Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blog Relationships: Building Fair Trade through Social Media

Last night I was treated to a dinner party. This is one of my favorite ways to spend time: eating tasty pasta, sipping red wine, and enjoying interesting, insightful people I am blessed to call friends. In the course of our talking, the group realized that four of us at the table of eight were connected on Facebook, four of us not. We had a fun time discussing the pros and cons of all different types of social media (listservs, twitter, "old-fashioned" email) and concluded that sharing good food with good company was a much preferred way of spending time.

But I did offer one of the values of blogging for me: using the connectivity of the web to learn about the great work other people are doing around the globe. Case in point is a new colleague I have, Sharon Rose Goldberg of SAHA, a program of an Israeli nongovernmental organization working to build Fair Trade connections among Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. Sharon had found my book on-line through Powell's. She was curious to learn more about domestic and regional Fair Trade initiatives such as the one in Brazil that I profile in my "Future of Fair Trade" chapter. Thanks to Skype she was soon able to have a conversation with a representative of FACES in Brazil to share ideas for promoting community trade. Sharon is obviously a really great networker because she has also connected with Zarah and the folks at who recently profiled SAHA's work in their Faces of Fair Trade section.

When Sharon and I spoke we discussed other ways to learn from fellow Fair Traders, such as attending conferences and joining associations. The international travel part for me is going to have to be reduced this year due to our global economic woes (but hooray for my smaller carbon footprint!), and I'm grateful that I can "meet" people through the web, learn from fellow bloggers, and order Fair Trade wine for my next dinner party.

Here is a photo of my sister and me at my last party.


  1. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Jackie, This is a fine example of how blogs make connections, build community, and share information that will then be shared with others. I will share this post with both social studies teacher friends, friends interested in Fair Trade, and friends interested in knowing that there are positive and productive cross-community connections being made in Israel/Palestine. All good. I am learning a lot from you! Susan

  2. Anonymous3:13 AM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Ruth,

    Thanks so much for the comment. I am very glad to know that I am reaching folks with useful content! It is great to know you are interested in Fair Trade. Stay tuned this spring as it is a busy period for Fair Trade and I hope to post a little bit more regularly with tips on how to participate or issues in the movement.

    Again, thanks for reading and commenting!