I do not have a fair trade lifestyle. I buy my groceries at Target, or Cub, or Rainbow–whatever is most convenient at the time. Since my husband and I are just starting out, we’re trying to save more money than we spend and so our spending budget is limited. Buying expensive fair trade or organic food just seems like a luxury we can’t afford right now.
But the more I hear about the working conditions for farmers and laborers around the world, the more I am convicted to do something to change my habits. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to buy a few items fair trade, and maybe reduce the budget in other areas. Would it really be so bad to drive a little farther to a store that sells more Fair Trade products?
That’s the internal monologue I’m having right now.
My purchasing decisions have a direct impact on the quality of life of people all around the world. My purchasing decisions have a direct impact on what major grocers sell. The consumer is the most powerful part of any business plan. Right now, the average American consumer wants food that is cheap and convenient and BIG. We want fruit without blemish and broccoli the size of our heads. We’re willing to look the other way if our food is genetically modified, if it means we get more chicken in our chicken.
Will the tide ever turn? Will our concern for our fellow human or the natural biological processes in the animals and plants we consume ever trump our Fast, Cheap, and BIG priorities?
I really don’t know. All I know is what I can do in my own life. I just need to figure out how. I get overwhelmed when I think about completely changing my lifestyle. I think for me, the best way to change my habits is to start small. I’m not a coffee drinker, but for many the first step in starting a fair trade lifestyle is changing where that cup of morning joe comes from. For me, maybe it will be the chocolate I buy. Or tea. I need to figure out what’s available to me. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.
What about you? Do you buy fair trade? If so, what products do you make sure to buy fair trade and where do you get them?