Friday, January 13, 2012

Time for a Pantry Raid

Pantry raid
(Find this article here or in newsstands at

Take a moment and consider how much coffee, chocolate, and flour you go through every week. Unfortunately, from farm to cup and bean to bar, chocolate and coffee (along with other staples) both involve an intense process to reach our mouths. This new year, green-raid your pantry and replace accordingly!

Fair-trade, shade-grown, organic. It’s hard to keep track, and it’s about to get harder with the recent split between certifying organizations Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International. For now, these labels are the best way to protect against land loss, help smaller producers have access to resources, promote sustainable practices, and ensure a fair wage. Significant acreage of rainforest is lost every year due to cheap, monoculturally-grown coffee. Bird- and forest-lovers (isn’t that all of us?), look for the Smithsonian Bird-Friendly and Rainforest Alliance labels. The good news: Locally roasted coffee is readily available.

Again, fair-trade organic chocolate is best. Divine Chocolate is 45 percent owned by the Ghanaian farmers who supply its cocoa beans.

I recommend agave nectar, honey, stevia, or organic varieties like Florida Crystals.

Virginia has its own mill: Wade’s Mill, sold at local markets!
Tea and spice
The same designations are important here. What better time to make the switch? The new Spice Diva at Main Street Market is offering a 30 percent discount to folks who bring in their spices to exchange.

Want to know more about specific brands or other food producers? I love these two websites: and Find local sources of sustainably grown food in your area along with green brands and companies.

No comments: