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Palbox: A way to support Palestinian farmers and artisans this holiday season

Activism
on 28 Comments

Our solidarity community is growing and has made much positive progress over the years like the rise of the BDS campaign, an increase in campus activism and the increased visibility of Palestinian voices in the media. But as Sam Bahour highlighted in my interview with him, we can’t can’t overlook the Palestinian economy which has been strangled and blockaded just like Palestinian lives and property. With that in mind I’ve partnered with the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement (NorCal ISM) to bring you Palbox!

Palbox is a totally new way to support Palestinian farmers, artisans, craftspeople and Palestinian nonviolent resistance that completely bypasses all Israeli control. Palbox is a gourmet gift box delivered four times a year to your doorstep and includes:

• a 750 ml bottle of Palestinian olive oil

• 2 bars of olive oil soap

• a bag of za’atar

• a different, hand-curated Palestinian cultural product (the first box will contain a downloadable album of music from Haidar Eid)

• a sterling silver piece of Arabic calligraphy jewelry.

Contents of Palbox

Contents of Palbox

 

The first Palbox ships December 1, just in time for the holidays. You must order during October to receive the December 1st shipment. 

Watch our 2 minute promo video below:

The challenge we had in creating Palbox was how to support Gaza since it’s impossible to import goods due to the blockade. I decided the best way to overcome this challenge was to bring you downloadables from Gaza like music.

Here is my 10 minute “interview” with Haidar Eid about his new album titled Gaza Blues: Hymns of Love, Death and Resistance which comes with the first Palbox. The reason “interview” is in quotes is that due to the inconsistent supply of electricity in Gaza, we could not meet on Skype to do the interview as I have done in the past with others so I emailed him the questions and he recorded the answers:

Gaza Blues interview from One Democratic State Group on Vimeo.

Palbox is most of all an act of solidarity with Palestinians. All proceeds from the sale of Palbox products will go to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, which supports Palestinian nonviolent resistance against Israeli occupation, confiscation of Palestinian land and violations of Palestinian human rights. We cannot singlehandedly stop bombs from reigning down on Gaza but we can vote with out pocketbooks and boycott Israeli goods and buy Palestinian. (Price is $95 per box if you prepay for a year’s subscription (4 boxes) or it’s $119 per box if you pay quarterly.)

Wouldn’t it be great if you and everyone you knew ONLY used Palestinian olive oil ? Think about what that would mean for Palestinian farmers…

Subscribe to Palbox today and please share widely!

Katie Miranda
About Katie Miranda

Katie Miranda is an illustrator, jewelry designer, calligrapher, and cartoonist living in Portland, OR. Her Arabic calligraphy jewelry and apparel are favorites of people in the Palestine solidarity community. Katie runs Palbox: a quarterly subscription box containing Palestinian goods benefiting the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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28 Responses

  1. AM
    AM
    October 16, 2015, 4:38 pm

    Time to put in a yearly order.

    May I ask, exactly how much money actually makes it back to directly support Palestinian Labor?

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      October 17, 2015, 11:13 am

      Geez Am just read your comment. On same track

      • Katie Miranda
        Katie Miranda
        October 18, 2015, 5:00 pm

        Great questions !

        The oil, za’atar and soap comes from Canaan Fair Trade who have provided some answers:

        “So I’ll give an answer, and then maybe you can slip a little FT education in there too. Farmers are the source of the products, but to focus only on them misses some important fair trade points. Canaan produces all our products in Palestine, thus putting more Palestinians to work. Many fair trade companies buy the raw materials – at a fair price – then export them raw and finish them in their own country – hello? The farmers still get pennies, but more pennies and the Global North company makes profits.

        The PFTA farmers and the production workers in our fair trade plant in Palestine that press and bottle the oil get about 44% of a $15 bottle in a normal year. Do you have anything to compare this to? Our friends at Trade as One, the big faith based fair trade company, say with coffee it is about 17% for FT coffee farmers and 5% for non-FT farmers. So producing in the Global South country is a big plus.

        It is hard to capture the true value of fair trade in terms of just increased price the farmers make. At Canaan, we have a long term fair trade partnership. The PFTA farmer cooperatives themselves set the price we pay before the season begins. And Canaan pays up front – at the press – so the farmer can plant his next crop. And we buy all their crop, in good years and lean years, so they can depend on us, plan their lives. Canaan also gives an additional 2% social premium back to the cooperative, to use as they democratically decide. This gives back to the community – another thing real fair trade does.

