This Sh*t Isn’t Easy

Throughout the writing of these blog posts it seems that all I have found is restriction after restriction as to what we as consumers can buy. It seems that every company violates human rights or is cruel to animals, and therefore we have to seek out companies that are harder to find, and usually cost a considerable amount more.

 

I don’t write this to be discouraging to my cause, I’m just saying trust me I know how challenging it is to buy fair-trade, especially as a college student.  I definitely put forth an effort to buy it when I can, but I in no way would I say I only buy fair-trade.  Sometimes this is because of a lack of funds, but a lot of times its just because of laziness. It is just easier to buy products that are all in one place and cheaper. This, my friends is the plague that keeps America purchasing the products it does. Convenience.

 

I found some good articles online that help us to find the easiest way to buy fair trade. This article has 10 tips that will help consumers to buy fair-trade. It has tips such as looking for the fair-trade label and try to find the items where you normally shop.

 

http://greenwoman.typepad.com/biggreenpurse/2009/07/top-ten-ways-to-support-fair-trade.html

 

Really the best way to buy fair trade items is to do it when you can in accordance with your budget. There is a ton of information online that will guide you to making responsible decisions, and every little bit helps. So start by maybe changing out one item on your grocery list with a fair-trade substitute.  Any kind of effort could go a long way to making difference.Image

Home Grown

What is the easiest way to make sure the food you purchase hasn’t hurt anyone or anything? Know where your food comes from.  Buying local is a recent movement that consumers are initiating.  Seems crazy considering everything we bought was locally grown or raised.  Imagine if you had to live off what was grown and raised around where you lived.  In today’s society, this is a challenging idea, but if we learn about how we could make an effort to move towards buying locally it could make strides to improving our town’s economy and overall health.

 So, Why Buy Local? Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

 ImageThere are many ways to find local products, or even grow your own.  One great way to grow produce no matter where you live is to participate in community gardening.  It involves using a single plot of land gardened by a group of people. It is a great to grow food for yourself and also instills a sense of community with others who grow in the garden. In Boone, North Carolina there is one Leola Street that is just starting its preparations for the growing season this month. You can visit http://acga.localharvest.org/ to find a registered community garden in your area, or go to http://communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php to learn how to start your own community garden.

 Another way people get local products is visiting farmer’s markets. They have individual vendors—mostly farmers—who set up booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, to sell produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. They are usually scheduled for once or twice a week in a consistent spot with temporary booths.  In Boone there is one on Wednesday at Horn In the West. You can visit www.localharvest.org to find your closest market.Image

 A lot of grocery stores often have sections reserved for their locally grown products. Keep an eye out for all opportunities to buy from your local area, you won’t regret it.

Home Grown

What is the easiest way to make sure the food you purchase hasn’t hurt anyone or anything? Know where your food comes from.  Buying local is a recent movement that consumers are initiating.  Seems crazy considering everything we bought was locally grown or raised.  Imagine if you had to live off what was grown and raised around where you lived.  In today’s society, this is a challenging idea, but if we learn about how we could make an effort to move towards buying locally it could make strides to improving our town’s economy and overall health.

 So, Why Buy Local? Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

 ImageThere are many ways to find local products, or even grow your own.  One great way to grow produce no matter where you live is to participate in community gardening.  It involves using a single plot of land gardened by a group of people. It is a great to grow food for yourself and also instills a sense of community with others who grow in the garden. In Boone, North Carolina there is one Leola Street that is just starting its preparations for the growing season this month. You can visit http://acga.localharvest.org/ to find a registered community garden in your area, or go to http://communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php to learn how to start your own community garden.

 Another way people get local products is visiting farmer’s markets. They have individual vendors—mostly farmers—who set up booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, to sell produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. They are usually scheduled for once or twice a week in a consistent spot with temporary booths.  In Boone there is one on Wednesday at Horn In the West. You can visit www.localharvest.org to find your closest market.Image

 A lot of grocery stores often have sections reserved for their locally grown products. Keep an eye out for all opportunities to buy from your local area, you won’t regret it.

Start Your Day the Right Way

You wake up on Monday morning, and it was a long weekend. You are little too tired and groggy, and certainly not ready to start your week with that spark of energy.  The answer for over half of adults in America is a morning cup of coffee.  It is more of then than not that you hear someone tell you “Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.  It has become a dependent for a lot of people in today’s society.

The other thing about coffee is that it is almost exclusively an imported item to the United States, with only Hawaii growing a significant amount of coffee beans.  And unfortunately this means that a lot of field workers that pick coffee beans are mistreated and/or severely underpaid for their labor. It is also a large contributor the child slavery epidemic.  I found a video called Child Labour-The Price of a Cup of Coffee that is a translated German Documentary that explains the child labor that is used in the coffee industry. It is prevalent in South America and on the Ivory Coast.

 So, how can we avoid supporting coffee farmers that contribute to bad labor conditions or child slavery?  In an article in thedailygreen there is a list of nationwide brands that offer fair-trade brands, including popular company Newman’s Own.  Another good place to reference is www.betterworldshopper.org.   They rank all the coffee companies with Equal Exchange at the top and Maxwell House at the bottom.

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In conclusion, next time you shop for that crucial start to your day, think about the people your purchases affect, and try to purchase from a company that is socially responsible.