Local, Mission-Driven Food Businesses Collaborate To Beat The Recession

Boston December 7, 2009 - Dancing Deer, the women-led natural baking company and Equal Exchange, the worker-owned Fair Trade pioneer have joined forces to solve your gifting and holiday party needs--all while supporting the local economy and some great causes. The "Taste of New England Gift Baskets" feature the award-winning Molasses Clove Cookies and other tasty treats from Dancing Deer complemented by some of Equal Exchange's most popular organic coffee, tea and chocolates. The gift baskets also include two other local, independent enterprises; locally produced honey from Reseska Apiaries of Holliston and trail mix from Fastachi of Watertown.

The CEOs of Dancing Deer and Equal Exchange, Trish Karter and Rob Everts, have been professional friends for years and often noodled the challenge of how to work together and help each other build their businesses which have so many parallel values. Both companies have won many awards for their socially responsible business practices and have been lauded for having two of the most democratically organized workplaces. Both are members of Boston's Sustainable Business Network, and Trish and Rob have shared in a CEO roundtable with other local mission-driven entrepreneurs. So when Dancing Deer decided to bring out a gift basket line, the opportunity to collaborate was obvious.

It's been a tough year in the food business and particularly in the world of gifts as consumers and corporations have ratcheted back on spending. However Dancing Deer and Equal Exchange appeal on not only one level, but three: Great Product; Local Business; Double Bottom Line Operators who are committed not only to financial return to the shareholders, but to environmental sustainability and social justice as well. This might be considered good marketing and strategy, which it is, but this double bottom line approach is driven by the convictions of the founders and employees of these organizations. Equal Exchange supports small-scale organic farmers around the world through its Fair Trade program. Dancing Deer dedicates one of its product lines (the Sweet Home Project) to funding scholarships for homeless mothers by donating 35% of the retail price on those gifts in addition to its broader double bottom line mission.

Rob Everts said about the collaboration: "Given all the values our companies share in common plus Dancing Deer's hard-won reputation for both delicious food and serving the community, we're really pleased to finally work together and have our products alongside theirs." Trish Karter returned the compliment by adding: "Equal Exchange has done some really important work in the Fair Trade movement, their products are terrific and I love their broader mission and values."

About Dancing Deer
Dancing Deer is a company of people who are passionate about food, nature, aesthetics and community. Known for yummy, all-natural cakes, cookies, brownies and baking mixes, the company has won many national awards and accolades for its distinctive products and innovative business practices. All employees are stakeholders in this women-led enterprise. Sold in gourmet, natural food and conventional grocery stores nationwide, the company also ships directly to consumers (www.dancingdeer.com 1-888-699-DEER) and offers creative marketing programs to corporate customers. When people are happy it shows in the food!

About Equal Exchange
A pioneer and U.S. market leader in Fair Trade since 1986, Equal Exchange is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, healthy snacks and bananas. Major customers include Harvest, Roche Brothers, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, City Feed, Ten Thousand Villages, schools and places of worship nationwide. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting more than 40 small farmer co-operatives in 22 countries around the world. In keeping with its Fair Trade mission and belief in economic democracy Equal Exchange is a worker co-operative, owned and governed by its approximately 110 employees. http://Shop.EqualExchange.coop 774-776-7400.

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Rodney North

Eliza Shaw
1-888-699-DEER ext 218