Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Not Fair

"It's not fair" are three words I hear almost daily from my seven and three year old boys. Whether it's because someone had ruined a favorite toy or someone decided to play by their own rules, my kids have learned early on that life is not always fair.

When it comes to the food system, life for the small-scale food producer in developing countries is truly not fair. Small-scale food producers often will see a large percentage of the food they grow get lost in the process of harvesting, transportation and storage. And for those that are successful in getting their food to markets, they will often be exploited. So what can we do?
"By supporting small-scale food producers you're supporting the 1.5 billion people that live on small farms in the world, and helping protect our ability to produce food in the future through sustainable farming practices. Buying Fair Trade products and brands is a great way of doing this so look out for them when you shop."

1. Try Fair Trade
Look for logos like this to help you identify small-scale food producers embracing sustainable farming practices. You'll also feel good knowing that these producers receive fair prices for their produce, ensuring they have money to buy food for their own families. Check out chocolates, coffee, tea, organic food and sustainably-sourced fish for fair trade certification.

Cassoulet with farmers market veggies

2. Buy Local
Shop at your local farmers market grown by small-scale producers close to home. Then go home and make this killer Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables by Mark Bittman (who is pretty much the original proponent of the GROW method). Made this hearty dish tonight and the boys licked their bowls clean. I might have too.

Here's hoping we can instill empathy in our kids so "it's not fair" is something that together, as the global community, will experience less and less.

This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about Oxfam America's GROW Method. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.

2 comments:

  1. Okay, so here's my conundrum. Is it better to buy organic, faraway fruits and veg or conventional, local foods? I feel like the scale is tipped in favor of local, even with the evil pesticides. True? Not true? Help me! It's making my grocery shopping very confusing.

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    1. That is a dilemma, isn't it? And with the news that organic food might not be better for you makes it very confusing. We try to buy local seasonal produce - it's fresher and takes less energy to grow (and if I can get it locally and organic, the better). We go with the rule of thumb that any produce with thick skin is okay to buy conventional (onions, grapefruit, watermelon, etc.). If I can, I try to buy organic apples, strawberries, spinach. I guess it is better to eat your conventional fruit and veggies than none at all, right?

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