The Faces Behind the Food: Why Transparency Matters
Social Justice through Storytelling
Food is our most basic need. To each individual, food can be medicine, or a source of disease. Similarly, the way we cultivate and distribute our food can be beneficial to our communities and our planet—or it can be destructive.
The ways in which we produce, market, distribute and consume our food products are related to all of society’s most complex issues: Climate change. Food insecurity. Migration. Public health and healthcare. Labor rights. Labor trafficking. Gender roles and power dynamics. Unequal distribution of wealth.
Often, when we turn to social and news media, we feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world and the pressure to find solutions and be changemakers. There are so many problems that it often feels impossible to know where to begin. Once we start to understand some of these issues, we see that nearly all these problems—little or huge, social or environmental—are complexly related.
In addition to connecting producers and consumers, Producers Market is a platform for sharing information. Producers Stories (the media platform that accompanies Producers Market) is designed to be a place where you, the consumer, can learn the stories of the people and places at the source of the products you buy.
Our objective is transparency. While it is not necessary for producer members to be certified organic or regenerative, we recognize the value in these practices. Many of our members are not just offering products for sale; they are using their business models to create micro and macro changes and offer solutions to global problems.
The problems of the world are large and overwhelming. The solutions often need to start small, with a narrowed focus. Our story-sharing media platform is a place to learn about both.
It is important to educate ourselves to develop a broad understanding of how some of these complex issues affect us all, and how they are interconnected. Many initiatives and campaigns have focused on buying local food and products, or buying organic. Certainly, buying local reduces the carbon footprint of our products, and organic products grown or produced with fewer chemicals and pesticides are better for the planet that sustains us. However, as beneficial as organic and local may be, a key component is missing from these initiatives.
A consumer may purchase an organic product from a local farm that uses unfair labor practices with its workers. While ingredients must be labeled on products, labor practices are not. In many countries, the agricultural industry is full of labor practices that are questionable at best. At worst, there are instances of modern-day slavery. In many places, oppressive labor conditions serve to keep food prices low. That is how giant corporate producers continue making large profits while on-the-ground workers barely make enough to live on.
Producers Market is not only interested in connecting consumers and producers in a transparent way. We are also interested in the why.
Why is this important? What complex social issues have led us to need this type of platform?
In a new blog series, The Faces Behind the Food, we will explore where social justice fits into our agriculture systems. How is the food we eat directly linked to unjust racial dynamics, power structures, migration, and labor trafficking? How do consumers play a role in these issues through their purchasing choices?
Tune in to this new series to learn about the social side of crop cultivation and read the stories not just of the growers, but of the people who often follow the crops, from region to region and country to country.