Fair Trade for the Holiday Season

Christmas gifts.
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By Joseph Kania
Staff Writer

The term “fair trade” has been drifting around campus and is becoming a more popular way to purchase goods.

Fair trade is a movement within the global marketplace that gives many positive opportunities to farmers and artisans in countries where making a live-able profits maybe hindered.  Fair trade movements work to establish a greater equity in international trade. The basic goal of the movement includes guaranteeing a price that farmers or artisans must receive for their products. They also enjoy the freedom of safe working conditions, the freedom of association, and the protection from forced child labor. Fair trade works to coordinate trade with out a “middle man,” giving the farmers and artisans benefiting from fair trade more business experience.

Profits from the sale of the products of their hard work go toward investments into social and business development projects and quality control and provide the farmer or artisan with a live-able profit.  Many fair trade organizations also strive to maintain a healthy environment by discouraging the use of agrochemicals and genetically modified organisms.

Fair trade farmers produce coffee, tea, chocolate, fresh fruit, sugar, rice, and vanilla. Other fair trade efforts produce and sell handcrafted jewelry, shawls, rugs, and an array of dishware.  At the upcoming Fair Trade sale at Marywood on November 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fireplace Lounge, you will be able to purchase handcrafted items from across the world including holiday ornaments and decor, housewares, jewelry, and much more.  The items are from Catholic Relief Services Work of Human Hands fair trade organization and the sale of these items not only benefits the farmers and artisans, but your fellow Marywood students that will be traveling to Guatemala this year.  Fair trade coffee from Guatemala and a variety of fair trade chocolates are also available at any time in Campus Ministry in Loughran Hall.

In the words of Sr. John Michelle Southwick of Campus Ministry, “It is always a good idea to remember those less fortunate in our world and do everything in our power to enable them to help themselves.”  Supporting fair trade venues this holiday season is one wonderful way to do that.

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