Posts Tagged ‘Buy Local’



I’m on vacation this week! So it might be quiet on the blog, but I wanted to leave you all with this question: do you think the goals of the Buy Local movement and the Fair Trade movement are more compatible than they are contradictory?

Underneath the slogans and the sound bytes, it seems to me that the goals are about supporting small farmers, sustainable agriculture, local economies, community control, human connections, direct relationships, and a healthy planet.

If that’s so, let’s see those commonalities and work together to build a more transparent, just and democratic food system!

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Despite my first blog entry, Why “local” and “Equal Exchange Fair Trade” are two sides of the same coin, I must admit that I’m becoming a little confused by some of the Buy Local messaging I’ve been observing lately. I wholeheartedly support the goals of the movement as I understand them to be: reducing our carbon footprint, supporting local farmers, building healthy communities, reducing corporate control of our food system, etc. At the same time, I’m getting more nervous each time I see a simple formulaic solution being offered to resolve complex issues, such as food mile calculators, carbon-neutral labels, 100-mile diets, etc. I worry that if we’re not careful, the Buy Local movement will risk crossing the line that the Fair Trade movement stepped over, when the certifiers began eroding the vitality, richness (and yes, contradictions) woven into Fair Trade by reducing the whole set of values, principles and historical realities into the slogan: “look for the seal.” (more…)

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Karisa Centanni, education coordinator at the Honest Weight Food Co-op, a member owned and operated natural foods grocery store on Central Avenue in Albany travelled with Equal Exchange to visit CESMACH, one of our co-operative partners in Chiapas, Mexico.

For World Fair Trade Day on May 10th, Karisa wrote about her impressions of CESMACH, and offered some reflections on the connections between the Buy Local and Fair Trade movements, which were published in the Greenfield Daily Gazette’s Community Blog: Greenpoint

Ruth Ann Smalley, of the Honest Weight Food Co-op interviewed Karisa, and then did further research about the relationship between coffee and the environment.  To read this interesting article, entitled, “The Birds and the Beans: Preserving diversity and promoting small farmers through cooperative coffee,”  please go to Coop Scoop.

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Suddenly everyone’s talking about local: “Local is the new organic,” we’re told.

Farmers’ markets are springing up in food co-operative and church parking lots and on Main Streets throughout the country. More people are joining CSAs (community supported agriculture) and choosing locally grown products in their grocery stores. And as this trend continues, more and more consumers are starting to ask hard questions about where their food comes from and how its grown, who is growing it and under what conditions, and equally important of course, who’s making the decisions that control our food choices and who’s making the profits from those purchases?

The “buy local” movement implies that people are acknowledging all the hard work that goes into producing high quality, healthy, flavorful products and they want to support their local farmers. They want to know the farmers, how the food was grown and be assured that it’s both healthy for them and safe for the planet. To me, it says that we as consumers are choosing to re-personalize the food system; that we want to be a part of a movement that supports community and the planet and that we are ever more ready to resist the trend for corporate control of our food system and our values. (more…)

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