May 14, 2011

Happy World Fair Trade Day!

Today is a day to celebrate Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a system of trading that promotes more equal global trade, mostly to farmers in poorer areas. When you buy fair trade, you ensure that the person who grows and/or makes the product you buy has been paid a fair wage, is not a child, and used environmentally friendly ways of growing. There is fair trade coffee, tea, herbs, chocolate, fruit, vegetables, sugar, beans, grains, flowers, nuts, honey, spices, wine, apparel, sports balls, and more.

You may take for granted those standards (being paid enough to live on and not having child labor), but apparently not everyone consider them the standard. In 2000, a report by the US State Department found that in recent years, approximately 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast (in Africa).
This may sound like something out of a history book, but it really is happening, right now. When you buy Fair Trade, you make sure that nothing you buy is made using child labor or any other unjust practices. Fair Trade certification also has standards which ensure that the farmers are environmentally friendly, by prohibiting some pesticides and encouraging composting and recycling. Many fair trade products are organic.

These are the symbols of the main Fair Trade certification organizations. If you see this on a product, it is fair trade.
This World Fair Trade Day, May 14th, is a day to try out Fair Trade. Start small with a chocolate bar! (They're actually quite good - I had a few for Easter.)  Every Fair Trade purchase you make tells companies that you support fair labor practices. Many Fair Trade stores offer discounts and activities to celebrate this day.

To learn more about Fair Trade, visit:

Happy fair trading! :)


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