Welcome here! Below I answer a few FAQs regarding this blog. There will also be a video coming soon (hopefully) that goes into this in an easier format, since I know this is pretty wordy!

What does “ethical” or “sustainable” mean?

Defining “ethical” can be a tad difficult, since everyone is going to have differing opinions, beliefs, values, religions, upbringings etc, all of which can and will influence the things that we each deem as making the world “better”. You may consider certain things ethical that I wouldn’t and vice versa, but for myself I define “ethical” as

“Any product or company that gives back, puts out positivity or makes the world a better place.”

I know that sounds very granola and pretty vague, so here are just some examples of things that I would consider to be “ethical”:

– Free range meat or vegetarian options or vegan options. Basically sparing farm animals from a miserable life. Or, you can go the vegetarian or vegan route (which I often do) and just don’t consume any animal product at all.

– Free run or free range eggs, for the same reason as above.

– Fair Trade Coffee or Tea. This industry is HUGE, but sadly a lot of farmers and workers are not compensated fairly for their hard work. Buying fair trade helps ensure that the farmers can support their families and are paid for the work they do. While the Fair Trade certification process is not perfect, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

– Thrifted clothing or furniture. I love a good thift store, and buying from the thrift shop is generally a good way to A) support a charity such as the SPCA or Salvation Army, and B) gives a new home to things that otherwise would have been thrown out and ended up in a landfill.

– A company that supports a charity with each item sold. There are so many companies like this and it’s really awesome. A good example is the Raising the Roof Toque campaign, in which 100% of net proceeds are fueled back into charities and organizations working to end homelessness!

– Environmentally sustainable goods. The Earth is not just an endless supply of stuff for us to use up. We need to start planning for the future so that there is still enough resource for coming generations.

– Jewelry that contains gems and metals produced and mined in places where workers are treated fairly and/or the profits are put back into the community. Examples: Canadian or Botswana diamonds or recycled gold.

– Locally farmed goods. Support your local community and use up less resources transporting goods.

Of course, there are so. many. more. companies and organisations and artisans and farmers who care about people, animals and the planet. I know that my definition of “ethical” will be constantly expanding and contracting with the more I learn, and I hope you will all learn with me! I will share the things I find, and please feel free to send me suggestions!

How and why did you start this blog?

The Honest Root was born out of a challenge and the desire to make a change in the lives of others and myself.

In April 2014 I decided to commit myself to buying only “ethical” products, and gave myself until the end of 2016 to accomplish this (still haven’t accomplished everything, but getting there!), because I felt that setting a time limit for myself and publicly announcing it was the only way to give myself enough pressure and momentum to actually get on task and change my habits. I originally announced my decision on my personal blog, but later decided to start The Honest Root in order to make publishing and sharing easier. What I originally posted on my personal blog still rings so true:

“Over the last couple years I have come to realize that much of what I buy has been produced via means that required cruelty to humans or animals. Knowingly buying from these sources kind-of indirectly states that I have more of a right to ease or comfort than the other person or animal does, since it was their sacrifice that made it possible for me to purchase that product. I obviously don’t believe that my life is worth more than someone else’s, and would never stand there and force someone to build me a phone, knit me a sweater or grow up in a cage, so I don’t think I should pay companies to force people on my behalf.

SO, this is my public commitment to buying only products I know to be ethical or helpful in some way by the end of 2016.

I think that where we put our dollars is a very good way to leverage companies to be more ethical/helpful to the planet and people, so I’m committing to buying things that fall into the “ethical/helpful” category somehow… I want my money to support goodness where possible.”

Cut to the birth of this blog in January 2015. I had been plugging away at buying ethically for about nine months, and have quickly realised that slogging through internet info pages and figuring out which labels are being honest about their practices is no easy task. And now, it’s quite a bit past my deadline… However, I will keep trying my best for as long as it takes, and I hope you can find some inspiration and join in with me.

Do you receive money for featuring brands on your blog?

Sometimes, sometimes brands just send me items for free to review, sometimes I pay for the items with my own money and do a completely independent review. I will always disclose if I’m being sponsored, paid, or given free items, though, so don’t worry!

Also, I am a part of certain affiliate link programs… so sometimes if you purchase a product that I’ve linked to, I will receive a small commission from the purchase. Do understand that I will never promote products that do not meet my standards of “ethical,” and I will always do my research before encouraging someone else to spend their hard earned cash on a product.


April Jordan (Ratzlaff) is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca. I am also a part of Rakuten and Awin affiliate link programs, and you may see certain products on my site which contain affiliate links. However, I will only ever link to products that I believe in and would and/or do use myself.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding affiliate links on my site, please feel free to email me at hello@thehonestroot.com.