So last week we chatted about ethically sourced clothing. If you hung with me through it, thank you for sticking it out babe. I know we don’t like to hear that our habits impact others negatively! Nope, no one likes to hear that. Not. At. All. BUT here we are! We made it to the other side and we have the choice to POSITIVELY impact people with what we choose to buy. Shew. Big deal. But babe, I want us to be a community that challenges and sharpens one another (Proverbs chapter 27, verse 17: “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”). If Jesus agrees with everything you do and everything you like and everything you indulge in then you have probably created your own Jesus and he looks nothing like The King. (Because Proverbs chapter 3, verses 11 and 12: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects”…) God loves His kids so He’s going to tell us hard stuff that can make us better.

As Christ followers we truly should be the forefront on this issue. We are called to love our neighbors and do unto others as we would have them do to us. (Lol yup the “golden rule” comes from the Bible, check it out-The gospel of Luke chapter 6, verse 31 also seen in the gospel of Matthew chapter 7, verse 12). If Christians got real about this issue, that is a lot of troops going to battle for people without a voice.

We took a trip a few months ago to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. It is a live exhibit where they took the actual measurements of the Ark that God had Noah build in the Bible and they built a replica! It’s massive. Inside they created countless exhibits that take you through the story of the gospel. It was truly incredible, 10/10 recommend.

When we got through the entire museum, we took the group to the gift shop which was filled to the brim with Fair Trade and ethically sourced goods. From their coffee to their clothing everything supported doing good in some corner of the world. It was incredible and it made us say, wow, these people practice what they preach. These Christians are not only Christians in principal but in practice. They share the love of God globally and not just locally. (Hello James chapter 1, verse 22, amiright? “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”) They are aware of the impact their inventory has on others! The museum was incredible and we were already on board (pun intended) but once seeing that we were sold.

Okay, so on this note, let’s have a chat about Fair Trade and how it can help us love our neighbors better. In turn helping us work towards that community that sharpens one another.

So: What is Fair Trade? Why does it matter? And how can we go Fair Trade?

What is Fair Trade?

“The essence of Fair Trade is empowerment. It’s helping farmers come together and giving them the tools to solve their own problems.” *

Fair Trade ensures that “farmers get a fair price for their harvest and for all their hard work and have a chance to improve their lives that way.” *

I don’t know about you but I have worked outside in the dirt, gardening, cleaning out animal stalls, all the dirty, fun things. That was hard work. Harvesting acers upon acers of coffee and cotton and cocoa? Fishing, sewing, planting… These have got to be some of the most physically tough occupations. Should the people doing them not be one of the most financially compensated? They feed and clothe us. Should we be paying pennies?

This should be the norm, right? Empowering, problem solving, compensating? And Fair Trade Certified is convinced that someday it will be, but we have to commit to seeing this change and making it in our own homes.

Why does Fair Trade Matter?

Because it creates a more transparent and traceable global supply chain*. It’s businesses being held accountable for how they treat those supplying the goods they sell. It’s ensuring justice and fair treatment. These are things we as Christ followers, if you are one love, should be very keen on ensuring.

Fair Trade sets up health, education, housing, environmental stewardship for people all over the world. It’s business with purpose. *

How can we go Fair Trade?

“Every purchase you make is like a vote…”*

Fair Trade Certified offers thousands of products from stocking your pantry to your bedroom. All we have to do is switch to the seal. Most grocery stores carry Fair Trade Certified goods. So, instead of reaching for the Hershey’s bar (who are just catching on that child labor is bad…?), select the chocolate that is sealed with the Fair Trade seal. The same goes for coffee! I am a huge coffee consumer. Lately I have been discovering some really cool Fair Trade Certified brands such as Bongo Java Roasting Co. found at a local coffee shop in Tennessee (thank you Hibbert Davis), Carabello Coffee sold at the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, Kingdom Growers found at Life Way, and Kicking Horse Coffee found at Earth Fare in Asheville NC. It’s not hard to find but we just have to know to look. We have to know that it matters and then we have to take the extra step to be thoughtful in our buying habits.

Every Purchase You Make is Like A Vote

I am writing this blog on none other than Mother’s Day. Many times moms are largely in charge of doing the grocery shopping for their households. I am not a momma but I am a wife. I do most of the grocery shopping for my household. Once I learned about Fair Trade and ethically made goods along with the dark side of non-sealed goods, I began working toward switching our whole house over. My hubby and I are currently on a pretty tight budget so I began with just coffee and chocolate but the more I researched, the more ways I found to access this lifestyle. I led us in the charge to making the Fair Trade commitment. I set ethically sourced and Fair Trade Certified as the goal, the standard. Start out small, but just start somewhere. Lady you have the power to do this. Educate your household and make the commitment today. Lead your family into a better way. Teach your babies that every choice has a ripple effect and we have to take responsibilities for our actions.

Every Purchase You Make is Like a Vote

Lady, we have to ask ourselves,

What are we voting for?

What do your purchases support? It has been said that your money or currency, is like a current.** Where is it taking our world? You have INFLUENCE, you have a voice, you can make an impact. It’s not too small just to switch your brand of coffee. It’s not too small to just abstain from supporting one or two ugly brands. ITS NOT TOO SMALL. You, right now, right here can change people’s lives. Your vote counts, what is it counting towards?

Hand in hand let’s vote for a better future.

For Love,

Lydia

Sources:
*- https://youtu.be/SfRzuYc7JFE
https://www.fairtradecertified.org/
https://globalexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/HersheyReport2011.pdf
**- https://www.instagram.com/p/BvkKRLqnULL/?igshid=1xnl3893f62g0

Resources:

https://eluxemagazine.com/recipes/best-fair-trade-chocolate-brands/

^this article brings the issues of cocoa farming to our attention and urges us to go fair trade. Then gives us great options to do so and make a difference while enjoying even BETTER chocolate than that which is a product of unfair and unsafe labor practices. Say no to exploiting human beings worthy of dignity, love and respect.