Do you know about fair trade? According to Wikipedia, that bastion of all knowledge, “Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability.” Basically what that means is that different organizations provide outlets for (most often) women to create goods and sell them to a desiring public in order to reap the proceeds (usually 100%). This allows them to provide for their families and have a purpose in life. Though the items are not necessarily inexpensive, it’s worthwhile to buy them because you know they are directly supporting a great cause.

Many things are available in fair trade versions–not just handicrafts, but things like coffee and chocolate, too. It’s another designation like “organic” to look for on a label if you are conscious of such things. I definitely don’t buy everything fair trade, but I love browsing different shops when I have the chance. The items are usually so cool! And tonight, my church is hosting a fair trade sale event featuring several different organizations! I’m working the checkout, but I’m hoping to get in some shopping as well.

I definitely have my eye on some handmade paper beads like this:

 from The Apparent Project, supporting women and children in Haiti

I helped set up Wednesday night, so I scoped out the scene and have a few things picked out that I’d like to buy, including one more ornament for our little Christmas tree! If you’re in the Atlanta area you should come check it out at City Church-Eastside. And if not, here are links to several of the organizations whose items we are selling. You can do your fair trade Christmas shopping online!

Since I work for a non-profit ministry, I am very aware of the problems in my own city and passionate about supporting them. But when provided an opportunity like this to spread my support a little more globally, I am more than happy to take the bait.

Do you shop fair trade items? What’s your favorite cause to support?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman