Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Working Up to World Fair Trade Day

Saturday the 14th is World Fair Trade Day! As such, this week's posts will focus on topics relating to fair trade. A fair trade label places the power of choosing socially and environmentally responsible products in the hands of consumers. It promotes economic equity for producers, environmental stewardship, and cultural preservation. Widely recognized now, these certifications seek to internalize some of the costs endured by smallholder farmers and local communities. Yes, you have faithfully endured my discussions of chocolate and coffee, which are probably the most well-know of the fair trading posse. But perhaps let's branch out beyond these two goods - how about honey?

Now, I apologize to any vegan readers who do not consume honey, but my philosophy is that someone will eat it, so let's produce it (or support the bees in production...rather) in the most sustainable fashion. Honestly, for honey, buying it at your farmers market is probably best - you can speak with the bee-keeper, see how he/she cares for the bees, and generally have more confidence in the product. But some of us just don't have access to local honey. Not that fair trade is necessarily any cheaper, but you can find it in a natural food store pretty easily.

Ok, how on earth can honey be fair trade? The idea here is that beekeepers receive a fair price, usually removing the middle-men from the equation. At the same time, fair trade certifications support the idea that protecting hives and surrounding habitat is not only essential for the bees, but the entire ecosystem. In essence, the certification seeks to maintain the pollinators in order to keep productive forests and crop fields, that are biologically diverse and support human livelihoods. Whew. I've been using Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Fair Trade Amber Honey. Sourced from Mexico, the honey has a really lovely rich flavor that surprised me from a commercial producer.

Honey-Kissed Orange Smoothie

1 banana

1 orange

2 kale leaves, de-ribbed

2 tsp honey

Blend all ingredients for a smooth, green, morning treat!

Upcoming products include: bananas, sugar, and tea!

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