This past week I was spurred on to investigate it more and got some really fun motivation to do so! First off, here's a brief overview of Fair Trade and what it entails.
What is Fair Trade?: Most known for coffee and other food goods, fair trade products extend further than just that. They are goods that are, well, fair. They may be from far away farms, or distant countries. Essentially fair trade products are products in which the makers (be farmers or villagers) are justly compensated for their work. It helps people in developing countries build their businesses, communities and their daily lives in a positive way!
"Fair Trade is a global trade model and certification allows shoppers to quickly identify products that were produced in an ethical manner.
For consumers, Fair Trade offers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping. For farmers and workers in developing countries, Fair Trade offers better prices, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace. Through vibrant trade, farmers and workers can improve their lives and plan for their futures. Today, Fair Trade benefits more than 1.2 million farming families in 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America." (fairtradeusa.org)
What are the rules of Fair Trade?:
-Fair labor conditions: Workers enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions and sustainable wages. Forced child and slave labor are strictly prohibited.
-Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible to eliminate unnecessary middlemen and empower farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
-Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarships, schools, quality improvement and leadership training, and organic certification.
-Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.
So obviously a super positive thing--showing how important each of our purchases are and that we should continue to be mindful of where our money is going. Just as it is important for us to support out community and buy locally from small business, we can also expand and justify money spent when we know it is going to improve the community of others in need around the world!
While strolling along Excelsior bay this past week, Everett and I ran into a sweet little shop that sold only Fair Trade goods. From linens, to toys, to clothing, to jewelry. It was like a cultural experience just walking around! The lady sure was a good saleswoman. She started talking to me and then drew my attention to some brightly colored bracelets on her counter and proceeded to tell me the story about them.
In short, she explained that each bracelet was handmade one by one by women in Nepal (I defintely had to look up where exactly that was---I give you permission to as well). They provide a life changing opportunity for these poverty stricken families as life is very hard for them. As their bracelets are all handmade (crocheted!), the are then sold to various Fair Trade organizations to which gives them the opportunity to produce them in a safe enviornment where they are most comfortable and provide a source of income for their family. This is slowly helping to bridge gaps and break some of the generational cycles of illiteracy, poverty and human trafficking of the women and children of Nepal.
Umm, I'll put my money towards that!
So yeah, of course she talked me into it--I'm a sucker what can I say! But its a win for you as well because I'm giving one away!
Keep your eyes and ears alert for more fair trade products in your city!
a Rafflecopter giveaway