How to Live a Fair Trade Day
Growing up in New York in the pre-internet '80s—long before social media, hashtag movements, and the 21st century's more recent elevated sense of woke-ness—the most emphatically reinforced social awareness campaign I remember was about littering on the subway (as in, don't do it). It wasn't until the late-90s that Fair Trade arrived on our side of the Atlantic—and with it, a newfound sense of good global citizenship and consumer responsibility: to spend our dollars in support of sustainable corporate practices, with a particular focus on wages and working conditions.
In the context of the current political climate in our country, there are plenty of urgent causes that demand our attention (and donations). One of the most practical and directly impactful ways we can all continue to make a positive difference in the world and in the lives of others is to practice conscientious consumerism—through supporting special initiatives such as Feed Projects, local businesses such as Falafel Inc., and continually questioning and confronting our own preconceived notions (see: Tunde Wey's new pop-up in New Orleans). For every day items, Fair Trade certification is an easy way for shoppers to identify carefully-vetted brands and product that meet the non-profit organization's rigorous standards for corporate responsibility—making sure that "the people making Fair Trade Certified goods work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities."
Looking for inspiration and ideas? Here's our guide on how to live a Fair Trade day—from the moment you wake up 'til lights out in the evening.
Wake up in your Mid-Century Bed from West Elm (from $899), which is made from sustainably-sourced wood and built in a Fair Trade certified facility.
Now it's time for coffee—we like Keurig's Fair Trade Certified Green Mountain Costa Rica Paraíso coffee (18 for $11.49)—and, if you feel like a morning smoothie, consider blending up a Fair Trade Certified banana with Pacific Foods Cashew Milk (6 for $30), Driscoll's Fair Trade organic raspberries, and Kashi's GoLean Dark Cocoa Powder Plant Powered Shake ($28).
Speaking of meal prep, consider looking for the Fair Trade Certified seal on vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh basil, and bell peppers (you can search for Fair Trade versions of your favorite products right here). There's even Fair Trade Certified tuna from Natural Blue, which you can find at national supermarket chains including Safeway, Albertsons, Acme, and Hy-vee).
As for snacking and sipping throughout the day, here are some of my personal faves: Larabar's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (yes, seriously, Fair Trade cookie dough bars exist); Runa unsweetened Guava Guayusa; and Marich Fair Trade Certified chocolates.
Make an easy weeknight dinner from sustainably-sourced Fair Trade Certified ingredients such as Bristol Sea Scallops, which are caught in the North Atlantic and are the "first U.S. seafood item to earn [Fair Trade] certification." Season your supper with Fair Trade spices from Frontier Co-op. And look for Fair Trade Certification on your grains—like this Rosemary and Olive Oil Quinoa Blend from Near East.
What are some of your favorite Fair Trade products? Tell us on social media by tagging us @foodandwine.