FAIRTRADE FOOD MATTERS | MAGPIE & MAPLE

Welcome to my new ‘living well’ series! This first post is all about ethically sourced foodstuffs. As is pretty obvious from this entire blog, I love my food and get through a lot of ingredients, but have more recently become aware of the problems associated with many of my favourite products. Like most people, I want to get the highest quality product at the lowest possible price, but what we often don’t realise is that this can come at a cost to the producer. Many industries rely on underpaying and exploiting their workers — or even on child labour and modern slavery — to keep prices down and turn over large profits.

If I have one issue with the current ‘wellness’ trend (and tbh I have quite a few) it’s that it’s very driven by what’s good for us and our bodies — what makes us look and feel good. These things are important, but sometimes I find there’s so much emphasis placed on this, that it clouds out issues which are more important. What about the people that grew the raw organic cacao? What about their ‘wellness’? If your food is all organic, cold-pressed, unrefined etc, that’s great – but surely the most important thing is that it’s ethically sourced?

I’ve asked Joe Osman, Sourcing Director at Traidcraft to answer a few questions and shed some more light on this issue, since it’s something I’m still learning about myself. Evidently, it doesn’t just apply to food, that’s just what I’ve chosen to focus on. This isn’t a sponsored post, but I do recommend you have a look at their website, as they have some wonderful ethically sourced products and run key campaigns. View Full Post

Food shopping takes me ages. There are just so many things to consider: how much is it? Where is it from? Is it in season? What’s in it? Does it have any additives? Which brand is better? I try to buy as locally and as seasonably as possible — it’s better for the environment, the producers and, generally, it’s cheaper — but of course there are some things that just can’t be made or grown close to home.

Organic products have become increasingly popular in recent years, and I can see why. But I’ve always found it somewhat confusing that fairtrade products haven’t received the same attention. Of course, if you can afford it, then buying organic is great – but is that really more important than making sure that the people who grew or made your food were treated well and fairly paid? Fairtrade products cost a little more, but is it ever justifiable to support the exploitation of others? If I’m going to spend more on food, it’ll be for fairtrade, not for organic. Eventually, when I’m earning, I hope to be able to buy both; but if a compromise must be made, I know what’s more important.

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