5 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade
Monday, October 5, 2015


Foods carrying the Fairtrade International (FLO) label may cost more, but farmers receive more per pound -- enough to promote traditional culture, education, and health.

Fair trade tag

Let's say you’re at the grocery store and you notice two bins of bananas. Both look exactly the same, but the bunches on one side have a label saying they are “fair trade” and cost almost twice as much as the others. Are the “fair trade” bananas worth the cost?

The fair trade movement is an organized effort to pay farmers in poor countries a fair price for commodities like coffee, bananas, tea, and chocolate. Market rate for these goods is often so low that the farmers live in poverty without access to clean water, health care, or education. On banana plantations, for example, workers as young as eight years old work 12-14 hours a day spreading dizzying quantities of dangerous pesticides, and earn mere cents per pound produced.

Bananas carrying the Fairtrade International (FLO) label may cost more, but farmers receive $1 or more per pound, enough to promote traditional culture, education, and health.

Here are 5 reasons to buy fair trade:

  1. Human rights: farmers get a price that supports safe working conditions, schools, and clinics.
  2. Health and the environment: fair trade farms use organic and sustainable methods and lower pesticides when possible, minimizing greenhouse gases and protecting trees and animals. 
  3. Transparency: you can find the farm where your bananas came from!
  4. No child labor: fair trade standards prohibit it.
  5. Women’s rights: fair trade encourages women in developing countries to become business owners and earn enough to support their children.

So, at the end of the day, buying those more expensive fair trade bananas gets a lot for your extra fifty cents!

Want to make sure your next meal is socially and environmentally responsible? Visit the nutrition team at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, where students specialize in sustainability food questions.

— By Anita Bermann, MS (’14) Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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5 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade | Bastyr University