Organic Fair Trade

I was walking down Commercial Drive today, enjoying the lack of rain and I suddenly became aware of the number of coffee shops, cafes, health food stores and restaurants all advertising that not only did they serve coffee but Organic Fair Trade coffee.  I haven’t been ignorant to the number of places advertising and boasting the certifications of their coffee but for some reason at that moment it seemed so much more prevalent and ridiculous.  Now by no means am I against, look down upon or dislike the organic or fair trade movements, in fact I fully support them.  What what really struck me on the head when I looked around at all the FTO advertising was how people will make such a big issue of it when it comes to coffee but remain ignorant and uncaring when it comes to food.   They’re willing to pay more for the coffee too but still expect rock bottom prices when it comes to food.

I’ve been reading a lot of food related non-fiction lately; Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food and recently Fast Food Nation.  All are great books that have for me, shedded a light on a group of people who have been forgotten by the whole Fair Trade movement; the North American farmer.  In the race to make the world a better place for people half way around the world, we’ve forgotten about people in our own backyards.  We’ve forgotten to ask if they’re getting fair trade for their products.  From what I’m reading the answer is no and they seem to be getting taken advantage of as much as coffee farmers and other poor farmers in developing countries. 

Even the whole local foods movement, seems to be more geared towards reducing the environmental impact and reduction of greenhouse gases, the potential health benefits of eating fresher foods, and as alternative to the industrial food complex.  From my experience of working on farms in Australia, it’s the small farmer that needs a lot of help too.  Unless they’re going industrial, farming in general seems like a wasted venture and the only ones that seem to be making a go at it are the ones going after a niche market.

Support your local farmer.


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