Fair 5: Produce…and a Confession

Fair 5: Produce from The Local MissionI have a confession to make.  I am a foodie.  I love food. I am that person that takes pictures of my awesome food or coffee (example included of course).  Over the years I have grown in my thoughts on food too. From health issues dictating what I eat to wanting a generally healthy lifestyle for our family, we eat quite healthy and we love variety.  We also love discovering awesome local restaurants and coffee shops. This stuffed pablano was so amazingly delicious, and beautiful. I may need to stop writing and go get one now.

We have a plethora of strong opinions and have lengthy discussions on menu planning when we entertain.  It’s a big deal people.  But it is more than just food.  For me, it represents family, gathering, fellowship, and showing love and appreciation.  When you have good food you savor it.  You take your time.  You want to share.

This obsession also runs over into gardening.  When we bought our first house and it had a large backyard all I could think was HUGE GARDEN!  There is something so satisfying about growing your own food.   I am blessed to have a large yard and space (and an awesome, handsome, modern-day renaissance man of a husband to build raised beds for me).  Many people don’t have that luxury.  The kid loves it too.  It was like Christmas Day when he was able to pull up carrots.

I truly believe that God cares about what we eat.  Not just for health reasons and taking care of our bodies, but he cares about the people and earth the food represents. He created it and asked us to take care of the earth (and people too).This is a tough problem.  Sometimes it is easy to think, what is the point? I can’t know for sure if I’m making a difference.  I saw a quote recently from author Bob Goff that says, “Fail trying. Don’t fail watching.”

The chances of knowing everything about how our produce is harvested are slim.  If we don’t try we can’t fail. And it starts with being aware.  I like the convenience of going to the grocery store and just picking out the produce. But convenience isn’t worth exploitation.  Here are a few steps I am taking to start the process of choosing better produce.  Will you try these with me?

  1. Grow your own
    The easiest way to know your produce is ethical is to grow your own food.  You can container garden on a patio, herbs can be grown inside and raised beds can be built almost anywhere.  Many communities are also adding community gardens where you can purchase or rent plots.   Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t grown anything before: human history has been growing their own crops for thousands of years.  Lots of local or online resources are available.
  2. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Share
    CSA boxes are the very definition of direct trade. You are buying directly from the farm.  These shares vary depending on farm and region, but typically include a weekly box of seasonal fruits and vegetables. While it is not foolproof, you are closer to the source and supply chain is cleaner.  That being said, it can still be hard to know how they treat all their workers so a little research ahead of signing up may be prudent. Personally, I love being challenged with new food too and the kid every week too.
  3. Know the Fair Food Now partners
    Fair Food Now is a great organization working with farms, stores and restaurants to dedicate to fair sourcing and worker conditions. Three big ones are on the list: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Walmart. Consider switching where you get your groceries to these grocery stores that have dedicated to ethically sourcing produce.There a number of restaurants too that are dedicated to ethically sourcing their produce (and some might surprise you).  Look up your current stores website and search for their ethical sourcing practices.  My store is a Kroger Company  and I was able to find information about how they are working towards better supply chain ethics.  Want to go further?  Work to petition other stores to join.
  4. Know the particularly bad offenders:
    ​We are talking about small everyday steps to creating a more ethical and fair lifestyle that creates global impact.  Let’s start with knowing what companies are the worst and try avoiding them.  Monsanto has the biggest impact on produce, but the others have a huge impact on farming.

Produce is a tricky line and there are many things to consider.  The chains can be hard to follow and unfortunately not everyone wants to be open.  But I would rat her fail trying, than by watching.  If our intention is to do better and we are aware of what is happening out in our messed up world, then we can work towards small changes. If we “fail”, then we have learned something and can try again.

I want this to be a community of people experimenting and trying together.  Comment here and add to my list, show me a picture of your garden, or share your favorite farm or store that is trying to do better.  Let’s support each other on this journey.

Categories: Consumerism, Fair TradeTags: , ,

About Callie Unruh

I am an passionate wife, mother, wanna be radical, aspiring entrepreneur and recovering evangelical. I am working to create a life of impact in the suburbs of Phoenix and enjoy gardening, hiking and being outside.

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