Saturday, October 02, 2010

October is the Fairest Month

Students from Fair Trade Initiative 2008
As I was rushing to a meeting, I thought I had time to grab a quick refill at the Starbucks at the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico campus.  But the line was too long.  (That will teach me to ignore my pledge to buy fair-trade coffee).  So I decided to go on to the meeting without getting the coffee.

But as I walked out of the library, I spotted a table outside the library.  And at one corner sat a heater with a pot of coffee!  It was staffed by Linley Green and another student member of  the UNM Fair Trade Initiative.  They were there for two purposes: to raise funds (by selling brownies) for Peacecraft, the local fair trade store (and they do need help).  They were doing this in honor of the start of Fair Trade Month.

I am not aware of any billboards, newspaper circulars or television commercials announcing that October is Fair Trade Month.  Yet there is something in common with the Christmas shopping season, which is just around the corner (and which seems to come earlier and earlier every year).  The operative word is SHOPPING.  When you make your purchase decisions, try to buy products that have been certified as fair trade.  Here's a nice description:
Every purchase matters means taking an extra moment to think about the impact your purchases will have - on your own well being, on the people who produce the products and on the environment.  With Fair Trade, every purchase you make has the power to make a difference in the world.
Many of you who read this blog are probably familiar with the concept of fair trade.  In simple terms, the producer of the product,whether it is coffee beans, bananas, apparel, cocoa beans, arts and crafts, etc.. gets a fair price for the product.  In our commercial world, the middleman and the final seller normally get a larger share of the profits at the expense of the producer).

It's true that few retailers carry at least some fair trade goods.  I'm talking about your local Ten Thousand V illages (or in our case in Albuquerque, PeaceCraft), Whole Foods, Trader Joes (or locally La Montañita Cooperative).  Did you know that you can buy fair trade flowers online from One World Flowers?  You can also get fair trade Pinotage or Chenin Blanc from Worthwhile Wine Company.  And Fair Trade USA last year initiated a pilot program to certify apparel and home goods.  Speaking of Transfair USA, they are commemorating Fair Trade Month by changing their name to Fair Trade USA.  Check out  their home page..

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