Fair Trade in the Quest for Sustainability

Living “sustainably” isn’t only helping the environment.

The closer it gets to Halloween, the more I think about Fair Trade.  Why?  Well, you’ll have to wait for Halloween to find out! There may even be a sweet treat for one lucky reader (randomly drawn) who comments about Fair Trade on this post between now and October 31st!

Click to visit Equal Exchange!

Sometimes, the words “free trade” take over the brain and out they pop from the lips of someone wanting to say “fair trade”, but the terms are different.  Here is an objective comparison between the two from DoSomething.org.  What exactly does fair trade entail, then? Check out Ripples’ Wiki Social Justice page to view some posters, like the one at left, explaining what fair trade products are.

My ideal product would be one that hasn’t harmed the environment OR people in its making.  This isn’t always possible to know because the truth is often hidden.  However, I know there are lots of people reading this blog right now who have a deep connection to fair trade – whether they own a shop, dream of owning a shop, organize their community around fair trade practices, sell fair trade coffee, or work with emerging women entrepreneurs – there’s a ton of knowledge right here right now.  Let’s share it!

I’ll go first to kick things off.  Here are some of the things I’ve bought (or been given) that, to the  best of my knowledge, have done no harm to people or planet.

What do you know about fair trade? One randomly drawn reader who comments with information about fair trade before midnight on October 31st will receive a sweet treat! I wonder what it’ll be…?

This autumn scarf is from Good Things Boutique (click to visit their website!). The small pot with holes was carved as a gift to me from a friend in Bribri, Costa Rica. You can buy the Guatemalan basket on the right at World Treasures on Block Ave.

This origami crane mobile was given to me by my friend Kelsy - a great way to use found materials and turn them into a gift! Often, fair trade products use natural materials (for instance, seeds as jewelry) or recycle "trash" (juice box purses).

This bar of soap supports local soap makers Liz & Paul Shedron, who use natural ingredients and donate $1 from every bar to help homeless families. (click to visit their website!)

  • Lisa

    mmmmm….fair trade chocolate just tastes better…nom, nom, nom

  • http://illuminira.wordpress.com illuminira

    I love your blog! And Fair Trade! It’s the best way to vote with your wallet.

  • Dan Dean

    here’s a song i wrote about fair trade…

    • http://makeripples.wordpress.com makeripples

      Nice! Wake up with a cup of [fair trade] coffee and Dan’s unique song!

  • andyraelo

    I know that promoting Fair Trade chocolate at the Farmer’s Market two years ago was the first TLC event I ever participated in, and I loved every minute of it! It was really exciting because Jeanie and I went trick or treating that night, and actually ended up at a woman’s house who we had spoken to that morning about fair trade chocolate. She had gone out and bought some at ONF! It was so cool to see that we actually had made a small difference with that tabling.

    Love fair trade, especially my fair trade ripples cookies!

    (also, the link on the soap picture is not working for me, and I would really like to visit that website, so I hope it can be fixed!)

    • http://makeripples.wordpress.com makeripples

      Thanks for letting me know about that! Ha, the link was right but I guess WordPress requires an http:// in front of it for images? I dunno. Anyway it should work now but here it is for convenience: http://www.ozarkherbals.com/

      Those were terrific times in TLC! Reverse Trick-or-Treat was one of my favorite recurring activities during AmeriCorps. Is anyone doing that again this year? I hope so.