Fair Trade…What & Why it Matters!

[A special thanks to our Blog Guest Writer, Taylor Lane. You can read more about her at the end of this post. photo source:Fair Trade USA ]


“Life’s not fair”…it’s a mantra we’ve repeated to ourselves a thousand times. Most of us heard this as a child, and we’ve even probably recited to our children as well. We’ve grown to accept it as just a part of growing up; a “bump in the road” called life. But what if we could change that? What if a few extra cents could make a change in one adult’s or one child’s life somewhere in the world? Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Anna Lappe, an advocate for sustainable food systems once said “every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”.  While spare change may not buy much now-a-days, it can create a fair living wage for families in developing countries. We can all help simply by looking and shopping for “Fair Trade Certified” products.

Most of us spend a great deal of time deciphering food labels. We know to look out for the sugar and fat content, to review calorie levels, and we’re learning more and more about what ingredients to avoid and which ones to seek out. But in all this decoding for our self-health, there’s one really simple label we may be overlooking, the Fair Trade Certified label. While the labels on our foods can seem never ending, this is one label you don’t want to miss; one label that holds its integrity and plays a vital role in helping us, as consumers, play an active role in creating a fairer world.

The Fair Trade USA organization has set out to empower family farmers and workers by creating a market where Farmers and Growers get a fair price for their harvest; a price that provides a living wage and guarantees the right to organize. These living wages help give working families the ability to keep their children in school and improve their health and well-being.

Fair Trade is dedicated to supporting local economies and sustainable agriculture practices, as well as safe working environments. In our hurried lives we’ve grown far too accustomed to the ease and convenience of the grocery store as we absent-mindedly stroll through the aisles and forget how all of those products make it to the shelf. In many developing countries, children as young as five years old are forced to work on farms and in the fields to help contribute to the family’s income. While the idea of child and slave labor may seem abstract to us, these issues are a very real and very terrible reality for millions of children across the globe.

Now for the good news! Americans are growing increasingly more conscientious of the world around them and are beginning to demand transparency in the food system and insist on “food with integrity”. That demand has led more companies to take an active approach in their food production processes. The Fair Trade Organization has created guidelines for becoming “Fair Trade Certified”, and they have worked to establish relationships with cooperatives, farmers, and farm workers in over 70 developing countries.

One of the goals of The Community Market Co-op is to bridge the gap between the busy consumer’s demand for quick, right-off-the-shelf products and that of the conscientious consumer’s demand for fairly traded food and products. There’s no reason we can’t have both!

As the Community Market Co-op works to cultivate our own community, we would be amiss not to grow the world at large too; that’s why we’re committed to offering Fair Trade Certified products at the graphics-epm2market. We can stand behind Fair Trade’s motto, “Every Purchase Matters”—because isn’t that what we’re all about? Offering products that benefit the consumer, the producer, and the local economy — focusing not just on profits and expenses but on the people involved in food production. These people aren’t a number or a machine, but hard-working individuals who deserve for life to be just a little bit more fair.

So, the next time you’re strolling the aisles take a closer look. Whether you’re baking cookies or just need a coffee pick-me-up, buy a certified Fair Trade product and choose with your dollars the kind of world you want to live in.

We are fortunate to live in an area that has embraced fair trade. Here are a few ways you can find and purchase fair trade items:

Spring Fair Trade Pop-up Store at Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church, April 24-25, 2015

The Fair Trade Store will feature items made by artisans around the world and the proceeds will be donated to the Interfaith Food Shuttle, a hunger-relief organization serving seven counties in and around the Triangle.

Featuring a variety of handmade creations including birdhouses, baskets, jewelry, spring clothing, books, planters, and garden, come find a unique gift for an upcoming wedding, graduation or Mother‘s Day!

Because the items are fairly-traded, you know that the people who created your purchases received a fair, living wage in safe working conditions. Sustainable practices are encouraged, artisans have access to financial training, and they develop long-range trading relationships with buyers.

The FVUMC Fair Trade event is made possible only by volunteers. If you would like to help with this effort, please contact Lindsi Hines at lindsihines@nc.rr.com.


Get Involved!

Fair Trade USA has a dynamic online community with many opportunities to interact with them and other Fair Trade supporters in real time on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr for the latest Fair Trade news, action alerts, exclusive deals and more.  If you’d like to get involved in your community,  read more about Fair Trade Towns and their other campaigns.


Buy Fair Trade Products in local retailers and on-line

Just look for these labels and know that you are doing your part to help! graphics-labels_0

Share this video  {under the Caring 4 our Community tab}  with your children so they can understand fair trade and help you find the label when shopping.


Guest Writer, Taylor Lane,  lives in Fuquay-Varina with her husband. She is passionate about animal rescue and currently volunteers at the SPCA of Wake County as well as with the Humane Society of the United States. She has three amazing rescue dogs, all from shelters. She is also passionate about “food with integrity”and wholeheartedly believes that “the people who produce our food deserve a fair wage and that the animals who provide nourishment to our bodies deserve humane treatment during their lives.” Last, but not least she loves our local, sustainable farmers! “Their stewardship of the land and the animals, and their hard work and dedication to farming is one I admire and respect a great deal.” She is also proud to be an Owner of The Community Market and is looking forward to helping the co-op to grow our community and support our local farmers.

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