Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 3rd August 2021 reading time
What do we mean when we call something ‘a commodity’?
It means its substitutable, interchangeable, you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
It means we don’t have to think about it. It’s just there. To hand when we need it, otherwise invisible.
I no longer use ‘commodity olive oil’. Mine comes from Marije in Portugal. I’ve seen her family harvesting the olives. I’ve seen the designs for the special ceramic bottles it can come in. I’ve seen the ship ‘Gallant’ sailing to pick her oil up, and sailing back to Penzance to drop it off. I know the names of many of the people involved in making that happen.
And every time I use my oil, which is every day, I think of them and all the work that’s gone into getting olive oil to my table. I feel connected to a network.
My olive oil is not a commodity, I pay well above average price for it, and it’s worth every penny.
Commodification is not inevitable. We can choose to be different, as buyers, producers and middle-men.