Around the world today, millions of workers in agriculture, labor, and manufacturing are marginalized, overlooked, and denied rights of basic safety and proper wages. They do not have enough money for food, adequate housing, or what they need for their children to receive basic education and health services. And from all appearances, North American consumers have been just fine with that.
Large chain stores that provide inexpensive goods from overseas flourish in spite of a tremendous recession, and the supermarkets with the cheapest lettuce and bananas are those largely favored by the buying public. While it makes sense that we would look for ways to stretch our money farther, many people line up at the register with a cart full of savings and impulse buys and never consider the effect of their purchase on the people that produce the $1.69 heads of lettuce, $5 flip flops, and aisle-upon-aisle of bargain merchandise we load up on every day.
After 5 years of being on the inside of the Fair Trade movement, I have come to realize that it is an uphill battle against a mentality that doesn't know or care about someone else's quality of life in comparison to one's own. I sincerely hope that at sometime in the near future, those folks can find an ease in being able to meet their own needs while looking out for the needs of those connected in the supply chain, though they will never meet.
The good news is that many people already "get" Fair Trade and have found it both easy and gratifying to look for that happy little label whenever they select food products. While the production of personal and household goods has not yet received the attention that food products have, I believe it is only a matter of time before consumers connect the dots on extending socially responsible purchasing habits to every purchase.
In the meantime, I hope to do something about increasing the margin of Fair Trade goods bought and sold in the global marketplace simply by highlighting what is lovely and special about them. There are lots of terrific blogs and websites that offer extensive information about Fair Trade, including initiatives, events, and resources. (Check 'em out in my links list.) What seems to be lacking are non-selling websites and blogs that find and feature cool Fair Trade products for everyday living. With that, I present a blog that is more entertaining than educational for those who, like me, are already advocates of Fair Trade, and want to see all of the great home goods, clothing, and accessories that are waiting to be fairly purchased.