Last summer I went to a Fair Trade marketplace with my Mom – it was being promoted at church one Sunday and we decided to check it out! The whole principle is instead of creating dependency on aid, Fair Trade uses a market-based approach that gives workers fair prices, safe conditions, and entire communities resources for fair, healthy and sustainable lives. Certified goods are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities
For me, I think the most important thing is just being an informed consumer. People are going to buy thousands of products in their life, from groceries to clothes, jewelry and Christmas gifts. If everyone made a conscious effort to buy fair trade when they can, it can go a long, long way.
Just Googling it brings up numerous resources, vendors and information about this international marketplace, including some really great online shops! And you’d be surprised how many local places already stock Fair Trade products on their shelves – be sure to look for the official certification logo on the products!
Here are a few of my favorite places that I’ve come across in my research:
World Shoppe – artisans from South Africa, fantastic jewelry pieces – I want every necklace in their gallery!
Global Exchange – this jack-of-all trades website offers pretty much anything you need and at some reasonable prices. I love the authenticity and ethnicity of many of the pieces – I would be happy them in my house!
Ten Thousand Villages – this is a convenient online store because it has gift ideas in suggested priced ranges and also allows visitors to create gift registries – perfect for letting family and friends know exactly what you want! It also tells you where each product was made!
Earth Divas – their products are handmade, natural fiber, fair trade accessories made by women for women from around the world. I love the quality of handmade apparel!