For whatever reason, I’m attracted to grocery stores. Maybe it’s my love for food, meeting people – think about it, everyoooonne has to buy food (and when I say everyone, I really mean every type of person. Once when working for a small grocery store here in Austin, I met a wiccan who roamed around the store whispering what I could only assume were spells on anyone who wasn’t pushing their basket fast enough) – or maybe it just so happens that these places are the only ones that will hire me (Yikes!).
Regardless, I love it, and I’ve learned a lot about food, health and all the other things that I put in my body. I would say because of my experience, I am a more knowledgeable and conscious consumer. In case you haven’t before, just take a moment to think about how much power we have as conusmers or citizens – if we don’t like it, don’t buy it, or if we don’t like them, don’t vote for them. Think of the impact certain fast-food chains would realize if there were “no buy days.” It would be huge. We. Have. Power.
Now that I’m at my post at Whole Foods Market (WFM) with Whole Planet Foundation (WPF), I am surrounded by people who are using this power for good. I have an amazing opportunity to make an impact on our global community. Specifically, I am talking about the Whole Trade Guarantee Program (WTG) at WFM, and how that and WPF are making a huge impact on the world.
As an extension of WFM values, the Whole Trade Guarantee Program was created to ensure that our consumers were buying the best products for them, the community and the world. WTG products must:
- Meet our high quality standards
- Provide more money to producers
- Ensure better wages and working conditions for workers
- Utilize sound environmental practices
- 1% of sales go to WPF
WTG products have a greater impact on communities. They enable communities to better provide for themselves, and offer the opportunity to improve their lives. A perfect example of this can be seen with one of our amazing partners and supporters, Guayaki. They are Fair Trade Certified and have a mission to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020. Talk about making an impact! There are other great stories on the Whole Story blog under the Whole Trade category. Watch and see how WFM ensures equitable pay through Whole Trade Haitian Mangoes:
The work WPF does is similar. We approach poverty from a “hand up” perspective. The poor aren’t lazy, they aren’t stupid, they just lack the resources that many of us take for granted. I mean, I’m typing on a computer, sitting on a chair in an air conditioned office building… the list could go on. Microfinance puts the money in the hands of individuals who may not otherwise ever have access to it. With cash, women can start income-generating business to help lift themselves, their families and communities out of poverty.
While attending the Whole Trade Guarantee Summit last week (which I must admit, inspired this post), I was surrounded by hundreds of people who are all working to make a larger impact on the world. This was inspiring and empowering. I am lucky to be part of something so great.
We really do have the power. Our actions and habits as consumers can dictate how companies behave and the practices they participate in. We are all a little bit more connected than we think, or realize, and the decisions we make today can and do affect the lives and well-being of those in our city, state, country and world. As Olowo-n’djo Tchala, founder of Alaffia put it, “fair trade is a social movement” that we can all participate in and be a part of. We can help enable communities around the world to help themselves, give them the potential to better their lives, and be part of a solution to eliminate poverty.
I love what we do, and I love what fair trade can do, and while our missions aren’t the same, our impact is similar. I encourage you all to think before you eat and buy. Think about the power you have to make a difference in the world.
Now, with all this talk of power, I leave you with this:
Why do you like buying Fair Trade/Whole Trade products?