Fair Trade is a term that’s bandied about a lot these days. Do you know what it really means?
When I was editor-in-chief of Natural Home magazine, we defined fair trade as policies and standards that provide a fair living wage and a safe work environment for everyone involved in growing, harvesting or making a product. Our Fair Trade Buying Guide is a great tool for identifying fair trade arts, crafts and other handmade goods.
I’m not sure all readers are aware, however, that we distinguish between fair trade practices (uncertified, lower case) and Fair Trade Certified (Fair Trade USA official, upper case). Kitty Sheehan, who writes for Frontier Natural Products’ new blog, The Cayenne Room, also senses consumers’ confusion around fair trade, especially when it comes to buying food. “If you have a general idea that [fair trade] may be a ‘good thing’ but aren’t sure where to find these foods, or how to use them, your day is coming,” she writes.
Fair Trade supporters around the globe will celebrate World Fair Trade Day with a Fair Trade Breakfast on Saturday, May 14. The Fair Trade USA website is full of ideas about how to raise awareness about Fair Trade while enjoying good food and fun. You can also pick up and exchange ideas at the Facebook page for Fair Trade Certified.
Sheehan suggests taking a moment to identify the Fair Trade Certified ingredients used for each dish when serving a Fair Trade Breakfast for family and friends. She offers the following suggestions for integrating Fair Trade ingredients into your cooking:
--For main dishes, go with Fair Trade pastas, vegetables and spices.
--Use Fair Trade avocadoes, tomatoes or other veggies for salads or side dishes.
--Enhance your meal with home-baked breads, cookies and desserts using Fair Trade fruits. Fair Trade bananas, the first fruit to be certified, can be found at almost any food store.
--Think beyond food. More and more Fair Trade kitchen and table items—place mats, tableware, napkins, serving dishes, etc.—are becoming available.
Do you have plans for World Fair Trade Day? Let us know what you’re thinking.