Forget the old cliché about not talking politics at the dinner table; politics is on the dinner table. In restaurants throughout the region, our foods are flavored with adjectives like “free-range,” “organic” and “local.” It’s supper with a side of social consciousness, and “fair trade” is the latest addition to the city’s menu lexicon, appearing everywhere from Fairmount’s Mugshots to West Philly’s Green Line Cafe to Newton Square’s new Burlap and Bean — even at area McDonald’s. The term doesn’t describe the flavor of the coffee, tea, chocolate and tropical produce it’s attached to, but rather the farming and trade practices behind them: decent labor conditions, environmentally sustainable farming, and a fair price for the farmer. But that can come at a price: At Wild Oats in Princeton, organic fair-trade bananas sell for 99 cents a pound; conventional bananas are 69 cents a pound.
Taste: Eat This Now: Fair-Trade Foods
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, March 2007