I grew up reading about the spice route, about the traders venturing far from home to bring back exotic flavors from faraway lands, and the riches that this trade generated. When I moved away from home, opening up a packet of cumin or fenugreek would waft up fond memories. But there is also a different side to all this nostalgia: the women farmers or children who grow these spices are often exploited, the pressures of trade are leading to single cropping and loss of biodiversity and spices are often adulterated and this is difficult to detect. All of which makes it essential that we learn where our spices come from and try to ensure a just system for the growers and safety for consumers. The article is here, from The Ecologist.
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