While attending church this week in England I was personally challenged by the idea that our consumption has direct impact on the lives of thousands. The speaker went through examples of interactions most people have over the course of the day and how everything connects us to the world beyond our local market. For example, when you eat breakfast you are supporting farmers, factories, and workers worldwide. When you go to work you are in direct or indirect contact with clients, suppliers, adults, children, or any variation of that list. Every decision we make for ourselves no matter how small has an influence on the life of others.
So how does that relate to our spirituality?
In Psalm 33:5 the author states, “The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the Earth is full of his unfailing love.”
I won’t pretend to have much knowledge about fair trade. I have found the website for the Fairtrade Foundation to be helpful, but to be honest I never really thought much about the impact being a fair trade consumer can have on the world around me. By choosing to support small farms with our shopping we give farmers a voice in their market. The business world is focused on large brands and companies that receive large profits and in many cases their workers face harsh conditions and minimal pay.
I’ve never really looked at grocery shopping in this way. But one way I can contribute to the marginalized is to pay the extra fee to choose fair trade products whenever necessary. And why should I do this? Because God calls us to care for the poor, sick, injured, and those too weak to stand up for themselves. With the knowledge about fair trade options I cannot in good conscience continue to support businesses who treat their employees as less than the value they deserve. The right choice is always one that speaks love and hope. Giving small farms an opportunity to thrive is doing my part to foster justice in business.
I know it isn’t always possible, and there are times when we prefer products put out by the tycoons, but the more you investigate the issue the more disgusted you will become with the practices of some well known companies.
Once our eyes are opened to this kind of suffering in the world we can’t stand by and do nothing.
I am challenging myself this week to find one way that I can adjust my habits to support fair trade. For me, that starts with coffee–something I consume on a daily basis and one of the most abused markets for farmers. I plan to spend time researching coffee brands that I tend to purchase and make informed decisions moving forward about where and how to get my coffee fix. I know that research will really open my eyes and if you have insight into the coffee market specifically please feel free to offer your experiences. As time goes on I plan to expand my fair trade choices.
The treatment and livelihood of others rests in my choices. What costs me a little can save others so much.
Anyone else out there passionate about fair trade?
The Ameri Brit Mom