Labor Day: Time to Think about Fair Trade
It is that uniquely North American holiday, Labor Day. The rest of the world celebrates Labor on May 1, but the U.S government thought it too pinko and declared it to be the first Monday in September, giving us all an extra day of summer and reducing the size of the rallies. (who wants to march when there is a game on?)
Although Fair Trade Day is celebrated around May Day, we thought it might be a good day for North American Treehuggers to consider the Fair Trade Movement.
"Before you've finished your breakfast this morning, you'll have relied on half the world"
- Martin Luther King via ::MakeTradeFair
Fair Trade, or alternative trade," refers to the exchange of goods based on principles of economic and social justice. The key objectives of Fair Trade are to empower low-income artisans and farmers to better their conditions, and to promote understanding between them and people of developed regions. Alternative traders who are members of the Fair Trade Federation pledge to: pay a fair wage in the local context; provide equal opportunities for all people; engage in environmentally sustainable practices; build long-term trade relationships; provide healthy and safe working conditions; and provide financial and technical assistance to workers whenever possible." (from Fairtraderesource.org) It started with missionaries concerned about social justice and the plight of the exploited peasant farmer, but it became obvious that if one is going to get people to pay more for a product there had to be that added value besides guilt- the product had to be different and better. Organically grown products don't need expensive fertilizers and high tech methods; Shade grown coffee saves the rainforest.
Treehuggers like it because it is nice to know that the organic, shade grown, additive free products are not only better for us, but better for the farmers growing it- that the extra money we pay for an organic food is going to the producer. While coffee and chocolate are the most well-known fair trade products, it is now extending to crafts,jewellery, clothing and other exports from third world countries. You can see a wide range of fair trade products at one of our advertiser's sites- The Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store.
and of course, read more at ::wikipedia