Wednesday, February 20, 2008

fair trade me please

I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Fair Trade label. Before coming to the UK, I wasn’t very familiar with it at all. But, as I have several American friends who buy fair trade across the U.S., I do know that it exists and that it is possible to support fair trade in the States.

The fair trade industry basically exists to point out the areas in which developed countries are ripping developing countries off. As if developing countries didn’t have it bad enough, when they finally do get their act together and start growing (in particular) agriculture, too often developed countries come in and buy it for only pennies on the dollar. The most notable products which get sold unfairly are coffee, cocoa (anything made of chocolate), sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, and handicrafts. Like so much of what we buy in the West, if it seems too cheap too be true, you can bet that somebody is being treated like a slave on the other end (ala anything that comes from China, like children’s toys). However, all of these products can actually be purchased fairly, you've just got to look for the label, or ask your local store for it if they don't have it.

I make mention of this now because this week and next have been designated as Fair Trade weeks with the goal of not only buying fair trade when possible, but also to maybe point out the areas where it is not, but should be. One easy way to address this is to make sure that we purchase fair trade chocolate for our children’s Easter baskets. I’m being more and more convicted over the idea of not celebrating religious holidays or anything involving my children by purchasing things that lead to poverty for somebody else. When I do I fear that I am laying on my child’s shoulders a heritage of injustice.

In addition to making the effort to shop fairly over the next two weeks, HERE is a link to the above sign that you can print off and tape to candy machines, coffee cans (at your work…or church), tea cans, the front of a Walmart/Asda store, etc., to point out when somebody is about to consume something that has impoverished somebody else. It’s a small effort that can help make people aware and hopefully reap big rewards someday.

Incidentally, Lucy over at Attempting Abandonment reminded me of this. Her entire blog is dedicated to getting Christians and the church involved in social justice and I really appreciate the things she writes. She also has several great links over in the right hand column of her blog. I've just added a new one to my right hand column that was stolen from hers. Thanks Lucy!

Comments on "fair trade me please"

 

Blogger John1954Moi said ... (2:22 PM) : 

Thanks for the info about the labels. John.

 

Blogger Larry said ... (11:51 PM) : 

tim,

actually we have been purchasing fair trade products (especially coffee, you know my addiction) for a couple of years now. it is amazing that the quality is so much better for the most part. interesting that it would be the case.

thanks for reminding everyone.

 

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