canadians on the East and West coasts love the Double Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg sandwich. Both Nova Scotians and British Columbians enjoy this savoury breakfast item more often!

Below are some fun facts highlighting the Canadian love for Starbucks on Uber Eats:

  • A Torontonian placed the most amount of Starbucks orders in one year ordering 342 times.
  • The largest Starbucks order placed through Uber Eats was delivered to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. The order contained 8 bagels, 8 banana bread, 8 blueberry scones, 8 carrot muffins, 10 classic coffee cakes, 8 lemon loaf, and 3 coffee travellers.

What province orders the most Starbucks coffee on Uber Eats?

  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan

What province orders the most Starbucks tea on Uber Eats?

  • Saskatchewan
  • Ontario
  • Nova Scotia
  • Manitoba
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
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