After watching BlackGold in class on Tuesday, I was really intrigued. I began to think about the types of people and institutions you support (or don't support) by buying fair trade coffee. By purchasing a fair trade product you give a reasonable price to the producers of the raw product, you shorten its commodity chain immensely and you typically receive a very good product because of this. However I also realized that buying coffee from Ethiopia could also be considered supporting globalization, a trend that could surely be one of the leading factors to climate change. Just think, everyday people across the world are moving in various modes of transportation. Often times these people are transporting goods from one area to another. Coffee from Ethiopia, whether it is fair trade or not has to travel a great distance to get to us in Troy, New York (roughly 6500 miles), emitting carbon dioxide during every step toward it's destination.
If we were to make a shift to having a more local food system, the coffee growers in Ethiopia would have a very hard time finding a market for their coffee. If we were to make this shift, would it be similiar to colonial times where most of their products were from local sources, with the exeption of some like sugar, tea and coffee? If this shift never happens would supporting the local farmers in Ethiopia be considered supporting globalization of the world market?
Firstly, I think that if we were to shift to a less global market, then the coffee growers would still be in the same situation they are in right now. At the moment it seems that larger more powerful countries basically tell them what to do and when to do it. So much of their day is based off of numbers on a screen thousands of miles away in New York City or London. If globalization were to decrease, coffee would definitely be one of the things that is still traded on a global scale. Millions of cups of coffee are drank everyday, it is a commodity that many people wouldn't be willing to give up. For this reason, I am glad that documentaries like BlackGold are being produced. No matter where the food system is going or has been, in the future people will drink coffee. It is only by education that people will realize the real price tag on the bag and decide to purchase fair trade.
From this course I think it's important to realize that the food system can only change if people on an individual level begin to change. By making conscious purchases the consumer becomes more connected to the process that brought the food to them in the first place. Before buying a new pair of running shoes or a computer consumers put a lot of conscious thought into their purchase. Even though food is generally less than a new laptop, it is literally consumed by us, affecting our health and indirectly the people who were apart of the process to produce it.
BlackGold film viewed in class
Also something extra:
This is a "coffee calculator" that determines where your money goes when you purchase a coffee beverage.