Well, it really comes down to personal relationships. Certifications can’t capture much detail, but people can. Human interactions between producer and consumer are the best way to flood the market with adequate information. In fact, these interactions and relationships are essential all across our global economy, but they are often only limited to the upper levels of a business. We may buy something at the grocery store without speaking to anyone, but in order for the food to reach the shelves, the top managers of the company need to create relationships with distributors and producers.
In much smaller economies, trade was and is intensely personal for everyone, not just the elite. For example:
“Among the northwest Alaska Inuit, the Agta of the Philippines, Trobriand Islanders, and the !Kung, each person has recognized trading partners with whom gifts are exchanged. Each Inuit has between one and six such partners. Agta and African Pygmy hunter-gatherers have relationships with Philippine and Bantu farmer families respectively, and those relationships are passed on from generation to generation,” (Diamond, J. (2013). The World Until Yesterday. New York: Penguin Books, p. 66).
Long-term relationships grease the wheels of trade. They make it possible for people to negotiate without fearing for their safety, and to trust the product they receive. Although relationships with large corporations can be simple and have lower prices, direct producer-consumer relationships offer unmatched confidence in a product and socio-emotional benefits.
Enhance a Village can help create connections between consumers and Filipino farmers. We already have established relationships in several communities and help the farmers there export their goods to the US. American consumers can learn about the people behind the product and how the profit from their products is being used to help lift them out of poverty. But why just read? Enhance a Village is a small, personal organization. Those who really want to make relationships and trade on a personal level can reach out, get involved, and start making connections.