Around the world, grassroots and community-led development models are empowering communities from within and from the ground up. To truly build a just economy, it is crucial that we support these community-led efforts of farmers, workers, activists, and their organizations. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of ways to do that.
We asked members of our staff and editorial board to share some of their favorite products brought to life by the grassroots efforts of the communities that produced them. Find them online, in your community, or at your favorite natural foods store!
ZAMBEEZI LIP BALM
I love Zambeezi’s organic and fair trade lip balms from Zambia. Zambeezi works with local communities in the Miombo forest to wild harvest organic honey and beeswax. By producing beautifully crafted balms, Zambeezi is supporting economic alternatives to mining and logging industries in the region –
HAKHU, SAS KUYLLUR NECKLACE
What a beautiful necklace and an amazing way to support women in frontline communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon! Hakhu is the community development initiative of women of the Sarayaku community. The Sarayaku People champion a long history of fighting extraction and protecting Indigenous rights and the planet. Their designs are Amazonian Kichwa inspired patterns, and all purchases go toward supporting local, community-led projects. –
Family-owned Pacari Chocolate is the first single-origin organic chocolate bar made entirely in Ecuador. The brand claims its chocolate is made with some of the rarest and most delicious cacao beans on earth — and after tasting it, I can see why! This bean to bar brand gives a damn about the environment and workers— and in the chocolate trade, that’s not very common! –
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE
You can support small-scale farmers in your own community by purchasing a share from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Participating in a CSA means more than just buying locally — you’ll be investing in the farm: sharing in the financial risk and providing farmers with the money they need, when they need it. In exchange, you’ll enjoy farm-fresh food while strengthening sustainable, local food systems. –
THE KNAPSACK PROJECT BY MAGGIE’S ORGANICS
Maggie’s Organics is a leader in the organic and fair trade apparel industry. Their beautifully crafted knapsacks are made in collaboration with women-organized sewing centers in Tanzanian organic cotton farming communities. Here, the women’s talent and expertise, typically used to sew and repair cotton-harvesting sacks, are used to create functional, new knapsacks for the global market. Maggie’s will also include a free knapsack in orders of 12 pairs of socks or more and will donate $12 from the order back to the farming communities where the bags were sewn. –