When shopping at the grocery store, you may have seen the Fair Trade label on products from chocolate bars to bananas. Or in your Bon Appétit café, you may have seen Fair Trade tea or coffee. But what does Fair Trade really mean? October is National Fair Trade Month, so there’s no better time to learn more.
At its roots, the Fair Trade movement is about ensuring that producers of goods get a fair price for those goods. This is particularly important for agricultural communities that struggle with poverty and export their goods to wealthier regions or nations. Farmers and workers in these communities commonly face small profit margins, high market volatility, subpar working conditions, and unhealthy levels of pesticide exposure.
Fair Trade organizations use a market-based approach to alleviate some of these poverty-related problems through trade. To consumers, a Fair Trade certification communicates that the item in question was grown or produced in a more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable way (and has undergone a verification process). To producers, Fair Trade standards support the community by offering price minimums to support farmers in unstable markets, providing frameworks for environmental sustainability, prohibiting child labor, and contributing premiums toward community development projects such as improving access to education and healthcare.
Think About the Supply Chain When Shopping
Many of us are navigating new types of stress due to COVID-19. Finding simple ways to treat yourself during stressful times is important for mental and physical well-being. Starting during Fair Trade month, chose one or more of the five ways to get a little #selfcare and feel good about doing it. Because knowing you are supporting the dignity and future well-being of farmers and workers in the supply chain will help you truly go “ahhh.”
Treat yourself to…
A Little Sweetness.
For many of us, baking sweet treats is a stress-busting activity that comes with a delicious reward. And it’s easy to make your baking better for workers. Chocolate lovers now have many options to find Fair Trade chocolate and cocoa powder. While most sugar in the United States is produced domestically, about 20% is imported, and that’s where the Fair Trade label makes a difference. Want to feel even better about your treat by giving it a healthy boost? Try our Chocolate and Avocado Brownies (trust us about the avocado, it works!) or these Chocolate Date Energy Bars. (Use Fair Trade cocoa when you make them both!). Looking for more Fair Trade cooking and baking items? Check out this searchable guide of brands and retailers.
A Mindful Cup.
A cup of tea is an invitation to slow down and relax. Pause with a steaming cup, inhale the aroma, and sip slowly for a mindful brain break. Drinking tea has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, some cancers, and type-2 diabetes, and may even encourage weight loss. At Bon Appétit we serve Fair Trade Numi tea and Honest Tea in our cafés.There are multiple other brands on the market that have earned the Fair Trade label: check out this guide.
A Bouquet of Goodness.
The majority of cut flowers sold in the United States are grown outside of the country, primarily in Colombia. Fair Trade flowers are now available from major online retailers including 1-800-Flowers, and Whole Foods Market sells Fair Trade roses. Find other sources here.
A Better Buzz.
Wake up to a cup of coffee that puts more money into the pockets of those who grew and picked the beans. There are numerous coffee companies offering Fair Trade beans that will perk up your homemade latte: check out this buying guide. Jumping on the Dalgona coffee trend? Mount Hagen, Altura, República, Highground and several other brands offer Fair Trade instant coffee so you can feel good getting your froth on.
A Sense of Connection.
Gifts, even if they’re just small tokens of affection, tell the receiver you’re thinking of them — essential in times when human connections feel fewer and farther between. Fair Trade Certified™ has curated a series of shopping guides, including specific guides for fashion lovers and mindful living advocates, among others.