Connected Consumerism

Yesterday we talked about voting with your dollars and how we each have our own ways of connecting with our purchases and through our lifestyle choices.

Because not everyone sees the connections between our choices and a greater world impact, I thought I’d share a few of the things we do as a family. These are by no means the only way to do life or the most perfect list, but it may be a starting point if you’re looking for a way to make more intentional choices.

1) Thoughtful Donations
I was going through Elle’s drawers the other day and found so many baby blankets, mostly slightly used or new. With each girl, we received new blankets. I have my favorites but some just went unused. (Perhaps this is also due to having summer babies?) I was thinking, with winter coming, I should donate them sooner or later.

Usually, I drop off our donations at the goodwill – there’s one on the way to my parents, so it’s easy. Since this donation was so specific, I decided to do a little bit of research. I found an organization (WeeCycle) that inspects and sorts baby items and then donates them to the appropriate partners. This more specific way of donating seemed like a better option – one in which our things would go to families with the greatest need.

This took a little more time but I’m glad to connect the things we had to people who have a deeper need.

nrNyraiVLpgTZHBhSZMMWbC-09AL5HcRd82sfBEN35U2) Gifts from Fair Trade Organizations
With the holidays approaching, I often turn to Fair Trade organizations for my gifts, especially for people who have everything. My two favorites are Ten Thousand Villages and Mercy House Global. Ten Thousand Villages is great, especially if you live near a brick and mortar store. I love browsing their items and finding beautiful new surprises. Mercy House Global hosts subscription services like the Fair Trade Friday box and the Bracelet and Earring of the Month clubs. These are gifts that keep giving, not only to your recipient but to the women whose lives are impacted by Mercy House’s mission.

3) Farmer’s Market
This is certainly seasonal, but we are fortunate to have a farm stand down the road that’s open every day from the end of July through early October. The people who run the stand collect produce from local farms and then sell it. It’s an easy way to lessen the distance between our purchases and the producers. Yes, we can find “Colorado Proud” labels at our grocery store, but this feels a little more personal.

4) Microloans
We have been longtime supporters of Kiva micro loans, though now you can find quite a few organizations specializing in them. What I love best about supporting Kiva is that you are helping build a business. When your loans is repaid, you have the option of withdrawing the funds or relending. In the six or so years that we’ve been lending through Kiva, we’ve only had a couple of defaulted loans. I love reading the biography, giving to an area of the world with great need, and following the progress of our lender.

Where are some of your favorite places that support connections? How do you live intentionally connected to the world?

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This post is Day 20 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.

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6 thoughts on “Connected Consumerism

  1. My grown daughter has been working on an organic farm in Oregon as an intern. The purpose is to educate new young farmers. When we went to visit we toured their fields, watched as they prepared for Saturday Market in Eugene, and finally had dinner at a restaurant owned by a previous farm intern who buys from the farm several days a week. I had a super connected feeling.

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