        Well I could go on and on. But you need a soundbite answer. More details if you need them.”
        -Diane from Canaan Fair Trade

      • Katie Miranda
        Katie Miranda
        October 18, 2015, 5:03 pm

        Additionally you can also check out the PalBox FAQ: http://www.palbox.org/faq for more answers to frequently asked questions.

  2. Steve Grover
    Steve Grover
    October 17, 2015, 10:34 am

    No thanks, I’d rather root for the Mets.

    • talknic
      talknic
      October 18, 2015, 7:10 am

      Who cares!

    • eljay
      eljay
      October 18, 2015, 9:22 am

      || Steve Grover: No thanks, I’d rather root for the Mets. ||

      The banality of evil has spoken.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 18, 2015, 12:39 pm

        “The banality of evil has spoken.”

        “Grover”? Nah, I think you have an extra “b” in that sentence.

    • tokyobk
      tokyobk
      October 18, 2015, 9:43 pm

      Steve if you give me your address, Ill send you one for Hannukah.
      Its appropriate I think, as the Palestinians surviving on a diminishing supply of land and olive oil.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      October 18, 2015, 9:44 pm

      Such a humanitarian.

      • Steve Grover
        Steve Grover
        October 19, 2015, 10:14 am

        For being such a bad humanitarian I do volunteer tutoring Math, Physics and Chemistry at least twice a week for the Chicago Public Schools.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 19, 2015, 1:11 pm

        “For being such a bad humanitarian I do volunteer tutoring….”

        You do? Patsh zich in tuchis und schrei “hooray”

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    October 17, 2015, 11:13 am

    Kate this is great. Will definitely be ordering. Would like to know how to just order the Palestinian olive oil year round. Or how to buy a large supply. What percentage of these funds will actually make it to the Palestinian suppliers?

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 18, 2015, 5:01 pm

      Kathleen: You can buy the oil directly from Nor Cal ISM: http://www.ism-norcal.org/shop

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        October 18, 2015, 9:44 pm

        Thank you in more ways than one!

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 19, 2015, 1:52 am

      Kathleen: and to answer your question about percentage this is what Diane from Canaan Fair Trade (where we buy the oil) had to say:

      Nor Cal ISM gets the olive oil, za’atar and soap from Canaan Fair Trade who had this to say:

      “So I’ll give an answer, and then maybe you can slip a little FT education in there too. Farmers are the source of the products, but to focus only on them misses some important fair trade points. Canaan produces all our products in Palestine, thus putting more Palestinians to work. Many fair trade companies buy the raw materials – at a fair price – then export them raw and finish them in their own country – hello? The farmers still get pennies, but more pennies and the Global North company makes profits.

      The PFTA farmers and the production workers in our fair trade plant in Palestine that press and bottle the oil get about 44% of a $15 bottle in a normal year. Do you have anything to compare this to? Our friends at Trade as One, the big faith based fair trade company, say with coffee it is about 17% for FT coffee farmers and 5% for non-FT farmers. So producing in the Global South country is a big plus.

      It is hard to capture the true value of fair trade in terms of just increased price the farmers make. At Canaan, we have a long term fair trade partnership. The PFTA farmer cooperatives themselves set the price we pay before the season begins. And Canaan pays up front – at the press – so the farmer can plant his next crop. And we buy all their crop, in good years and lean years, so they can depend on us, plan their lives. Canaan also gives an additional 2% social premium back to the cooperative, to use as they democratically decide. This gives back to the community – another thing real fair trade does.

      Well I could go on and on. But you need a soundbite answer. ”

  4. diasp0ra
    diasp0ra
    October 17, 2015, 5:07 pm

    I’m interested in learning more about what goes on behind the scenes, what is the mechanism, how much makes it back to the farmers, what is the middle man’s cut, what kind of charity does this include etc.

    Forgive me if this seems cynical, but I have been burnt too many times, and there are a lot of groups out there trying to make a buck off tragedies.

    However, if all of this checks out and it is legit, that’s a wonderful idea. I hope they manage to pull it off.

