So the other day, I was tooting my own horn about the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” coffee that I purchased at Whole Foods.
But to be honest, I had no idea what that meant. It could have been about as relevant as having “all natural” plastered across a product. And that seal was the ONLY reason I bought it. I had my favorite coffee (Mocha Java- just as magnificent as it sounds) in my hand and saw that tiny seal, put it down and picked up the other bag hoping I wasn’t being duped by a marketing scheme.
Then when I got home, I did a little internet perusing to figure out what it meant, and this is what I found. (Majorly paraphrased this BTW)
1. Social and envornmental management system: basically, the farm needs to be efficiently and effectively run and that they must be evaluated to prove that fact.
2. Ecosystem conservation: the farms protect natural ecosystems as well as do things to help ones that have been harmed.
3. Wildlife protection: The farms protect natural areas that contain food for animals, as well as any habitats for reproduction and raising offspring.
4. Water conservation: They conserve water and monitor their waste water.
5. Fair treatment and good working conditions for workers: They do not discriminate, and pay equal to or above minimum wage. If housing is provided, it must be in good condition. They have access to medical services and any children living there have access to education.
6. Occupational and health safety: workers receive safety training to reduce the number of accidents and the farms provide the necessary equipment to prevent injuries.
7. Community relations: they are good neighbors and contribute to local economic development.
8. Integrated crop management: It is encouraged that the farms do not use chemicals that have proven to harm people or the enviornment. The farms record the quantities of chemicals they use and work to lessen or eliminate their use. They also follow the country’s (where their farm is located )laws about the use of chemicals.
9. Soil management and conservation: The farms must prevent or control erosion or reduce the loss of nutrients and lessing the impact on bodies of water that are near. They use specialized fertilizer, and crop rotation, as little pesticide as necessary and Never cut forests.
10. Integrated waste management : The farms must be neat and orderly and reduce the amount of waste they produce by recycling and reusing. Where they put their waste and the transportation they use to take the waste away must be as environmentally friendly as possible.
If youre interested, you can read the standards in full here.
I was not at all impressed with these standards. These are very basic things that ALL farms should be complying to. Farming responsibly could have such a positive impact on the environment, but its more expensive and takes more effort. More effort means more time, and time is money, honey.
It makes me wonder about the big name farm (Driscolls) where these babies came from:
And about the no name farm where these came from:
I know people make a big deal about purchasing ethically raised animal products (and I think thats great!), but what about responsibly farmed produce? At least with animal products they stick it right on the package. With fruits and veg, were really just buying it all blind.
Have a splendid day! :)
How do you feel about the standards that a farm must meet to become “Rainforest Alliance Certified”?
Do you think this will change the way you see produce? If it does, what are you going to do about it? For me, I’m going to make more of an effort to buy locally sourced and fair trade produce.