Save the world: by shopping

May 20, 2019 6:19 am Published by Leave your thoughts

At Naturally Good Food we’ve got organic, ethical and environmentally friendly products on our shelves. We specialize in products that aim to make a difference: to your health, to the local environment, to trading practices, and to the world in general. But can shopping in this way really make much of an appreciable difference?

How can shopping with us help save the world?

If it’s just you shopping like that, then no. But of course it’s not just you – these brands are widely available, because they’re popular with many people. Let’s see just what a difference one particular product in each of our ‘saving the world’ categories might make.

Saving the world: shop organic

We sell organic oats, sourced from the UK. We’ve got organic jumbo and porridge oats, as well as organic gluten-free oats. They’re wonderfully soft to the touch and produce a beautifully creamy porridge (or hugely satisfying flapjack). But what difference does their organic status make to the world around them?

Centuries ago, crops were grown in this country without the use of synthetic fertilisers and toxic pesticides. That all changed in the early 1900s, when these kinds of substances became widely used on crops of all kinds.

Concerns grew steadily about their environmental and health impacts and many farmers began to move away from these practices. Some were anxious about the impact of chemicals on their own health and that of their children. Others noticed that wildlife on their farms, including birds, was disappearing. Many became worried about the impact of fertilisers and pesticides when washed off into the surrounding streams and rivers. Farmers, after all, live on the land, and they were the first to notice the problems.

Organic oats aren’t a niche business – they make good sense commercially. Oats grown organically won’t have come into contact with petroleum-based fertilisers or harmful pesticides. Instead, organic farmers rely on a small group of natural pesticides to protect their crops and on traditional methods of farming to boost soil fertility. Healthy, fertile soils are known to be good ‘carbon sinks’, capturing the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, delicate ecosystems flourish in organic fields and hedgerows, and streams and rivers are protected from pollution.

A bowl of organic porridge is one small step for an individual. Translated into demand for a pallet-load of 25kg sacks of organic oats, it’s a much more significant move.

This video from Clif Bars tells the story of a US oat farmer, explaining why he decided to ‘go organic’.

Saving the world: shop ethically

Shopping ethically brings ‘people’ into the equation. There are lots of different ethical trademarks and schemes out there, but perhaps the best-known, in the UK, is the Fairtrade mechanism. We stock a range of Fairtrade products at Naturally Good Food, including raw cane sugar from Equal Exchange. It’s just a 500g bag – enough for a few baking sessions and a week or so of hot drinks. What good can it do the world if you decide to buy it?

Equal Exchange doesn’t just sell sugar; its mission is more far-reaching than that. It aims to build ‘long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers’. Its overall aim is to build a ‘more equitable, democratic and sustainable world’.

Every pack of sugar you buy boosts demand at Equal Exchange’s partner-co-operative-owned mill at Manduvira in Paraguay. The way in which this mill operates redresses the trading balance between local producers and global consumers, providing much greater equity and transparency. Workers receive a fairer price for their goods and labours, while the additional Fairtrade premium improves social conditions for the wider community. Trade, in general, isn’t fair. Fairtrade makes it more so.

One of our earlier blogs Fairtrade Fortnight: we’re getting personal explores how the Fairtrade mechanism and premium helps a particular group of sugar-growers – the Kasinthula sugar-growers of Malawi.

Saving the world: shop environmentally

Environmentally friendly goods are big sellers in major retailers. Buying one is uncontentious: those well-known planet-friendly washing-up liquids, soaps and washing powders do just as good a job as their standard counterparts. The connection between them and environmental damage also seems pretty obvious; after all, we’re choosing whether we want to pour chemical-laden water down our own drains.

So let’s look at something a little less obvious. Naturally Good Food also stocks the If You Care range of household products. From baking parchment to non-toxic firelighters, this range covers all manner of standard household goods – the kind of things you’ve probably never even considered in terms of their environmental impact. How can using, say, If You Care’s aluminium foil make a difference to the world?

This foil is made from 100% recycled aluminium. No further demands have been made on aluminium mines to produce it and very little power is required for its manufacture. The process, the company says, uses 95% less energy than the traditional power-intensive way of producing foil. Thus a precious resource is re-used (and can itself be recycled). It’s packaged in a box made from paper derived from sustainable forestry. Trees are planted, rather than cut down and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. All in all, it’s a pretty good way to wrap your sandwiches.

This video explains what If You Care’s aluminium foil does (and doesn’t do) for the planet.

All our world-saving products

If you don’t need oats, sugar or aluminium foil this week, don’t worry. We have a huge selection of other organic, ethical and environmentally friendly goods to help you save the world: one shopping basket at a time!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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