If you buy cheap food, you may be feeding poverty
Do you always look for the cheapest food?
Would you look for the cheapest if you knew the farmer that produced that food couldn’t feed his family, afford clean water or visit a doctor when sick?
Many people opt for the cheapest food, even when they can afford to pay a bit more. Cutting costs on food has become somewhat of a normality for many, but at what cost?
Have you ever stopped to think of the impact that buying dirt cheap food has on others?
Just reading the above statement makes me want to cry. The thought of any child dying makes me want to cry, but these children dying could be a result of me wanting to save a few pennies on my weekly shop.
The choices we make every day, right down to which tea bag or cotton wool we buy weekly, can have a massive, and sometimes fatal, consequence on someone else’s life.
I’ll admit - I don’t always choose Fairtrade, but after watching this video it’s time I make better choices and make Fairtrade a priority.
Take a moment and watch this video.
I always choose organic when I can as I care deeply about what I put in my body and what goes into the environment. It’s also much better for encouraging wildlife. I hope when I purchase organic items, which are much more expensive, the farmers and food producers are paid a decent wage. I'm choosing to support the type of world I want to live in by choosing organic - better quality food and less pollution and less chemicals. I see it as an investment in my health and the planet too.
It's the same with Fairtrade too. It's an investment into a better quality of life for the people who grow and produce our foods and goods. They shouldn't be out of sight and out of mind. I’m now going to make a conscious effort to buy Fairtrade whenever I can. The choices we make and the few extra pennies we spend really can ensure farmers and their families are paid a decent living wage and lead a better quality life.
We can vote with our money for the type of world we want to live in. The choices we make each day can really make a difference.
Even in our own country we’ve seen farmers not being paid enough for their produce and making a loss. All because the supermarkets are at war with each other to be the cheapest and best.
Because we want the cheapest food and they want our custom.
That’s just in our country and living standards are good here. Imagine what they must be like in a third world country.
I thought it was disgraceful that the farmers in the UK weren’t being paid enough when it was all over the news a few years back, but I never stopped to think about what farmers in poorer countries were being paid for the other cheap products I bought. For them it was even worse.
Children in poverty
It’s not just the farmers we are exploiting, but their families and children too. Many of them are so poor they can’t afford to send their children to school. Instead their children must work for them.
They are trapped in a vicious poverty cycle. They can’t afford wells for clean drinking water and get sick. They can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick.
By choosing Fairtrade you know the farmer is getting a fair deal on his crops. A stable income is generated ensuring they can feed their children and build wells to supply clean drinking water.
There’s still a long way to go, but choosing Fairtrade will help to improve the health of communities and improve their quality of life.
Esme is 70, the age when we hope to be retire by, if not long before, but Esme is a tea farmer who struggles to make ends meet. Choosing Fairtrade will help Esme to provide schooling for her grandchildren, clean water, electricity and hopefully allow her some time off to rest (or even retire) soon.
I hope you think twice next time you’re reaching for a cheap option if there’s also a Fairtrade option available. Just take a moment to question why that product is so cheap.
Who benefits and who loses out? Could your cheap food be feeding poverty and even death?
Don’t feed exploitation.
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Originally posted on Friday 3rd March 2017 - updated Thursday 18th June 2020