The Impact of a Label

By Pat Burns, General Manager

Labels, labels, labels. We have many labels at City Market designed to provide information that should help you make informed decisions about the products you want to purchase: organic, gluten-free, pastured, local, Fair Trade. There are so many options, each with their own attributes that should make it easier for us as shoppers to decide what to buy.

But sometimes you have to ask, “How does my support of a label like Fair Trade manifest itself in terms of the product it is designed to support?”

Our Produce Manager, James Morrell, provided the following story that shows how your purchases can actually make an impact:

Women make up the majority of the workforce at flower farms throughout Latin America and especially at Agrocoex, one of the Fair Trade Certified flower farms in Ecuador.

After a long day at work, the women return home to cook, clean, and do the family laundry. The laundry situation required the women to carry their clothes down to the local river and wash them by hand. Can you imagine the number of hours required to do that all by hand and the kinds of chemicals that run into the river from the laundry soap?!

The women at Agrocoex decided to use their Fair Trade Premium funds to change their lives for the better while helping the environment. Using funds from Fair Trade flower purchases, workers were able to build a laundry facility located at the flower farm where women can bring their family’s clothes, pay a small fee, and have everything washed and folded for them by the end of day.

Worker Luz Sisa demonstrated the overwhelming impact on the farmworkers when she said, “On the weekends, I used to spend my free time doing laundry for my family in a traditional way which affected my health and contaminated the water. Now, I take advantage of my time to grow as a person, wife, and mother.”

While it is not in Vermont, this is just one way in which your support of the many small vendors that provide products to City Market can benefit from your purchases. While the story above demonstrates the positive impact of supporting the Fair Trade label, other labels you see in our store also impact our producers here in Vermont and around the world.  As I’m sure you know, City Market wholeheartedly supports local. The money you spend here each week, helps make an impact on the lives and the success of many of our local vendors. We appreciate your patronage, we encourage you to shop local (whatever your definition of local is), and perhaps soon we'll have an equally rewarding story to share about your impact on one of our local farms or local vendors.

Thank you again for your support,

P.S. Last year, local purchases were 34% of our sales - that is over $12 million!