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 18, 2015, 5:10 pm

      Great questions Diasp0ra:

      I believe Palestinian farmers. artisans and crafts people deserve to earn money for their work. And as a former volunteer with ISM Palestine from 2006-2009 I got to see first hand how Palestinian and international ISM volunteers are making a difference in Palestine. Had it not been for a travel grant gifted to me by the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement, I would not have been able to go to Palestine, to do the work I did there for 3 years, come back and devote my skills to educating and trying to transform opinions here in the US. I’m totally grateful for the opportunity ISM gave me and I want to help them raise more money to give others the same opportunity. That’s where PalBox comes in.

      Nor Cal ISM gets the olive oil, za’atar and soap from Canaan Fair Trade who had this to say:

      “So I’ll give an answer, and then maybe you can slip a little FT education in there too. Farmers are the source of the products, but to focus only on them misses some important fair trade points. Canaan produces all our products in Palestine, thus putting more Palestinians to work. Many fair trade companies buy the raw materials – at a fair price – then export them raw and finish them in their own country – hello? The farmers still get pennies, but more pennies and the Global North company makes profits.

      The PFTA farmers and the production workers in our fair trade plant in Palestine that press and bottle the oil get about 44% of a $15 bottle in a normal year. Do you have anything to compare this to? Our friends at Trade as One, the big faith based fair trade company, say with coffee it is about 17% for FT coffee farmers and 5% for non-FT farmers. So producing in the Global South country is a big plus.

      It is hard to capture the true value of fair trade in terms of just increased price the farmers make. At Canaan, we have a long term fair trade partnership. The PFTA farmer cooperatives themselves set the price we pay before the season begins. And Canaan pays up front – at the press – so the farmer can plant his next crop. And we buy all their crop, in good years and lean years, so they can depend on us, plan their lives. Canaan also gives an additional 2% social premium back to the cooperative, to use as they democratically decide. This gives back to the community – another thing real fair trade does.

      Well I could go on and on. But you need a soundbite answer. ”

      And to learn more about where the money goes you can visit the FAQ:
      http://www.palbox.org/faq

      • just
        just
        October 18, 2015, 5:51 pm

        “And as a former volunteer with ISM Palestine from 2006-2009 I got to see first hand how Palestinian and international ISM volunteers are making a difference in Palestine. Had it not been for a travel grant gifted to me by the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement, I would not have been able to go to Palestine, to do the work I did there for 3 years, come back and devote my skills to educating and trying to transform opinions here in the US. I’m totally grateful for the opportunity ISM gave me and I want to help them raise more money to give others the same opportunity.”

        You are a treasure, Katie. You’ve been tireless and always so very gracious.

        I don’t know if others have had the occasion to see your great work here:

        “SodaStream’s big move”

        https://electronicintifada.net/content/sodastreams-big-move/14893

        “Palbox” appears to be a stellar product all around. Thank you for making it available to us all.

        Your website also offers your beautiful jewelry, stellar products and comics @ http://www.katiemiranda.com/

      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra
        October 18, 2015, 7:15 pm

        Thank you for your time and for pointing me in the right direction. I see the organization offers many things including microloans. I might just call them and ask about some details.

      • Katie Miranda
        Katie Miranda
        October 19, 2015, 1:56 am

        Just you are too kind ! :}

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 19, 2015, 1:56 am

      You’re welcome diaspOra, glad I could help !

  5. gamal
    gamal
    October 18, 2015, 5:57 pm

    only available to US, UK and Canada?

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 19, 2015, 1:48 am

      Gamal, yes for now but it could change. Where are you located ?

      • gamal
        gamal
        October 19, 2015, 2:44 am

        I am in Eire ( The Peoples Republic of Cork, to be exact) and have no friends of any kind in the UK, I live largely on Zaytuun organic olive oil and their freekah from Palestine, its fiercely expensive, but luckily addictive so cost isn’t really an issue.

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      October 19, 2015, 4:33 pm

      Gamal: you’ll be happy to know that we are now shipping to Ireland. :} If you’re on the checkout page, just reload it and you will see Ireland listed.

      • gamal
        gamal
        October 19, 2015, 5:03 pm

        thank you I will do, thanks for your efforts.

  6. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    October 20, 2015, 12:57 am

    Is Palestinian Olive Oil available on the shelves of any supermarket or food store in the USA? I would certainly be willing to pay a bit extra for some. Why isn’t it more widely available?

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