Think Local, Think Small
You can buy nearly anything from anywhere today with just a few taps on a screen. Huge corporations make things and distribute through faceless companies all over the world. We try to navigate though this anonymity with code words that relate to qualities we might desire like "Organic" or "Kosher" or "ISO" because we don't ever know the people who make what we consume.
The problem with these standards is that they are a very unsatisfactory (in my opinion) alternative to personal acquaintance with the maker. Standards tell us hardly anything about the people behind the product and even less about the companies responsible for distribution or marketing. And even if we get what we want we don't know the real price in terms of damage to the environment or exploiting the workers.
A much better way to get the quality we seek is to buy directly from the maker. Besides qualities such as real freshness we thus invigorate the local economy and not some anonymous company situated basically nowhere.
Moving from a life based on buying from huge anonymous corporations to buying locally isn't easy and can't happen overnight. Not everything one wants or needs is available locally and there are the seasons in which local produce is available and those in which it just isn't. I don't believe in being a fanatic about this, because that will just ensure that a movement towards consuming locally will just fail in the end. It is a matter of process and balance, moving from one good thing made by one good person nearby to the next person and the next thing.
It's a voyage of small steps in one's neighborhood, discovering new tastes and qualities as you meet new people.
Sometimes it's a way just to stop the daily race. A small chat in the bakery waiting for one's bread to come out of the oven in the morning can change the rhythm of the whole day.
The question is where to start or how to find those small growers and makers nearby.
Here in our part of the world our friend Liat Taub put up a site just for this purpose
with a list of manufacturers and growers who don't market their goods through the big chains.
You can find her list as www.tafrit.org/producers. A better life starts with one small step.