There is power in the dinner table. Since most of us buy rather than grow our food, there is a great deal of power in our food purchases. Our lives are full and we want to make good decisions about the food we eat, and we give these decisions whatever time we have. Decisions take time and mental power, so in reality most of our shopping behaviors are habitual. Why? Because habits are easy. Habits are the paths of least resistance. Want to save money? Set an automatic withdrawal each month to go to a savings account. All of a sudden, you’ll save money. Want to get more exercise? Find a walking partner and commit to walking together regularly. Want to buy good local veggies? Sign up for a CSA. (I love my Full Belly CSA. It’s vegetable-awesomeness on autopilot.) I have adopted a habit in the past year that I want to spread the word about.
Like most people, I want to buy good food. Good to the earth, to our bodies, to the palate — for sure. These are the more obvious goods that come to mind when we buy our food. But what about the more opaque layer of how our food was produced? Who grew my food? Did the farmers receive a fair wage? Did they use pesticides? It can become a mental rubric of good things to go through for each and every purchase. So, the smart folks over at Trade As One decided to help us out. They made buying good food easier — and then created a path to a good habit. This is the Trade As One box.
Trade As One is a nonprofit dedicated to the issues of justice and fair trade with marginalized food producers in the world. I think of the Trade As One box as a CSA box for pantry staples. It makes it simple to purchase really good food that I would buy anyway — including rice, quinoa, beans, chocolate, sugar, couscous, olives, olive oil, etc. I have been delighted with quality of their products. I love reading a bit about the farmers who grow and package my foods, knowing that they are able to make a decent living by growing good food. But my favorite part about the Trade As One products is that I trust that they are produced justly. Trade as One puts the collective power of our dollars at the disposal of those who need them most. It’s a powerful habit for good.