“Real Food” should encompass more than just how it will benefit your body, but its impact on the environment, farm workers and communities should also be considered.

Too often the focus on “what” (i.e. What foods should I eat? What foods should I avoid?) blinds us to the “where” and “who,” namely “Where does my food come from and who is producing it?” It’s essential to ask ALL of these questions and often many of the answers aren’t nice or pretty. What is important to you when it comes to choosing food to feed and nourish yourself, your children and your family?

When we consider a “healthy”, “real food” or “paleo” diet, most people are considering the nutrients in that food, and how it affects them. We look at the back of the package for the ingredients. How many carbs does it have? How much fat? When thinking about the production of the item, the questions often asked are surrounding how it will impact our bodies. Is it organic? Was it grass fed? Most often, the motives behind these questions are to find out how the food will impact our own bodies or our children’s bodies.
– Diana Rodgers, Sustainable Dish

The Dark Side Of Chocolate, Coffee and Bananas

And while these things are important considerations, as you become more aware of commercial food production, you need to be aware of other things, like: Is the food you choose to eat free of GMO’s? Does it contain chemicals, food additives and/or pesticide residues? Is it environmentally friendly? Was it sustainably grown? Is it fair trade? Does it support practices like human trafficking or child labor? Wait! What?

Do these facts bother you?

*In most banana producing countries, workers are paid poorly, subjected to harsh chemicals, and children are often part of the work force.
*While coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, the actual farmers that grow this crop aren’t making enough from coffee beans to even feed and clothe their families.
*Thousands of children, some as young as 8 years old, being siphoned onto cocoa plantations by a vast international network of human traffickers — all under the watching eye of the global chocolate industry.

Since food plays such an important role in all of our lives, we cannot afford to be so disconnected from food production that we are unaware of some of the major social justice issues happening across the globe.

Learn more about bananas, coffee and chocolate:

Healthy Foods That are Cruel: Bananas, Coffee and Chocolate

The Dark Side of Chocolate

Where Am I Eating An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy

The Dark Side Of Chocolate, Coffee and Bananas

How Do I Find Fair Trade Companies & Their Products?

Other products that you may be buying often and are listed on the Fair Trade International website include: cotton, flowers, fresh fruit, honey, gold, juices, rice, spices and herbs, sugar, tea, and wine.



Get the “Better World” app, and check out your favorite brands before you buy them. Not all fair trade companies are listed, so you can also look for the following logos on your products. If you don’t see the logo, write to the company and request more information. Direct trade, which is third party certified, is also a great option. Again, what you are looking for is transparency, so that you aren’t just taking the company’s word for it. The images below represent just a small sampling of the company ratings through Better World.

 

chocolate
coffee

I hope one day the average American will find issues like child slavery completely unacceptable and not purchase chocolate from companies that aren’t transparent with their sourcing.
– Diana Rodgers, Sustainable Dish

 

 

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