Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fair Trade Your Home and Win

The clocks have sprung forward, the bulbs are sprouting through the muddy earth, and the March equinox is just days away. It must mean spring-time, and for me that means getting ready for World Fair Trade Day. Globally the day is celebrated in dozens of countries, and here in the United States we look to the Fair Trade Resource Network for organizing help. Check out their website for a whole tool kit full of ideas for planning celebratory events and details about entering WFTD contests.

I have my eye on the "Most Fair Trade product types" at home contest. Since I've been participating in Fair Trade for 10 years now, I've had many chances to bring Fair Trade into my home. Thank goodness for the talent and creativity of artisans and designers. I often joke that if it weren't for Fair Trade, I'd have no sense of style at all.

I must be on to something because a couple of months ago when I moved in with my partner she seemed pretty pleased with my offerings (although we do still battle over coffee brands). As I get to meet the new neighbors, there is nothing like pointing to a product and telling its story to help me explain what I do for a living. Here are some of the items on display:

* Haitian wall decor sold through Global Exchange
* Floor rug certified child labor free by Goodweave
* Dark chocolate from Equal Exchange
* Larry's Beans "Frankie's Blend" from Sumatra
* Business blazer from Nepal and shirts from Fair Indigo
* Curtains from Marketplace India
* Soap dish and bathroom mirror from Ten Thousand Villages, not to mention garden bird bath, and dining room place mats, jewelry and stationery. I can get most of my home products from Villages because I am fortunate to have not one but three stores in a 10 mile radius of my house.

With that kind of advantage, I probably shouldn't be in the running for this contest, but I hope the list gives you just a glimpse of how easy it is to have a Fair Trade home. As FTRN says, "Fair Trade is about so much more than coffee and tea. By integrating Fair Trade throughout our homes, we maximize the benefits for producers around the world." For a list of Fair Trade companies selling household goods and gifts, visit the Fair Trade Federation. If you are hankering for some coffee or tea, or any other food product, check out TransFair USA for a list of places to buy in your neighborhood.

As a homeowner, I'm facing some daunting repairs and the complexities of a new suburban lifestyle. Yet through Fair Trade I can stop and celebrate some of the people who grow my food and produce my goods, on May 8th and everyday.


  1. What about "fair trade" home parties, like is done with many other products? Is that being done anyplace?

  2. Hi Bob,

    I've definitely heard of Fair Trade home parties. I hosted one myself a few years back. A company that does such parties is Global Fayre. I'm sure there are other Fair Trade Federation members that can help you organize one.