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Being natural, organic, nontoxic, and more are all very popular today. I love working as an independent consultant for NYR Organic because the products are all of the above. But there is another term that many may not be aware of. And that is FairWild.
FairWild is Beyond the Farm
When we think of ingredients in products, we might picture them being grown on a farm. For example, farmers grow oranges and roses specifically for the purpose to sell whole or use in other products. But not all ingredients are like that. Some ingredients are not grown in a farm. They are gathered in the wild. In fact, over 60,000 plant species are used for their medicinal properties and most of these are collected in the wild. But there can be problems when things are gathered in the wild because there might be too many people gathering them and no one overseeing the harvesting and long term sustainability of the plants. About one-fifth of the plant species in the wild are at risk for over harvesting and habitat loss.
Good for the Earth
If we want these plants to be around forever, we have to protect them. We want them to be collected in a way that does not jeopardize their long term success. They need to be managed, harvested, and traded sustainably. We need to respect the customary right and traditional practices of the local communities that have been gathering these plants for years. But we also want to be able to use the ingredients for people in products around the world. How could this all happen?
Enter the FairWild Standard and the FairWild Foundation. Similar to organizations like the USDA and the Soil Association that make things certified organic, the FairWild Foundation can make wild plants, fungi, and lichen FairWild Certified. This organization makes sure that companies and others in the supply chain are meeting certain guidelines when it comes to wild ingredients and more. There are actually three different categories that can be certified.
- Products collected from the wild
- Processed ingredients like essential oils
- Finished products containing FairWild Ingredients
To be FairWild Certified, many conditions must be met. The FairWild Association lays out these conditions in the Practical Steps for Implementing FairWild Certification and include things like
- knowing the conservation status of the plant species
- developing and implementing collection instructions
- using no forced or child labor
- acknowledging traditional use and access rights
- not diminishing resources by commercial collection
- making sure contracts and agreements are in line with national and international legislation
How to look for FairWild
Once you know the advantages of the FairWild certification, keep an eye out for the logo on labels. You can find them on tea’s at your grocery store (Traditional Medicinals). Also, some of the Frankincense in the Neal’s Yard Remedies products is Fairwild certified, like one of my favorites, Frankincense Intense Cream.