I Believe in Fair Trade certified products. Products that we use daily should be certified by Fair Trade. Being Fair Trade certified means that no one is without. They have enough to afford the luxuries of a good home, healthy nutritious food, education, and health care for their families, and a life without constant worry of not having enough.
As a young child I knew the words “Fair Trade”. I first saw them on the colorful wrapper of a dark-raspberry chocolate bar in the health food store Semillas, on the bottom shelf. I remember wanting it badly and the first taste I had of it finally, was absolutely perfect!
I am not a major chocolate consumer, in fact I barely eat it unless offered but I have a better understanding of what Fair Trade really means and it means that the producers of the chocolate will have a more happy and privileged life. For them it means not hearing the sounds of your stomach growling, and not having an education to be proud of just so you or I can have a Hershey’s candy bar or cup of Folgers coffee in the morning that might be 10 years old. So with the stamp of Fair Trade on a product it means everyone wins: buyers get only the freshest produce that is pesticide free, workers earn enough money so they aren’t hungry and uneducated for the lack of money, and the middle man is vanquished.
My school, Rio Gallinas recently took a trip to Agua Prieta, Mexico to study food ethics. On our first day there we ate breakfast at Carmita’s house. I was shocked at the poverty; her house was still under construction, with dirt floors. We ate in an addition to the 3-roomed house that was made of wooden palates set to form 3 walls with an opening for a doorway. She served us a meal of fried bananas, frijoles, and ham and cheese quesadillas. While we ate breakfast we interviewed her and her friend: Miriam, who told us a story about her, and her father. She was walking in her family’s cornfield. Seeing her father sitting among the rows, crying. She asked him what was wrong, he said that although they had many cornstalks there weren’t enough ears on them to sell to afford to pay bills and feed his family. Later they sold the farm because they didn’t earn enough from that year’s corn harvest. They did what many other farming families had done and moved to Agua Prieta where mequilas, Mexican factories, were in abundance and needed cheap laborers.
This doesn’t need to happen to anyone. Don’t buy products that aren’t Fair Trade certified. So what if it costs more. You will be helping families in Mexico keep their family businesses, and reduce the amount of pesticides used. Help make sure farmers get the money they’ve rightfully earned instead of being hidden from view by the ‘middle man’. This I believe.