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Monday, May 4, 2009

Eat Cookies, Help the World (A giveaway!)

If you have ever found your heart tugged by the idea of child soldiers, AIDS patients, or starving children in Africa then I beg you: SUPPORT ENTERPRISE ON THE CONTINENT. Because a lack of meaningful economic opportunity is at the root of all of those problems. And lucky for you, doing your part to solve the problem can be as easy as sitting back with a tasty box of cookies.

I teach a politics course where we do a section on consumption as political action. The scale with which benevolent outcomes are being intentionally linked to your market behavior is a relatively new phenomena. When considering your purchases, you can now also consider how your purchase may affect fair wages paid to workers, the environment and a host of other social causes. Some folks find it problematic because they worry that consumption will become a substitute for more rigorous forms of political action and voice. That perhaps you will be content to buy your fair trade coffee rather than march on Washington for improved worker's rights. However, it has also brought some form of political engagement to a wider variety of people who otherwise would not have been actively involved.

Which is all a pretty weighty introduction to the reason why I'm hosting my first official give-away contest on this blog. Customarily I try to avoid too much entanglement with marketing folks who approach me to stump for their products. But I am glad to support products that are coherent with the mission of this blog and my own personal disposition. So I was delighted when the good folks at Khaya Cookies approached me. A company with a heart, helping enterprise in Africa and tasty cookies? Heck yes. Read on to learn more about this company and find out how you can enter to win three boxes of their tasty goodies.

Images from

Khaya Cookies was the Food Network's 2007 "Edible Entrepreneur of the Year" and has received attention from CNN to NBC to Rachel Ray. Why all the fuss? They sell a tasty baked good made from wholesome inputs, and in the process create jobs for previously unskilled and unemployed South Africans, who receive extensive training to become bakers.

They describe themselves in a way that is likely to appeal to any socially invested foodie: "Our home is deep in the winelands of South Africa. That’s where we source the best of everything that goes into our cookies. From the farmers who grow the organic fruits we swirl into our cookie batter to the artisan bakers who meticulously blend each small batch, our purpose is to make irresistibly great cookies while supporting and creating sustainable opportunities for the local community."

I have been traveling back and forth to West Africa since 2000, and have lived in Ghana for a total of more than 3 years, and my heart is deeply invested in any venture to help built entrepreneurship on the continent. So many people are willing to be moved by mass "aid" campaigns that depict Africans as needy recipients of monetary help unable to help themselves. I love any effort that helps people help themselves by providing long term sustainable skills and employment.

I'm giving away three boxes of Khaya Cookies. To enter all you have to do is add a comment to this post. I'll let you pick your topic: 1. Someplace in Africa you'd like to visit and why OR 2. Your favorite cookie and why. If you'd prefer to do your own post on your blog about Africa or cookies (with a link back to the contest) that will also qualify as an entry, and help spread the good word about the folks at Khaya Cookies. Whether in a comment or a blog post, just leave me some way to get ahold of you (email address or twitter ID) so I can notify you if you win. Entry closes at 5 PM CST on May 14th. I'll randomly select the winner on May 14th from all entries.

UPDATE: This contest is open only to US Residents.

If you aren't the lucky winner, you can still get your Khaya Cookies fix: order online or find them at a store near you (including Peet's Coffee).

Good luck all, and enjoy!


Margaret H said...

There are many places in Africa I want to visit! Egypt to work on my Arabic, South Africa because it seems like an amazing place, Tanzania to visit a friend. One day I'll visit!!!

Ellen said...

oatmeal chocolate chip is definitely my favorite. it's the perfect balance between sweet and nutty, soft and crunchy. plus, it goes so well with my other favorite things: coffee, ice cream and peanut butter. ha! this company sounds really great.

ikkinlala said...

Sometimes it's hard to find a balance between supporting enterprise elsewhere and supporting the local economy, so one thing that's nice about Khaya is that their flavour options aren't found everywhere.

I'm not sure whether Canadians may enter your giveaway, but just in case: my favourite cookie is shortbread because it goes so well with tea.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

Gini+Eric said...

My 14th is my birthday! I have tentative plans to visit Africa next year for the World Cup. SO EXCITED. So far, I'm seriously thrilled at the prospect of seeing the country of South Africa--Johannesburg! Capetown! I've heard the geography is gorgeous, and the wildlife has got to be like nothing else in the world. Oooh, I think I'm going to press my husband to commit to going. World Cup, here we come!

Northwoods Baby said...

Mmmm, cookies. I think my favorite is molasses cookies, with their crisp, fragrant exterior and pillowy soft, spicy interior, covered in sparkling sugar. I like to add black pepper to mine for an extra kick. They go amazingly well with orange juice, believe it or not.

damn. *trots off to the kitchen*

Baking-Doctor said...

Hi - my favorite cookie is simple - oatmeal dark chocolate chip. I love them with a hint of salt and I always take them on the slightly underdone side.

Bridget said...

My favorite cookies are peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Why? I basically have an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter and I feel like anytime chocolate is added... Well. I think the result is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. In particular, my favorite cookies are these:

I made them and gave them as gifts in cookie assortments to family members last Christmas. (I'm a graduate student too!)

As for a country in Africa, I've always been intrigued by Morocco. I had a friend who went on a peace corps mission there and he's told me very intriguing stories. Plus, I speak French, so I feel like I could get along alright perhaps.

Annabel said...

Lovely contest with heart to start the morning off! My favorite cookie is home-made chocolate chip! there is something so warm and fuzzy about eating a cookie straight from the oven! :)

Sweetie Pie said...

I think peanut butter cookies are probably my favorite, but it's hard to choose! I've rarely met a cookie I didn't like. :-)

Having a Morroccan friend, I've been introduced to some of the foods and customs of Morrocco. I'd love to go there some day!

chou said...

Your class sounds like something I want to take. Come teach at NYU? :) I would like to visit Senegal, and sit under a baobab tree.

Erin said...

Morocco is quite popular so far. And mouthwatering cookies folks! Keep the entries coming and help spread the word.

ikkinlala I asked, and I'm sorry to report the contest is only open to US Residents. Sorry!

ttfn300 said...

oh wow, i don't think there could be a better way to help the world :)

hmm, fav cookie? pb (complete with pb chips) i guess!

nicole h said...

my favorite cookie is really really good choco chip walnut cookie that is soft but has big chunks of chocolate and pieces of walnuts, it reminds me of every first day of schoo my mom bakes chocolate chip cookies

Chasity M said...

I would love to visit Ethiopia. My sister is currently in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia and I would love to visit my soon-to-be family member's home country.

Contact info is in my blogger profile!

Julie G. said...

What a great effort! Favorite cookie? Hands down, it's the classic chocolate chip (with walnuts, of course). Can't beat it!

Julie said...

OMG!!!!! I'd LOVE to take that class! I've been thinking about how consumption has replaced our "voice" as citizens in America. (I'm an advertising student.) I think that changing your pattern as a consumer is the quickest and most efficient way to send messages to the powers to be. As a nation of consumers, the greatest power we have is where we choose to spend. And how we choose to spend has far-reaching effects. Buy buying from a different shoe company or spending a few extra pennies on grapes, you can tell companies how you think people, animals and the environment should be treated.
(I have taken a personal stand against corn....HFCS? No thanks. I read every label. No corn-finished beef, either.)
Sorry for the really long post. : )

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