• Advocacy

The New Mutualist's Guide to Valentine's Day

Sure, you can go about Valentine's Day the old way -- some flowers from a hothouse, chocolate from wherever, a stuffed bear. Or, you can impress your mate by showing that you also care about making the world a better place!

We’re heading towards a more connected, sustainable, "giving" economy -- and it's fueled by our everyday purchasing choices. On Valentine's Day, when we celebrate sharing our love with others, there's no better time to renew our commitment to living sustainable, connected lives and supporting companies, cooperatives, and individuals that are working together for a common purpose. We call this New Mutualism, and it's changing the way we work, live, and play.

Here are a few New Mutualist gift ideas sure to win over your significant other:

1. Equal Exchange Chocolate

Carmel Crunch, mmmnomnom. This lovely chocolate from Equal Exchange is crafted by small, worker-owned co-ops, fairly traded. New Mutualism is all about giving market power back to the workers.

2. Ben & Jerry's

For all those lonely hearts out there, cuddling up with some Ben & Jerry's is actually scientifically proven to be better than a significant other. Plus, you're supporting a company that operates sustainably and is backed by a social mission. (Find it in your local grocery.)

3. An Indie Bookstore Book

I don't know about you, but getting books as presents is pretty amazing -- especially from someone who knows my tastes! Write a little note on the front page of this gift from a local, independent bookstore -- find one near you on Indiebound's store finder.

4. Organic Flowers

These 2-dozen violet roses are just $70 from Organic Bouquet -- even less than the cost of hothouse flowers at 1-800-Flowers. Plus, you're not giving us cancer, poisoning the planet, and killing innocent wildlife, which we feel is a win.

5. Fair Trade Coffee

When you bring your loved one breakfast in bed on VD, be sure your coffee brings other people some love, too. Dean's Beans are 100% fair trade, and he shares profits with the farmers. Pick up this sampler for just $12.99.

6. A Crafty Card

No Hallmark for you, New Mutualist! Support a fellow creative freelancer by purchasing a VD card off Etsy. This card by Etsy crafter Heather is sure to melt your loved one's heart.

7. An Adventure!

Nothing says "I love you" quite like a canoe for two. Floating along the river, laughing in the dappled sunlight, stopping under the get the idea. Pick up this one from REI, which is actually the nation's largest consumer cooperative. (Didn't know that, didja?)

Need more ideas? Make a purchase from one of these 11 Co-ops You Didn't Know Were Co-ops.

Happy Valentine's Day, fellow New Mutualists!