An Introduction to Fair Trade Fridays

February 1, 2015

I’m so excited to introduce a new series here in my little corner! Welcome to what will become Fair Trade Fridays.

I’ve been praying long and hard about how to use my online voice … I’ve mentioned one way already, now here is another. (Stick with me, this is long …)

(This post contains affiliate links. Please go here to read my full policy on affiliates.)

First … some background.

The voices in the culture wars are overwhelming me. We are shouting each other down on every topic imaginable – and we all have the right way, the moral way, the healthiest way … I’m drowning in the noise.

And so, awash in information and desperate to make the best choice, I’ve been slinking through WalMart in shame (because BIG CORPORATIONS = BAD), and having a full blown existential crisis in front of the egg display.

Let me explain. I want to eat organic. I do, honest. I want only the freshest, unsullied-by-hormones-and-chemicals food to pass between the lips of my wee babes. But then I end up in front of the eggs flicking my eyes between the $5 organic dozen which will last for approximately 1.5 meals, and the $2 flat of eighteen eggs that realistically will last a week or more. I’m torn between my budget and my good intentions, and UGH, CHEMICALS, and now I’m a bad mother for choosing the budget – and oh there it is … existential crisis. EVERY TIME. 

Until now.

I’ve learned the only way to tamp down the noise, to hear the important truths, and make the best choice for our family, is to make priorities.

I’ve been praying for years for the Lord to show me how this middle class, suburban, white, and chronically overwhelmed mother of three+ can live Micah 6:8.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

How do we do justice?

January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month. Estimates are between 21-36 million people are enslaved worldwide. This, my people, is a statistic that sets my soul aflame. (This video is long – 20 minutes, but feel free to bookmark later for much more information on the modern slave trade.)

So, in order of importance, WHEN WE CAN, this is how we shop:

  1. Slavery free. 
  2. Fair Trade.
  3. Local.
  4. Organic.
  5. Whole foods over processed foods. (Although being pregnant means more macaroni and cheese. Can’t lie about that!) 
  6. Used/Handmade.

For example, beef, sugar, and coffee are all food industries that are rife with slave and child labor. Those are the areas that I choose to spend more money ensuring we are purchasing products produced without the use of slaves. Practically speaking, that looks like buying beef from a local farm (bonus for doubling up on priorities), eating as much deer meat as Husband brings home, and fair trade coffee and sugar. That is my first priority in the budget. When I can, I choose eggs from my friend’s chickens, and local produce from the farmer’s market over the grocery store produce, which helps ensure that underpaid and/or undocumented workers are not involved. And even if I’m not buying local or organic, my kids are still getting loads of fruits and vegetables. And truthfully, my friends, a lot of days, I am slinking through Walmart with a bag of oranges and the $2 flat of eighteen eggs hoping to come under budget. It isn’t perfect, (I am using Apple products RIGHT NOW) but it is prioritized. Make sense?

The next step for me, and the impetus behind my new series, is redeeming more of our shopping choices. Moving beyond the grocery store and examining how we buy our clothes, our toys, our furniture, etc. Setting priorities and wading through the noise for truth.

There are a multitude of bloggers and organizations compiling well researched lists of places to shop ethically and slavery-free. For the small contingent of you that come here on the regular, I will compile as many of those lists I can find into one place for you. For my new series, Fair-Trade Fridays (twice monthly), I will be highlighting individual companies and buying ACTUAL THINGS from them to review. Because, first of all, fun for me! And secondly, I am much more likely to purchase clothes, etc, from a company where I or friends have personal knowledge of their quality and customer service.

Be on the lookout next Friday when I tell you about The Root Collective, how Otto made my shoes, AND I give away the most delicious handwoven cotten scarf.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Today is National Freedom Day. Do justice.

~M.

You can follow some of these organizations for more info on combating human slavery.

free2work.org

Slavery Footprint, part of Made In A Free World

The Exodus Road

The Polaris Project

Free The Slaves

There are so many more. I am just beginning my own journey through this. Please, do your research, and leave more resources in the comments if you know of reputable organizations and their work.

*My information in this post came from Free2Work and Free The Slaves.

 

More about Molly Huggins

I am an unrepentant extrovert with an ongoing, passionate affair with coffee, ellipses, and the written word. I write because it’s how I’m made to worship. I am a story teller, because redemption has a story to tell. And always, I want to be a story collector. So have a virtual seat at my beat-up kitchen table. Read my story. Tell me yours. Stay awhile. And P.S. ... for more about me, click on my mug in the sidebar;)

3 Comments
    1. Love this! I confess, I buy mostly organic, but I’ve gotten lazy about the fair trade. They just don’t sell any fair trade coffee at the commissary! I was inspired by your post though and went to Amazon to subscribe and save to some (for about the same as what I was paying for Starbucks!). Next question, where do you buy fair trade sugar? Everything I’ve seen is insanely expensive.

      1. Well, I am on a search now – I thought Trader Joe’s was fair trade but it isn’t. And it is going to be expensive, no matter what. That’s why I can only do a few products at a time! I don’t bake much with sugar so I use it most for coffee and sweet tea.

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