When I was a kid, organic was something fringe and pretty uncool -- something that got you labeled "weird" at lunch. Nevertheless, my mother was a health food freak, and took me out for organic carrot juice instead of soda pop, and insisted on baking with molasses and carob.
These days, organic is reasonably hip, not only for hippies, but for posh folks as well, and it's trickling into the middle class suburban mind too. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are no longer fringe, and regular supermarkets typically have a natural foods section and at least some
organic produce, which is often farmed as a subset of a big company that used to sell only "conventionally grown" foods -- meaning stuff sprayed with toxic chemicals that get into our bodies, as well as the soil we depend on for future nutrition.
So how did organic become mainstream? Enough people started being willing to pay higher prices for organic, showing the bigger companies there was a profit to be had in organic farming. We changed the wind by our buying power.
I'm guessing we could pull of the same thing with Fair Trade. If enough people start buying a significant amount of their clothes, coffee and Christmas gifts Fair Trade, could you picture WalMart offering a Fair Trade section?
What if all committed to buying at least 40% our clothes, gifts and coffee in the coming year from Fair Trade sources? And what if next year, as a result of our patronage, we found even more options and decided to purchase at least 60% at Fair Trade? Maybe the following year, 80% and so on until Fair Trade becomes as mainstream as organic baby food. Or is that too modest a goal?
Labels: Culture, Social Justice