October is Fair Trade Month, and that means now is the perfect time to learn about fair trade. Whether you shop fair trade exclusively, or know nothing about it at all, this is the place to be. Here are 5 things to know about shopping fair trade from Jesus’ Economy.
Fair trade is a way of exchanging goods for fair compensation. This means that people who make products are paid the correct amount of money for the work they’ve completed. In many of the countries Jesus’ Economy has partners in, being paid justly isn’t a normal thing. But when people aren’t paid fairly for the work they’ve done, their whole family suffers. It becomes harder to pay for food, shelter, and education, and the cycle of poverty continues.
When artisans are able to sell their products fairly, their individual finances improve. When many people in a community experience improved personal economy, their community also sees an improvement. Money is no longer just changing hands within the community, it is now coming in on a larger scale and coming from other countries. And when communities grow economically, so does the world economy.
Jesus’ Economy partners with cooperatives around the world that create products to sell internationally. These products are sold for the fair amount of money, and the artisans who’ve made the products are better able to support their families. With more money coming in, men and women can pay for food and shelter, and even for their children to go to school. When their children go to school, the future becomes brighter for everyone.
International fair trade products are a great way to experience culture from around the world. Many of the cooperatives we partner with incorporate traditional designs into their products to celebrate their heritage.
The scarves from Nepal, inspired by traditional nepalese fashion, are just one of many wonderful products that are beautiful, practical, and honor the country they come from.
All of the aprons from Guatemala have colors and patterns that incorporate traditional Mayan design, helping to inspire you while you cook.
The artisans we work with responsibly use sustainable materials from around their communities. 2nd Story Goods uses recycled aluminum to create pendants for jewelry, sweet grass to weave baskets, and locally sourced goat leather to cover journals. Many retail clothing and jewelry makers use chemical dyes and non-renewable materials, but these artisans are creating goods that love the earth and eliminate waste.
There is a real connection to be made when you shop fair trade. When you wear a scarf from Haiti, you can pray for the hands that made it and know that your purchase is helping a family gain financial stability. When you carry a goat leather wallet, you know that it was made by people who are working hard to create hope for themselves.
This October, think about shopping fair trade. And with Christmas coming up, maybe you can get ahead on some gift buying!
This post was previously published under the title "5 Things to Know about Fair Trade."