Look up the word ethical and you will be given the following definitions: “connected with beliefs and principles about what is right and wrong, morally correct and acceptable”. Seems easy enough to understand. But what happens when we apply right and wrong to our kitchens, our food choices or shopping baskets?
I don’t buy anything with palm oil for example. I read the labels. I avoid white sugar. I hate that we use plastic bottles because the water from the tap is awful and of inferior quality. I try to be mainly plant-based, I love piglets and all that stuff. However the other day I was thrown a curveball that made me question my own food choices. How many of us really question, and I mean REALLY not just country of origin where our food is sourced and what that means to those communities? How are we so flippant about it?
I recently watched the second season of ROTTEN on Netflick’s, which is brilliant, startling and scary when you see what is happening in terms of our food and those that produce it as well as what we are paying for it. There are ethical issues on every level. And so I found myself staring at a box of Avocados wondering should I buy one because they might have come from a region that was diverting water from small villages to feed the Avocado trees for big business. I put the honey back as I wasn’t sure if it was pure or had been tampered with while feeling sorry for the plight of the bees! By the time I was finished, there was hardly anything in the trolley and certainly nothing that could feed a family for a week.
So what do we do? Go organic and non-organic farmers suffer; stop eating cocoa and chocolate because the farmers on the ground don’t see any real profit; give up avocados because of the amount of precious water it needs possibly leading to water shortages in local communities and so on the list goes. It’s a minefield. Being ethical in the kitchen, in your shopping is too confusing for the average consumer, even the serious label reader. When we shopped from local producers, local growers even though the selection might have been less exciting at least it was easier on our conscience. Food is to be enjoyed, it’s sensual, satisfying, delicious. And as long as it meets those basic senses as humans. I think with much sadness the majority really won’t care until there’s nothing left. We’ll be at parties reminiscing about guacamole like I do now about the cream top in the glass bottle of milk from the ’80s. Then the glass was swapped for tetra or plastic and the local milkman lost his rounds to supermarket fridges. Ah, the clarity of convenience. Look how that turned out. 😦