Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Fairtrade. It’s one of these things everybody knows it would be better but no one finally does it. Until now.

2012 is a great year, the Fairtrade Foundation based in the UK has thought and will be launching later this year a big Fairtrade event to encourage you and me to buy our stuff fair.

Let’s take an example. I personally love bananas. They are a great allrounder in the vegan lifestyle (did you know you can make vegan french toast with banana?). In the UK like probably also in your country, they eat lots of bananas (around 7bn a year to be precise, and 95% of households buy the product). Retailers are fighting for these customers by cutting costs. So you get your cheap bananas, great! But what about the people who produce them? “The costs of low retail prices are passed down the supply chain – the multiples pressure their suppliers to cut wholesale prices, and the suppliers do the same to banana growers.” In short, buying cheap bananas means not giving these people enough to survive on the work they do. Fairtrade is an answer to that. More on bananas you can find in Bananas: Behind the Price Tag.

There is no doubt that the best buying solution would be to take your bike to the next farmer’s market or directly to the next farm. If you however like your coffee, tea or chocolate, you’ll have to have it coming from very far away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? How your banana’s are produced is simply beyond your imaginination and concern.

But you know what? The world will not change without you. Like the Fairtrade Foundation explains, it’s all about customers choices: “where we find that UK shoppers are demanding more Fairtrade vegetables and producers wish to supply them, the standard could be extended to other vegetables such as baby corn, fresh chilli and broccoli.”

Are you up to take a little step towards fairtrade? “Like swapping your tea to Fairtrade, or a bigger step, like asking everyone in your office to do it too.” You can start now and then participate in the STEP project in February. I think you’ll taste the difference when buying fair. Watch the Fair Story for inspiration.

I know all of this is nothing new but hey, have you changed your habits of buying chocolate yet? If not, well then this reminder is necessary.

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3 thoughts on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind

  1. I love bananas too! You may be able to grow your own in Thailand; banana palms are prolific.

    As much as I appreciate Fair Trade, I have given up bananas. I am instead eating primarily items grown close to me (or at least in my country; labels often do not disclose location within country). I still love bananas, but they must travel a very long distance to my market. This means their carbon footprint is very high. Bananas are not the only culprit, this rule applies to most imported foods and products (I live close to the border with Mexico, so some items from northern Mexico may be OK).

    Food marketing leads the public to believe that we must all eat some imported foods every day to achieve optimal health, but we must also consider the health of our planet. Often we are importing foods that we can grow at home, simply so that food industry multinationals can save money. We then pollute our planet, and by relying on foreign imports are left less able to feed ourselves.

    Fair Trade is doing a good job of improving global trade, and I would like to see such efforts applied to domestic trade too. Farmers cooperatives not tied to industrial agriculture are an excellent benefit, and many such groups exist (though this varies by country). Farmers should begin preparing themselves for a new business model, one without petrochemicals, without mass mechanization, and without global trade.

    • Haha, I knew you’re gonna say that but I like it anyway. Staying local ist best without any doubt. But just in case you want something from far away once in a while… this is the best way to do it.
      Luckily, bananas, mangos and all the other stuff I am feeding on right now is totally local around here, it’s like paradise!

  2. Pingback: Doing it Right | Kosmos 9

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