Where does your food come from? Maybe you buy only the freshest vegetables at the farmer's market and pay $5 for a dozen free-range eggs. Maybe you buy only the cheapest thing from the dollar menu and don't pay $5 for anything. But you should start paying attention, and buying Fairtrade products whenever possible. 

A lot of our favorite stuff, like coffee, chocolate, cotton, and even bananas and flowers are produced at such a high volume and such cheap prices that almost everyone along the supply chain gets cheated: unsafe or forced labor, incredibly low and unsustainable wages, poor environmental practices. The list goes on. Companies that only focus on profit tend to completely destroy both people and planet, if there are no regulations. Enter: Fairtrade America

You've probably seen this little symbol on packages at the grocery store:

But what does it mean? Fairtrade is committed to delivering ethical, sustainable products by working with workers all along the supply chain to get you the best product. How? 

1. Fighting Child Labor

Due to high demand for cheap products, some 218 million children in the world work in dangerous forms of child labor, and 71% of those work in agriculture. Fairtrade America works to fight child labor by not only providing farmers with higher, livable wages (lessening the likelihood of resorting to underage workers) but also by empowering the youth workers themselves. Check out the full guidelines here

Looking for a snack while you fight exploitative practices? Grab a bar of Endangered Species Chocolate. 

2. Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation 

Fairtrade America producers are committed to practices that protect the local ecosystem, like minimizing the use of chemicals and never using genetically modified seeds, as well as encouraging farmers to go completely organic. 

Cool down while you fight global warming with a pint of Ben and Jerry's (bonus points for dairy-free!). 

3. Supporting Gender Equality

Fairtrade America supports women by ensuring all producers meet standards for including minority groups, prohibiting gender discrimination, and empowering women through financial and leadership training. 

Walk a mile in her shoes, but make sure to grab a pair of Conscious Step socks, first. These organic cotton socks are not only Fairtrade, they also support different causes by a donation for every pair you buy. Talk about ethical fashion!

4. Fighting Poverty

Fairtrade America fights poverty by ensuring that farmers and workers get a fair price for goods and services, so they can continue sustainable production. Plus, the producers receive a Fairtrade Premium, which they can choose how to use, like for business investments or community improvements. 

Keep up the good work while enjoying a delicious cup of Ethical Bean Coffee

5. Supporting Worker's Rights

Fairtrade America holds producers to the Higher Labor Standard, ensuring that employees get fair benefits like wages, paid leave, and formal contracts. 

Support workers by sipping a cup of English Tea Shop tea.

Learn more about Fairtrade America products and how to get involved here. Every time you opt for Fairtrade products instead of conventional ones, you cast a vote for human rights, environmental support, and a brighter future.