Behind many fair trade products is a desire to be eco-conscious. Fair trade is about fair wages for workers, but it's also about treating the environment fairly. There is an ethic to the fair trade effort. It's an ethic that honors people and the planet. It's also an ethic that honors cultural traditions. The Azizi Life Collection from Rwanda is a beautiful example of this.
Now you can shop fair trade, take care of the environment, and decorate and organize your home at the same time. Here are a few of the beautiful fair trade baskets and storage units created by artisans from Rwanda.
This fair trade basket comes in small, medium, or large, and is perfect for serving or display. You could put a small basket near your front door and use it for keys, or a medium basket on your dining room table filled with fruit. Each basket also has a loop on the back for easy hanging, and they would look gorgeous on your living room wall. And when your guests ask about it, tell them the story about where it comes from and how you positively impacted a community in Rwanda.
This banana leaf tray is crafted from locally-gathered stalks of leaves from banana trees. The leaves are carefully threaded around the stalks, and the result is a super sturdy tray that’s great for any use. Buy one, or buy three—they’re easy to stack!
This unique and beautiful bamboo basket is handcrafted in the traditional Rwandan technique. It is lightweight and delicate, perfect for display or for holding your treasures. Each of the colors is created with natural dyes such as tea, soot, and rock applied to the grass with banana flower.
The banana twine magazine tote is a great basket that makes a practical decoration, and an easy on-the-go carrier. With hand-spun banana leaf twine, this basket is sturdy and durable, and perfect for a stack of books, a few skeins of yarn, or some of your tot’s favorite toys. It could even work as a little picnic basket! Buy one and bring hope to artisans in Rwanda!
These beautiful rustic boxes are a wonderful way to stay organized in fair trade style. They are available in three sizes, and they fit inside each other nicely. These cubes are practical and durable, and are the perfect way to manage craft supplies, toys, or sweaters. The large size is even designed to fit into regular modular storage shelves. You can’t go wrong with these storage cubes, and you can’t go wrong with fair trade.
This striking basket is the quintessential Rwandan gift. In Rwanda, these baskets are often used to hold other gifts—like the one given by every bride to her new husband’s mother. This type of basket is often used to hold dry goods like beans or rice. Each grass basket takes an entire week to weave, and it’s made from all-natural and locally grown materials. Be smart about the environment, support artisans around the world, and buy one of these baskets!
Having trouble staying organized? These banana panel storage boxes are the answer! Created with banana leaves. These boxes are practical and can hold up to your demands! Use one to store your favorite photos, some small toys, or use it to stack napkins in the middle of your table. Pick up a fair trade storage box and change a life in Rwanda today!
Shopping fair trade brings communities together, treats the earth right, and is an all-around ethical way to buy things for yourself and for others.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 ESV).
Happy Earth Day! Today is for celebrating the beauty of all God created. Look around you. Do you see these trees and canyons and oceans and stars that surround us and declare God’s glory (Psalm 19:1)? We are meant to enjoy this earth and care for it.
Enjoying creation is part of what God commanded humankind in the Garden of Eden. But what he said was bigger than just enjoying the Earth.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28 ESV).
The other part of enjoying creation is taking care of it. The type of "dominion" Genesis has in mind is stewardship or care taking. Taking care of our planet is our mandate as humans. We have this absolutely beautiful planet, and we get to nurture it and help it thrive. It's awesome that God has trusted us with this Earth.
I know we have a lot to worry about, and I know the weight of all the pain the world is feeling right now makes it difficult to act, but it’s so important. It seems like the Earth is dying a little more every day and it’s getting out of control—it’s easy to be cynical about all of it. And we all realize that a huge component of environmental decay is consumerism and pollution. We all know we can’t turn it around in a day or by ourselves. But we can do something together.
Let’s start small, start talking, start walking, start acting, and start loving the Earth how it deserves to be loved.
We live in a fast-paced society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shop responsibly for the things we need. Products made from plastics and other single-use resources are easy to come by, but products made with renewable and eco-friendly materials are available to you if you take the time to look. At JesusEconomy.org we have several beautiful and practical products that are made with renewable resources and these products are fairly traded—making them good for the earth, good for people, and good for the economy. Check out some of these amazing products instead of reaching for factory-made plastics.
A sturdy serving tray is a great thing to have when you’re entertaining guests, and if you need one, take a look at this banana leaf tray from Rwanda. It’s woven with locally-gathered banana leaves and stocks and the result is a long-lasting product that is all-natural, and the plants keep growing back.
This all-natural basket is created from sisal fibers woven over a core of forest grasses, and the color is created by a dye made from tea leaves. These baskets make beautiful decorations, centerpieces, and even organizers for your fruits and veggies.
Shopping for a new casserole carrier? This basket is a great option because it is made from 100% sweetgrass, which is a renewable resource that is also water resistant, making it easy for you to clean up spills.
Cotton scraps create a huge amount of waste worldwide, and this trivet makes an effort to minimize that waste. It is woven from recycled cotton fabric strips, giving extra cotton something to do rather than slowly decompose in a landfill.
