This is the first post in our a new blog category: Curated! We have been adding many items to the cafés Curators’ Corner, and we would like to explain how we came to choose them. It is always a matter of weighing one aspect against another. “Do I purchase conventional loose produce or local certified organic packaged in plastic?”
Its complicated. And there is a lot of BS out there. With the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spin, we consumers intuitively know that while many of the claims may have merit, but it is difficult to sort out their comparative significance.
To help us with our own purchasing, we consider these aspects to help us evaluate “goodness”. They are based on our judgement of their impact on ecosystems. I should be clear, that we have found that quality is often aligned with sustainable production, and exceptional quality is a prerequisite in our collection.
After applying these considerations to our own production, and our foodservice offerings, we use them to choose the products for personal use.
We recently expanded our Curators’ Corner so that our customers in Mimico can benefit from our knowledge, experience and sources. (All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only.)
Bird Friendly certified coffee is grown in a biodiverse forest ecosystem that supports wildlife including our migratory songbirds… and Howler Monkeys too!
All Bird Friendly coffee is certified Organic. Most is also certified Fair Trade and the others are direct trade with estate growers with better than fair trade prices.
“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.” ~IFOAM.org
The organic certification forbids the use of GMOs, so all certified organic products are also non-GMO
More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.2 As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteen-fold since GMOs were first introduced.3 All genetically modified food crops are modified to withstand the application of agro-chemicals.
Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 1
Factory farming inflicts unimaginable cruelty upon livestock. Imagine a laying hen’s life in a cage with 4 other hens, unable to turn around without shoving one another… feet forever on chicken wire… laying almost daily for years. This is the life of hens in industrial egg production facilities. Factory farming is a monstrous example of what happens when decisions are made by uninvolved people using only money to decide and without regard to the consequences.
Palm oil is an environmental disaster laying waste lush biodiverse forests to monoculture. There is no excuse for the monstrous suffering inflicted by the palm oil industry.
Palm oil is not heathy and there are many alternative oils. It is used primarily in processed foods to keep them appearing fresh as they travel through long industrial supply chains.
Palm oil is in most processed foods, most soaps and many cosmetics. It appears on labels in sneaky forms like vegetable oil and ammonium laureth sulphate and Glycerin.
The problem with plastic arises from one of its best qualities: it does not breakdown in natural systems. That is great for something you want to last forever, but it is a very bad characteristic for single use items like product packaging, bottles, takeout food containers, and all items with short useful lifespans.
While decisions in big companies are made based on a spreadsheet, independent suppliers are influenced by other measures of “goodness” like the wellbeing of their co-workers and their families, their passion, and providing value to their customers. They are innovators inspired by factors other than money.
Local and independent companies are more likely to use local suppliers. Instead of profits being concentrated in the hands of big companies, they are distributed throughout our communities. This results in more resilient networks of suppliers and allows our collective values to thrive.
Vegan is a great way to go cruelty free. By ensuring the vegan option does not contain palm oil we can know it did not contribute to clearcutting Indonesian forests. And with non-GMO vegan options, we know that it did not contribute to ecosystem poisoning. And if it is certified organic, we can know it sustains soils and water.
The rise of the use of glyphosate in everyday foods in the USA correlates with 20 prevalent diseases including gluten intolerance. While no study has proved causation, neither has one revealed another cause.
Canadian producers drench millions of acres of wheat with glyphosate days before harvest to enable an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.