24 October, 2015

Make a LOFTy goal this Food Day

Fairtrade cafe
by Rodney North

LOFT

Local

Organic

Fairtrade

It makes sense to celebrate Food Day in late October. Leaves are changing and produce at the local farmers’ markets is distinctively heartier – potatoes and squash, pumpkins and kale. Winter is coming and the scarcity gives us pause.

Food Day is a time to consider our approach to what we eat, to look at how the food available shapes us, and the choices we make. And there are a lot of them. Every day we are confronted by a complete and utter deluge of choice in the super market aisle.

In the run up to Food Day I saw an old infographic titled ‘Going Local vs. Fairtrade’. It got me thinking.

It’s really not either/or. The values underlying the “buy local” movement are very similar to those that drive Fairtrade purchases, such as:

  • the desire to support small-scale family farming
  • the desire to support sustainable farming
  • the desire to avoid big corporate intermediaries
  • the desire to know who grew the food, a sort of connectedness and transparency
  • the desire to buy directly, or at least more directly
  • the wish that more of the purchase price would reach the farmer

The buy local, organic and fair trade movements all share the same vision – getting consumers and producers to think not just about what they produce/purchase, but how it comes to us.

This rising interest in organic and Fairtrade reflects a wider trend of people dissatisfied with the way food is produced today and a desire to get closer. In the past 10 years the number of farmer’s markets across the US have grown from 3,700 to more than 8,200.

To that end, we suggest you make a LOFTy goal for the future. For maximum impact in your community, your country and the world, look first to buy Local, extend it further to make sure it’s Organic, and when you can’t buy your favorite local farmers, think of Fairtrade as your international farmer’s market.

Just to make that idea stick, here’s a 40 second video from Allison and Margot from the Fairtrade America team while they were at a produce-focused trade show last week.

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