This product is non-GMO. That product is fair trade. You might have seen these terms out and about on your travels to the grocery store or perhaps while reading a newspaper. But what do they really mean? Products that are non-GMO (without genetically modified organisms) and fair trade have plenty of reasons to be celebrated all year round. However, both going hand-in-hand, October is truly their month to shine! Non-GMO Month highlights the stores committed to carrying products that have been verified by the Non-GMO Project’s standards. On the other hand, Fair Trade Month raises awareness about the impacts of the fair trade movement in our global economy.
Don’t Change a Good Thing!
We only have one body. So it is our biggest goal in life to protect it the best we can. Fortunately, we have organizations such as the Non-GMO Project to assist us in doing so. As a non-profit organization, the Non-GMO Project implements what is called a third-party audit on products that they verify. They ensure that consumers know what is in their foods and beverages and to access foods that do not contain genetically modified organisms.
What exactly is a GMO? A living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. The most common genetically modified foods are alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini, and yellow summer squash.
Keep on the lookout for items adorned with a beautiful butterfly, green grass, and the Non-GMO Project name. Spotting this logo on a product confirms the quality and safety of all the ingredients contained within. But it doesn’t stop there! The non-GMO movement goes beyond the images on packaging and shelves. There is an entire shift in the way we must think about our food, our health, sustainability, and the environment as a whole. We have lost sight of the sole purpose of the foods we eat: nourishment. Join us along with organizations such as the Non-GMO Project in getting back-to-nature with holistic farming practices and foods.
Leveling the Playing Field
We have the safety of what we put into our bodies taken care of, but now how about the well-being of the environment? The economy? Our communities? Us as individuals? Celebrating the fair trade movement gives us the chance to promote the businesses aligned with the mission that prioritizes people and the planet.
There are a few fair trade organizations, but one non-profit organization the Non-GMO project works closely alongside this year is Fair Trade America. An unfortunate truth in global trade is that the outcomes disproportionately benefit large corporations instead of the people working hard at the beginning of the supply chain. However, without them, we would be nowhere! Sharing the fair trade mission on a large scale allows us the opportunity to do incredible things. Such as: reinforce worker’s rights; fight poverty; promote gender equality; combat child labor; and improve climate change adaptation.
Non-GMO and Fair Trade All Year Long
One month is not nearly enough time to shine the spotlight on all the good these organizations do, but it is a wonderful start. The next time you shop, we challenge you to take a look at the packaging of the products you intend to buy and try to add as many non-GMO and fair trade items as you can to your cart. Now that is food that tastes and feels good!