Does what you buy at stores hurt the poor?

My guest blogger today is Morgan Brown. She is the social media manager for Trade as One, which is an organization giving proceeds to Food for the Hungry’s work. Brown has interesting ideas about how to examine your spending habits to stick up for what you believe in. Here is what she has to say:

The desire to be radical with our lives is rooted deep within Christian culture. Here’s an example: Have you ever been to a conference where you feel inspired to do something and walk away with shrugged shoulders when your call to action resulted in something not-so-spectacular?

You want to save the world, but no one’s giving you the blueprint.

But what if changing the world begins with looking at ourselves?

We often think of it like this: We advocate loudly on behalf of our global issue of choice, and then forget that our daily actions, like what we buy at stores, may improve or perpetuate our global issue of choice.

But what if altering your everyday actions created the impact your heart desires?

It’s when we realize that the global issues we fight against start in our home—and with our own consumption—that the world will start to change. How can you advocate on behalf of the enslaved and the global poor when what you buy at stores perpetuates it?

So what we ask of you is simple: Look at your consumption.

Are your faith and values reflected in the way you buy at stores? Are you standing in solidarity with the global poor simply through the way you live? Whether your answer is yes or no, we have two ideas for you and your church:

1. Start with Hungry for Change. It’s a five-day group fast where you eat what most of the world eats by living on $2 a day. Included in the fast is an email sent every morning telling you stories of lives being changed through ethical consumption and encouraging words for your fast.

2. Try buying  fair trade food.Trade for One offers a fair trade food subscription as a daily way to commit to eating fair trade. The products included in the box give dignified jobs to some of the most marginalized and poorest people in the world. In return, those jobs bring to them a living wage, so that they can feed their family, educate their kids and provide health care.

And even better, the box includes things you won’t find all in one store. With each season, we highlight one product and connect it to you deeply. We tell you the product’s history; why it’s important to consume it ethically; and include stories of people’s lives that have been changed because of it.

As famous food author Michael Pollan says, “The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world.”

I couldn’t agree more. I believe that we’ll see a positive, radical change worldwide when more people catch the vision of living simply and buying ethically as an expression of their convictions. Learn more about fair trade at tradeasone.org.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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