“How and where we spend our money is a political choice, a social choice, and an environmental choice. It is incumbent on us to make these choices and they aren’t easy and we don’t always get them right.” – Sebastian Pole
Healing is far more complex than ingesting a product. That said, most of us do buy products. And most people, when they hear about the Sustainable Herbs Program, want me to tell them what products to buy. Our goal has always been larger than recommending products or companies. We want to provide resources so we can all use our purchasing power to create worlds that are healthier, not just for ourselves but for the entire value network involved in producing these products.
We need to change the whole world, not just the parts of it that impact us directly.
“Consumers that aggressively question and challenge the manufacturers of the goods that they use about their manufacturing and sourcing practices, their contributions to the world, can in fact make a huge difference in the directions that those companies take and the practices that they employ within their companies.” – Drake Sadler, Co-Founder Traditional Medicinals
First, educate yourself about the challenges and issues involved in producing high quality, sustainably and equitably sourced and manufactured products.
Next, find the companies you like – and support them by buying their products. Choosing what companies to support begins with defining your values. You might want a company that supports conservation and traditional knowledge for sourcing wild collected plants. Or domestic herb growing and bioregional herbalism. Or fair trade practices for small landowners around the world. Figure out what your values are, then find companies whose values align with your own.
Once you’ve done that, challenge those companies to go further. Let them know you will support them (by continuing to buy their products) as they take these risks of implementing more rigorous standards.
The industry will only change when all of us, especially herbalists and the herb community, engage in the process of making it change.
If that’s more than you can think about now, here are some key takeaways:
A few other general guidelines about what to look for in spending that additional money: