Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Just in time for the holidays......

I went to a Fair Trade Sale at a local church near my home and I decided that buying Fair Trade is the best way to shop for holiday presents this year. I bought a beautiful hand woven headband from Guatamala.

I found a lovely lavendar soy candle made by THE ENTERPRISING KITCHEN.ORG helping women in Chicago get back on track.

Yesterday, I purchased a beaded purse made by the Mayan Women's Beading Collective at the Textile Art luncheon. I sat down tonight to write about Fair Trade goods, only to discover, by coincindence, that OCTOBER is GLOBAL FAIR TRADE MONTH.

Yes, I also bought a $30.00 tin of popcorn (outrageously expensive) from the local boy scout going door to door, but I'd much rather spend my money supporting people in need, especially the WOMEN who are feeding their entire family for a month with the proceeds from the sale of one beaded purse.

So, this holiday season, when you're shopping at Nordstrom, Target, Coach, or your local church craft show.....keep in mind FAIR TRADE. Your purchase can really make a difference in someone's life. Look for fairly traded items in stores too.

You may ask, "What is Fair Trade"?

Fair Trade is...

- The practice of buying products directly from producers indeveloping nations and developing parts of our own country.
- About helping people to become self-supporting andself-suffiicent regardless of race, gender, or religion.
- Buying goods bought directly from producers, artists, and families, NOT from sweatshops, slaveholders, or big businesses.
- Guaranteeing fair prices and fair pay to both women and men.
- An investment to improve social, educational, and medical conditions in the producers' home communities.
- When producers are paid for their products up-front to ensure long-term success.
- Environmentally safe which ensures sustainable production methods that protect the environment and cultivate healthy communities here and abroad.
- Guarenteeing no forced child labor was used in production. Many of the children once forced to work in clothing and carpet mills are now in school.

OK, now that you know what Fair Trade is, you may ask "Where can I shop for Fair Trade items?" ONLINE of course! Shop from your home, avoid traffic, save on gas in your car, don't wait in any lines! You can find items from all over the world, on some websites you can choose an area of the globe, or type of craft or product. COFFEE is a popular one, as are handicrafts made by local artisans.


SHOP THE CAUSE.ORG is a project of Women Thrive Worldwide, a non-profit that fosters economic opportunity for women living in poverty worldwide.

How about looking at ORIGNAL GOOD. It's the new product brand from World of Good, Inc. providing amazing handcrafted from artisans around the world.

Searching for clothing and accessories? Look no further than MATA TRADERS whose mission is to provide high fashion, fairly traded clothing and accessories to a growing network of socially conscious consumers and retailers. The products are made exclusively in India by women’s cooperatives.

Need a gift for a CHOCOLATE LOVER, or want to treat yourself? Try the EQUAL EXCHANGE CO-OP for fairly traded organic coffee, tea, chocolate and snacks from farmers all over the world including the United States.

According to their website, "One purchase at a time" from GIFTS WITH HUMANITY.ORG will help change the world.

One of my favorite successful sites is the KALLARI RAIN FAMILY, a self-governed coalition of Amazon artists and organic cocoa producers whose co-op began in 1997 with less than fifty families and has now grown to over 800 families.

At TWO HANDS WORLD SHOP you can find beautiful Fair Trade certified arts and handcrafts from the world's artisans. Listed by category everything from bags and purses to home decor and toys.

Here are some links to Fair Trade Shopping from SHE WHO PAINTS for more ideas and inspiration.

And last, but not least, you've got to take a look at LUCUMA DESIGNS which strives to bring you contemporary crafts and folk art to smile about. They "empower creative women and family workshops in Peru to help themselves and their community". You will be amazed at the talent and artistry.

Look for these labels when you buy:

And perhaps there's even a FAIR TRADE store in your town,

like this one here in Cleveland Heights, Ohio


Now I've got to get back to my holiday shopping !!

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