Everyone uses cloths and towels, so why not use these? These durable cloth and towel sets are handwoven with 100% cotton and can be washed again and again as opposed to paper towels. Cotton can be replanted and re-harvested each year, making it a renewable resource.
Redecorating your library? You can’t go wrong with these stunning bookends (and they also make excellent gifts)! They are hand-carved out of a single piece of Jacaranda wood. The Jacaranda trees grow very quickly, and they grow even after they’ve been cut, so they are a great resource for wooden products.
This fun travel bag is perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle. The inside is made from waterproof nylon, and the outside is made from 100% cotton. This is a much better option than a plastic baggie because it cuts back on plastic waste!
Golden grass is as lovely as it is useful. In Brazil, golden grass is a protected resource, but it is also renewable. The grasses are strong and lightweight, making them perfect for jewelry. The stone in this bracelet is also a polished river stone gathered locally!
Products made from golden grass are an excellent choice because they are natural and eco-friendly. Another bonus is that golden grass is gentle on skin, which is great for those who have sensitivities to nickel.
If you’re trying to be more considerate of what you buy, who makes it, and where it comes from, shop fair trade!
Tribal Textiles, an artisan cooperative located in Mfuwe, Zambia, is creating jobs and preserving the art of the African bush. Each design is inspired by traditional African designs and wildlife, and handpainted onto the fabrics by local artisans.
The artisans at Tribal Textiles are dedicated to preserving traditional art, living in harmony with nature, and benefitting the local community. While Mfuwe is an area with high unemployment, Tribal Textiles seeks to provide sustainable employment, trade training, and a stable working environment. Additionally, the cooperative has given even more to the community by co-founding the local school, Malimba, which currently educates more than 160 children.
This cooperative has a global presence, selling their products in more than 20 countries, but the artisans are committed to making sure the heart of Tribal Textiles remains in the African bush and with the Zambian people.
One of my favorite products by Tribal Textiles is this clutch purse. This trendy clutch is completely locally sourced and handprinted. Even the leather is tanned and dyed right in Zambia. This purse is a great fair trade option that will stand out in your wardrobe.
These stationery note cards are another wonderful product. Everyone writes notes from time to time, and what better paper to use than one with handprinted beautiful designs; a paper that is fairly traded, and helps people out of poverty? These note cards are unique and make a statement about hope.
This is one of the many chic pillows offered by Tribal Textiles. It adds a vibrant touch to your living room or bedroom, and supports artisans in Zambia. This pillow is also hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, handprinted, and locally sourced. You can decorate your home and support fair trade with the same purchase.
Shopping fair trade uplifts people around the world. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.
To the artisans at Segue o Seco, the process behind fair trade is just as important as the outcome. This cooperative is dedicated to empowering artisans as they support themselves and their families, but also to uplifting the environment through the use of ecological materials. Their handmade products are created with resources and processes that have minimal environmental impact. The fabrics are woven from sustainably harvested Buriti palm fiber that has been hand-dyed with natural dyes.
Segue o Seco, and other cooperatives that work with Dsenyo, are committed to providing beautiful fairly traded products that are gentle on the environment. We can be good stewards of the world while we shop for fashionable and practical goods.
One of my favorite products created by this cooperative is the Eva Clutch Purse. It is large enough to carry the essentials, but small enough to not get in the way. It is delightfully vintage and can add a touch of casual sophistication to any outfit. And even better, the clutch is handmade, fairly traded, and environmentally friendly, so you can support many causes with just one purchase.
Other beautiful products are the Acai Earrings, which are available in blue, green, pink, red, and yellow. The earrings are made from acai seeds, a staple part of the Brazilian diet. They have a low environmental impact and are a simple way to add that little something extra to an ensemble.
Seguo o Seco also creates lovely and vibrant hair clips with Buriti palm fibers and acai beads. These clips will add a welcome burst of color to your day. They can be worn in your hair, clipped onto a jacket or purse, or used to decorate your table setting. These flower clips are fashionable while being practical, and they make excellent versatile gifts.
Shopping fair trade can empower people and the world we live in. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.
Segue o Seco is a cooperative of artisans in northeastern Brazil. Their handmade and fairly traded products are intentionally sustainable and created with materials and processes that have minimal environmental impact. The fabrics in their products are made with ecologically harvested Buriti palm fiber, which is hand-dyed with natural dyes before it is woven or crocheted.
The Segue o Seco artisans work with Dsenyo, a Jesus’ Economy partner. Dsenyo is an organization loyal to the cause of alleviating the suffering of the impoverished. They do this by teaching local artisans self-sustainable trades so they can better their economic situations and provide for their families. Dsenyo is also dedicated to using local and environmentally friendly materials that can be artfully repurposed and recycled for continuous use.
Dsenyo works alongside artisans to improve living situations for impoverished people, promote a holistic economy, respect cultural traditions, and build global relationships. Together, Jesus' Economy and Dsenyo are empowering female artisans from countries throughout Africa and Latin America.
Shopping fair trade uplifts people and the world we live in. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.