Fair Trade Spices: Small Product, Large Environmental Impact

Jessamine April 20, 2017

There are small changes we can make every day that contribute to environmental sustainability.

As a Fair Trade enthusiast I am always excited to find new Fair Trade products. Not everything that we purchase, need, or want is Fair Trade certified, and when these products are not available I do my best to buy local, non-GMO, or organic. All of these options protect the environment in different ways, and provide consumers with simple ways to support environmental sustainability with our everyday purchases.

Fair Trade Certified Tea, Dazhangshan GardensSince 1970, April 22 has marked the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. Earth Day is a great motivating day for people to do something positive for the environment. According to the Earth Day website, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people each year. It’s a day that brings attention to the impact of human behavior and calls for policy changes to further protect the environment.

Earth Day does bring action, shed light on environmental policies and issues, and get more people actively involved in events like planting a tree or picking up garbage from the ocean shores – but it only happens one day out of the year. What about the other 364 days? There are small changes we can make every day that will continue to contribute to environmental sustainability.

Small Product, Large Impact

Recently I was enjoying a cup of Fair Trade coffee and thumbing through a magazine called Clean Eating. Ordinarily, I would expect to get vanilla
new inspiration for cooking, read about some healthy tonics that help cleanse the body, and there might be some success stories in there, but this issue had even more to offer me. A simple blurb induced this exploding excitement in me that caused me to go to my health food store, and ultimately write this blog – a simple blurb about Fair Trade certified spices.

How was I unaware of Fair Trade spices? The fact that I can get Fair Trade pepper, something so simple I can replace in my pantry, but have a larger environmental impact with each use, was like winning the lottery.

Around the world, farmers’ yields are increasingly impacted by drought and disease as a result of the changing climate. With Fair Trade premiums for community investment, farmers can spend more time and money on things like environmental education, training, quality testing, and equipment efficiency. Fair Trade agricultural standards include limiting overall water use, sourcing water sustainability, requirements against GMO use, safe disposal of hazardous wastes, and exploring alternatives to chemical pest control. These are just a few of the benefits that can come from a simple choice at the grocery store. 

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

I’ve discovered that there are Fair Trade options for many spices, including cardamom, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and peppercorns. My spice rack is now fully stocked with Fair Trade spices, and I feel like I am celebrating Earth Day everyday. So I challenge you to not just go out and do something great on Earth Day, but do things that celebrate Earth Day every day, and right from your own home.

Looking for more information on Fair Trade spices or Fair Trade’s environmental impact? The following resources are a great place to start:

Blog banner - FT Spices, Jess

You must log in to join the discussion. If you are not already a member registering is easy.

Jessamine, Fair Trade Communities Fellow, Southern California

Jessamine Gilman-Vorm is a Psychology major at California Lutheran University, President of Cal Lutheran’s Fair Trade Club, and a Global Justice Intern working on raising awareness of Fair Trade and human trafficking. Originally from New Hampshire, Jessamine transferred to California Lutheran University from College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA. She has traveled to many parts of the world and decided to go back to school when she figured out her own purpose, helping others. She also hopes to have a self sustaining, nonprofit youth ranch for kids with autism one day. In her free time, Jessamine enjoys going to the beach and swimming in the ocean, coming up with healthy recipes, going to baseball games and music shows and organizing events for children with disabilities.