Fair Trade

Many of you know that I’m an advocate for fair trade. As such, on the weekends when I’m not traveling, I invest my time at Dunia Marketplace in the Hyde Park historic district of Boise. It’s a charming, nonprofit store that carries handcrafted items from fair trade artisans around the globe. 

FAIR TRADE is about ensuring good wages and safe conditions for artisans. Equally important, it’s about practicing responsibility. Sometimes referred to as “360-degree fair trade,” it’s also about building more in-depth, longer-term partnerships that empower artisans to grow their businesses and strengthen their communities.

Last week I traveled to Filer, Idaho, to help with Dunia’s annual, fair trade INTERNATIONAL GIFT SALE at the Filer Mennonite Church. All of the proceeds from this huge event are used to support fair trade artisans around the globe. 

While helping with the event, I was hosted by a church family — Shirley and Gary Eichelberger — who went way above and beyond to make me feel welcome. 

Do you look for fair trade options when you shop? Click To Tweet

Do you look for fair trade options when you shop?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

38 thoughts on “Fair Trade

  1. Hi Laurie,

    Sometimes.
    But the entire economic system is so structurally unfair, that it needs replacement.
    I recently learned that free markets distribute rewards at the third power of capital. So if you engage in free markets and you have a capital of $1,000 then someone with a capital of $1,000,000 gets a billion times greater share of the profit.

    So, fair trade is simply not possible in the current system.

  2. This post brought a big smile to my face, Laurie. We are connecting so many ways though we have only met in person once. I have been shopping in Ten Thousand Villages fair trade stores for many years, and the manager of the local stare is a personal friend. I am so glad to know you have connected with Mennonites in your area. Thanks for the publicity you are giving to a worthy cause!

  3. Coffee comes most quickly to mind when I think of Fair Trade, Laurie. And while I am no longer drinking coffee, Woody does and with our AirBnB, we serve it often. Only Fair Trade coffee gets on our doors. Shirley mentioned 10000 villages; I have found two in Ohio when I visit there and love to shop there when I’m looking for gifts. Thanks for giving publicity to a needed venture.

    • Janet — I’m so glad to learn that you serve fair trade coffee. At Dunia we sell several varieties of “Level Ground Trading,” fair trade coffee. It’s good to know that Ten Thousand Villages has a few stores for you to shop at in Ohio.

  4. Both my mother and my aunt supported International Gift and Thrift in Mount Joy, PA, where Mennonite women were in charge! My mother worked at the counter, and over the years my aunt bought numerous gifts there, among them a tall African giraffe and a pillow that hugs my back now in my writing chair.

    • Marian — I’m delighted to learn of your mom and aunt’s participation in fair trade!

      I just bought my daughter-in-law a giraffe sculpture from fair trade artisans in Africa at Dunia. And for Luna’s first birthday, one of the gifts she received from us was a child-size tambourine handcrafted by fair trade artisans.

  5. Global Hands is a Fair Trade Store that used to have a space in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It has moved from there (likely due to LG very high rents. Fortunately, it is now located in Burlington, Wisconsin which is also close to me. When I’m looking for a special gift, I often visit there. The best part is that a gift purchased there gives twice. The mother/daughter team that owns this store has traveled to Africa and other locations to build relationships with global entrepreneurs, often small collectives.

    • Audrey — I’m so glad that the store you talked about relocated as opposed to going out of business because of sky-high rent. It’s great to learn about the success of fair trade businesses.

  6. To be honest, I’ve never completely understood fair trade. But when I go to book fairs via libraries, and when I buy items from 3rd world countries/small US towns in my local dance studio, I’m assuming this is “fair trade.” Thanks for bringing this subject to our attention!

    • Pam — I’m glad to know that your local dance studio is supporting artisans in third world countries and small US towns. They may or may not be “fair trade” artisans, but need financial support just the same.

  7. My “Seven Sisters” (earth-friendly products for kitchen, garden and bath) shop here on Beaver Island leaned heavily on Fair Trade enterprises, especially for our baskets, textiles and coffee. I loved the feeling that we could make such an impact!

    • Cindy — I’m so glad to hear it! And yes, it’s wonderful to know that our purchases are doing double-duty… helping a fair trade artisan, and delighting the recipient of a fair trade gift 🙂

  8. We don’t have a lot of fair trade retailers in this area but when I’m given the option of buying fair trade merchandise or the alternative, I’ll do fair trade everytime. My two favorite local coffee shops sell fair trade coffee, so that’s an automatic. Plus they’re small businesses, not the big chain, which I think are equally worthy of support. Small businesses are what give each town or neighborhood it’s uniqueness.

    Chris

  9. We have a fair trade store and cafe downtown and 2 of my children worked there when in high school. We do our grocery shopping at a fair trade Coop and the Farmer’s Market. We even use fair trade toilet tissue and other paper products! This practice has been in our life for many years We also trade for counseling services and massage services, Etc.
    I believe it supports better communication skills with this practice – it seems kind and can be so Global from Local

  10. Laurie, I’ve known you for many years now and one thing I’ve always noticed about you. you put your money where your mouth is. Having spent many years in the wholesale floral industry, I discovered that imported goods are most likely produced by under-paid and under-valued workers. I’d much rather spend my dollars on local products produced by regional artisans and local resources. Fair trade of my money for the good quality merchandise presented. Remember that sorghum syrup I sent you years ago? That was a fair trade deal, I bartered to Ralph for it. I would apologize for the taste but that’s how it really is, makes you wonder if that was fair or not!

  11. The Dunia Marketplace looks so inviting, Laurie. I’d love to visit. I am very interested in making an effort to support Free Trade purchasing, and I’ve noticed in the last five years that more items are being labeled as such. It wasn’t all that long ago when I wouldn’t have even understood the term, so I think this is exciting.

  12. thanks for the reminder Laurie! My sisters and I try to buy our Christmas gifts through fair trade. There was a shop in Barrington, IL that I purchased from but also I like to buy items from Novica, an online fair trade store.

  13. I have bought fair trade I believe it’s very good organisation. We all have to do our bit to hopefully one day achieve a fair and equal world .
    Cherryx

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