Last night i attended a very complicated, fascinating lecture about fair trade and Oregon Farms.
Slow Food finds it important to focus on 3 things when it comes to food
Good; we need to eat good food. Good for us, good tasting
Clean; we need to eat food that isnt packed full of toxins, poisons and hormones
That leaves us with Fair; we should know where our food is coming from and know that the people who are bringing us this food are being treated fairly with fair labor laws and wages.
I say should because the conversation is so complicated and ground-breaking. We have heard of fair-trade coffee and chocolate. Now we are talking about fair trade broccoli and strawberries.
There are farmers who are still paying their workers $2 an hour to spend 12 hours a day bent over with no health care and no way to protect themselves.
There are also farmers out there who are working alongside their workers 12 -16 hours a day, finding ways to protect their worker’s bodies from the grueling labor and paying their workers the same wage they themselves are making.
Jeff Falen from Persephone Farms stated that if we are willing to pay 20-30% more for our produce then we already do, he could afford to pay his farm workers $12 an hour and give them health care benefits. Many of us are already willing to pay more for organic produce, would we also be willing to pay for Fair Trade Organic produce? We are in an obvious economic slide. This doesnt make the conversation any easier. Many people in this country cant afford organic apples and can buy big red apples at a huge shopping center for half the price. So does it matter that those apples were grown in China where we have no information about good, clean or fair practices? For many people, they dont want to think about it or worry about it. But if it does matter to you, think about what you are eating and how it got to your table and the people who brought it there, perhaps people who live less then 20 miles away from you.
I think it is a worthy addition to our already packed brains. When you think about the complcations of just this one train of thought, it is so overwhelming but then i read this quote and i thought DAMN! This isnt so complicated,
“I am only one, but i am one. I cannot do everything, but i can do something.
And i will not let what i cannot do interfere with what i can do” – Edward Everett Hale
There are going to be at least 2 more lectures about this topic here in Portland. If you want to learn more, go HERE