Where to Buy Ethical Food, Clothing and Household Goods in Chattanooga, Elsewhere

Consumers are evolving to become more aware of what they are buying.

Since 2014, sales of sustainable products have increased by almost 20%, according to a global report from Nielsen. A third of consumers say they are willing to pay 25% more for such products – while Gen Zers say they will pay 50-100% more – according to a 2019 survey of computer-generated solutions.

The motivated buyer seems to be inspired by several events, from the minimalist movement to concerns about climate change and environmental degradation – and even in response to the pandemic. In a 2020 global survey by management consultancy Accenture, 60% of respondents said they had made more ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic.

As the trend accelerates, there are now more ways than ever to be a conscious consumer. Here are a few tips.


Forget fast fashion

Why it matters: Since 2000, clothing production has doubled while the lifespan of clothing has decreased by 36%, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Meanwhile, a 2019 report from the Sheffield International Research Institute found that while more companies are committing to living wages, this rarely translates into real change.

However, ethical fashion brands can be found. Here are three websites and apps that let you find them quickly and confidently.

– Good on You rates fashion brands using a 500+ point system, evaluating how each company treats people, animals and the planet. Ratings range from “We avoid” to “Excellent”.

There is an application for that

These days, there’s an app for everything, even boycotting brands that don’t align with your values. The Buycott app has become popular as a tool for shoppers to make informed decisions about what they buy. Download it from the App Store or Google Play and use it to scan products in the store. Information about the product and its history will appear, helping you make informed choices about where your money goes.

— Project Just is a catalog of fashion companies verified to “do no harm” to people and the environment in their supply chains. The catalog is compiled through rigorous research of self-reported and third-party reported information on each brand.

— Done Good allows you to discover and buy ethical, sustainable and organic products, from clothing to household items. The app itself is B Corp certified, which means it has been carefully vetted and verified to do good for people and the planet.

Learn more about B Corp

B Corp is a non-profit organization that measures corporate responsibility. Companies that have achieved this status have demonstrated their commitment to creating an inclusive and sustainable economy, with an emphasis on protecting the environment, workers or customers. Well-known B Corp certified companies include Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Allbirds. See the full directory at bcorporation.net.


Avoid fruits and vegetables transported by air

Why it matters: According to a Fraser Institute report, “food miles,” or long-distance transport of food, accounts for a relatively small proportion of carbon emissions — with one exception: produce transported by air . Airlifted food creates 100 times more emissions than alternatives, according to the BBC.

You can avoid air-shipped produce by avoiding out-of-season fruits, vegetables, and herbs that have a short shelf life and have traveled long distances (check the label for country of origin). Common examples include berries, green beans, peas, and asparagus. If you’re not sure what’s currently in season, visit your local farmer’s market – and remember, you can’t go wrong buying local. (See a full list of local farmers’ markets online at timesfreepress.com/news/chatter.

Did you know?

According to the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, food production accounts for 68% of all industry-related emissions, while food transportation accounts for 5%. If you want to reduce your food footprint and get more for your money, eat less meat, which has a larger carbon footprint than any other agricultural crop.

Buy sustainable seafood

Why it matters: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 85% of marine fish stocks are exploited or overexploited. In addition, the pollution caused by commercial fishing is wreaking havoc. Every year, between 500,000 and 1 million tons of fishing gear ends up in the ocean, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

To ensure your fish comes from sustainable sources, look for the MSC blue label on food packaging and restaurant menus. The eco-label indicates that the fish can be traced back to healthy populations that have been fished sustainably. A few global companies with brands bearing this label are McDonald’s, Aldi, and Walmart.

Support local farmers at one of these area markets.

— Bradley County Farmers Market: 3110 Peerless Road, Cleveland, Tennessee, open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through fall.

—Brainerd Farmers Market: 20 Belvoir Ave. at Grace Episcopal Church. Open 10 a.m. to noon until November.

— Chattanooga Market: First Horizon Pavilion, 1926 Carter St., open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

— Collegedale Market: Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swyar Drive. Open from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Tuesday until the end of October.

— Lookout Farmers Market, Red Bank: Red Bank United Methodist Church, 3800 Dayton Blvd. Open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

— Main Street Farmers Market: 1804 Chestnut St. Open 4-6 p.m. every Wednesday year-round.

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