Tips for eating with a conscience with an eye toward improving the
health of the individual, the community and the world.
“We are as vulnerable as the eroding topsoil if we do not enrich ourselves with knowledge about our food system, and then share such knowledge with others.”
Being thoughtful about how the food we eat is produced is in keeping with our Unitarian Universalist principles of justice, equity and compassion in human relations and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Many of the foods we take for granted are grown or harvested by underpaid or slave laborers, including children. This page provides resources for finding ethically produced products.
What is “Fair Trade”?
To receive the fair trade label, a product has to comply with standards all along the supply chain – including producers, traders and wholesalers. Small farmers are required to be organized in cooperatives or other groups that allow democratic participation. Plantations and factories can use the fair trade label if employers pay their workers decent wages, comply with health, safety and environmental standards, allow workers to join unions or other forms of associations, provide good housing if workers are not living at home, and do not use child labor or forced labor. Companies must ensure that the additional revenue generated by receiving fair trade prices for the products is used for the benefit of the workers. To date, fair trade certification has been granted to coffee, tea, cocoa, rice, juices, sugar, spices, herbs, cotton, flowers, honey, wine, rum, bananas, mangoes, pineapple and a variety of other fresh and dried fruit.
The world’s largest supplier of cocoa beans is Ivory Coast – 43% of the world’s supply comes from this west African country. Hundred of thousands of children are bought or kidnapped to work as slaves on cocoa farms there. Buy your chocolate from companies who produce chocolate that has NOT been produced by slave labor:
Clif Bar, Cloud Nine, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Denman Island Chocolate, Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Gardners Candies, Green and Black’s, John & Kira’s, Kailua Candy Company, Koppers Chocolate, L.A. Burdick Chocolates, Montezuma’s Chocolates, NewLeaf Chocolates, Newman’s Own Organics, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, Rapunzel Pure Organics, Shaman Chocolates, Sweet Earth Chocolates, Taza Chocolate, The Endangered Species Chocolate and Theo Chocolate. Read more about this in an article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/is-there-child-slavery-in_b_737737.html .
Ways to eat locally grown sustainable food in the Houston area
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSAs are small farms that sell shares to consumers like you so that they can afford to plant their crops and feed their livestock, and then you get shares of the harvest during the growing season. Some farmers encourage “pick your own”, which helps you and your children get a farm-to-table lesson! There are a number of CSAs around here. Most have drop-off sites for customers to pick up their food. Some also sell their wares to non-subscribers at farmers’ markets.
Plant It Forward Farms www.plant-it-forward.org
Wood Duck Farm www.woodduckfarm.com
Twin Persimmons Farm www.twinpersimmonsfarm.com
Home (or office) delivery of local, organic food
There is also a new business in Houston that gathers food from all the area’s small farms and delivers it to your home. Greenling has been in other cities for some time and has come to Houston this year. Visit www.greenling.com.
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Houston
Radical Eats (now two locations-Tex-Mex and etc.)
Pepper Tree (Asian)
Green Seed Vegan (juices and food)
Loving Hut (Asian)
Quan Yin (Asian)
Pat Greer’s Vegan Kitchen (take-out)
The Garden Kitchen (take-out)
Vegetarian (or mostly)
Field of Greens (mostly vegan with a few fish dishes)
The Doshi House Cafe’ (varied)
Cricket’s Creamery & Caffe (breakfast and lunch only-varied)
Madras Pavilion (Indian)
Bombay Sweets (Indian)
Udipi Cafe (Indian)
Pine Forest Garden (Chinese)
Concious Cafe’ (varied)
There are loads of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants-The Hobbit Cafe’ for example-but that list is much longer.
For those who are travelling, here is a good resource – http://www.happycow.net/