Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Organic & Fair-trade

It used to be that if I couldn’t get organic, then I’d be happy to buy fair-trade instead. But now I find my opinion has changed, in that I’m really not happy unless it’s both. Especially where food is concerned.

Easter is a good example. Last year I was happy with fair-trade eggs from Oxfam but this year I would only settling for organic and fair-trade. Luckily I came across Organic Times easter eggs – these are organic, fair-trade and made with rapadura sugar so not highly processed or refined. They were delicious!!

A combination of factors has influenced my decision. The more I read about the chemicals used in and on our food, the more I become more staunchly organic across all facets of the House of B. Plus the more I read about the chemicals used in growing food overseas and the fumigants used on fabrics / clothing / wood items that are imported into Australia (methyl bromide in particular), the less enamoured I am with some fair-trade items.

Methyl Bromide is a fumigant that is banned in Australia but an exception is made for quarantine use. It is highly toxic, can cause cancers and a myriad of other symptoms, and they are only required to set the products aside for 9 days before people can touch it. It is heavily used in the quarantine industry in Australia and New Zealand.

This doesn’t stop me buying all fair-trade items, it just means I am much more selective about what I do purchase. I also donate directly to organisations in need (such as Ki Kati and Carpets for Communities).

I also support organisations such as Oxfam and Plan International due to their programs that help encourage and support small industry within countries of need. I love the concept of Kiva as well (lending to small entrepreneurs to combat poverty - a bit like micro-loans) and have just started participating there as well.

What can I say, I love to help with community building, and supporting small industry (especially those that help women) but I am equally committed to living as toxic free as possible and giving Little B the best possible chance to be healthy and poison free.

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