by Angela Pohlman, Wellness Category Manager
Many of us came to natural foods after a Social Justice awakening. For me, a big turning point in my life was joining the Student Farmworker Alliance and going on a cross country tour with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. It opened my eyes to how the demand for cheap food has dramatically impacted the people who grow and harvest it. It’s not just food—concern for the conditions of workers has helped fuel the Buy Local movement, and Fair Trade Certified options began to grow into not just coffee and chocolate, but also clothing, bodycare products, and home goods. The extension of the Fair Trade certification to flowers is very much needed. You’ve been asking us, and we finally will have it for Valentine’s Day 2018!
Why buy Fair Trade Flowers?
Any of us who have strolled through a meadow picking flowers can imagine that the perfect job. The reality is much different. About 80% of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in Latin America, South America, and Africa. The majority of employees are women and often these women are subjected to terrible working conditions, including exposure to toxic agrochemicals, sexual abuse and extremely low wages.
Fair Trade certification puts the people first
It guarantees the human rights of workers will be protected at all times. It allows the workers to organize democratically, ensures that workers are paid a fair price for their produce, and environmentally friendly growing practices are used.
Why is Fair Trade more expensive?
Simply put, it costs more to do it right. On top of workers getting a fair wage, importers (like us!) pay a 10% Fair Trade premium on all purchases. These funds are invested in the community—paying for education for the workers’ children, healthcare, daycare, and computer classes.
“For every Fair Trade Certified flower that we sell, a child is able to study here in Ecuador. There are so many children that cannot afford to go to school. For this reason, it’s very important to buy Fair Trade flowers, because our children are our future.” - Mariana Esquinato, Vice President of the Workers Committee, Hoja Verde Farm
Fair Trade only works when there is a market for the product, and that is where you come in: Starting around February 8th, all three of our locations will have a three stem Fair Trade Rose Bouquet with filler for only $18.99! Look for specially marked flower containers at our stores. This will be in addition to our regular flower options for the holiday. Join us insupporting Fair Trade!