Mindful Shopping: Food & Other Tidbits

If you’ve read the first two posts in this series then you’re probably starting to catch my drift. If not, here’s the back story and here’s the one on clothing. If you’re just looking for the freebie (I get it) you can subscribe to get that here.

Since you’re probably getting the idea by now, today’s post will be pretty straight forward: How to buy food & other necessities that you don’t need to feel guilty about.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. (All of which you can carry everywhere with you if you download the freebie! Wink, wink, nudge nudge.) 

How was it grown?

This isn’t about buying organic. This is about caring. I know producers that have organic certification who don’t give a hoot how their animals & vegetables are raised. It’s about marketing for them.

Nasturtium in dry poor soil
The fact is, deficient soil produces a deficient crop which makes sub-par food for unhealthy animals and people. On top of that, people are having to regularly reengineer crops to withstand stronger chemicals. One day I think this will hit a dead end and there’ll come a time when we can no longer hack it. Then what will happen to their claims of feeding the world? 

Also think about this: if a substance is not safe to touch, inhale or ingest, why would we want it in our food, clothes and homes? There is ample proof that residual chemicals are left behind during conventional methods. 

However you feel about growing methods, please just know what you’re buying before you say you’re ok with it. Your conscience might not be where mine is at on these issues. And that’s fine. My goal is that you would be an informed shopper and a compassionate one.

How was is processed?

Man holding coffee cherry and bean, coffee tree farm
These days, you definitely have to go the extra mile to buy a truly ethical product. For instance, I recently read an article on the Dean’s Beans website. Here’s a chunk:  

Whether it is a big plantation or a fair trade cooperative, once the coffee is picked, depulped and dried in parchment by the farmers it goes to the Beneficio for milling, patio drying, sorting and grading, packing and shipping. The workers at the Beneficio who do the drying and the sorting are almost exclusively women. Many of them wear masks because of the dust. You can’t see their faces. They receive low pay and few (if any) other benefits. 

The rest of the article contains wonderful goals about starting to meet those women’s most prevalent needs. My point is that there are often more steps than we realize in getting our food/household products to us. The way I see it, there are two options:

  1. Search, google and read. And when you find a company like Dean’s Beans doing their part, support the heck out of ’em.
  2. Shop local. When you can drive to the farm and see the people, the animals and the land, there are a lot less unanswered questions. You know how, where and sometimes can even be a part of the process. Win. 

Local Harvest is a great way to find a grower, co-op or CSA near you. In fact, our flower CSA is on there for a ridiculously low price, (I can’t figure out how to change it from the mobile site!) So if you run in to it on there and sign up, I’ll honor the price 🙂

    Finally, make it personal

    Poor woman in poverty, processing & serving food
    How were people treated throughout growing, processing, manufacturing and packaging? Do. Your. Research. Pretend you’re sending your baby off to their first job, would you be pleased to send them where this item was produced and processed? …Because somebody’s baby has to do it.

    Final Thoughts

    If you plan on doing all of this perfectly right, you can either rewrite these for me as the official master or cry yourself to sleep because you failed. 

    But seriously, I am not telling you to be perfect. 

    I’m also not telling you to copy anyone else’s choices. 

    I am asking you to strive for progress. To be mindful, conscientious. Practice being aware of where you’re dollar is going and the effects it has (positive or negative) on the world.

    Maybe you’ve given this some thought before. What resources have you found helpful on these issues? Have any favorite places to shop? Please let me know! If we get a good sized collection, I’d love to make a roundup/resources page to go with this series. 

    Subscribe and download the freebie here and comment or reply with your best tips! 

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