What are you putting in your mouth?

I lived in Germany for 9 years while working for Fairtrade. What never ceased to amaze me was how cheap the food was there. Now, everyone likes a good bargain and there are cost conscious people all over the world. But Germans, true to their nature, are particularly efficient at developing and consuming cheap food (500 grams of spaghetti for 39 cents!).

Ironically it was while living in this cheap food loving nation that I actually learned the true value of food, from the people who grow it. While working for Fairtrade I met scores of people working all along the food value chain and the cotton textile value chain. The amount of work that goes into the coffee in your latte, or the t-shirt on your back, I can honestly say, is astounding. And yet, very little of what you paid for that latte or t-shirt ever goes to those at the bottom of the value chain: the farmers. I’m amazed that our food doesn’t cost 10 times what it even does when I look at the amount of work that goes into producing it.

And yet, we generally want to pay as little as possible for the food that we eat and the clothes that we wear. Have you ever considered what you’re really putting in your mouth or on your back when you get that bargain basement grocery item, or that super cheap t-shirt? What corners were cut? Who lost out? Depending on the corners that were cut-maybe the loser is even you.

When I first started this blog I wanted to focus solely on alternative travel ideas. But as I search the depths of my memories for stories about interesting journeys, as I close my eyes, I see not only the places I visited but also the people I encountered, the lush fields of rice, the cows grazing in someone’s courtyard, the colors, the food, I recall the smells, the tastes, the jokes. So, as I solidify these memories into words I shall try to share some more of my other recollections and thoughts around the journeys I have undertaken.

Until the next rambling, aufwiedersehen.


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