Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fair Trade Month Kick Off

I will start off with my number one excuse for not blogging for several weeks since it is actually pretty exciting.  We have been having some "issues" with our current website program and I've been toying with the idea of switching for some time so this seemed like as good a time as any.  After several days of scouring websites and online forums for reviews and comparisons, I chose which program to switch to and I have to say, this is one of the best decisions I have made.  I love the set up of the new site and that is what I have been doing  day after day these last couple of weeks and I think we are just about ready to make the switch.  I'm hoping I will get it up and running this weekend.  Yay!!!

In any case, I though that the first day of October, aka Fair Trade Month, would be a good day to get back into my blogging and share some thoughts...

The question:  What is Fair Trade?  I get this question a lot and have answered it so many times, I could probably do it in  my sleep.  If you are reading this, you probably already know the cookie cutter answer - fair living wages paid to employees, comfortable working conditions, ability for workers to have vacation and sick time or leave of absence to care for their family.  These are all inherent aspects to the fair trade movement and the foundation to any fair trade business practice but there is something more beneath those facts that I feel lies at the focus of Fair Trade Month for me.  In a word - awareness.

I recently had a parent in my daughter's school ask me if I only had fair trade or green products in my house for the kids to play with.  Umm ... no.  While it would be wonderful to live in a time when there were more options for fair trade products, organic products etc, I don't believe that this is an all or nothing issue.  I don't think that in order to call myself a proponent of fair trade, I need to rid my house of all non-fair trade items just as I don't think that I need to buy only organic food for my family to say I believe in the benefits of buying local and organic food.

I would not have been able to start and run a business that took advantage of others for my own profit or sell products to parents that I would not want my own children to play with.  Yet, that remains true even when I give in and buy the girls those inflatable Spiderman swim tubes that surely say Made in China on the bottom.  I do my best to support companies that are doing more with their business than simply trying to turn a profit but if  were to clear out everything in our house that is not organic, local or fair trade ... well, it would be a lot easier to pick up around here, I guess!

My goal for Fair Trade Month is to promote awareness.  Awareness of other people and cultures,  Awareness of where our food comes from.  Awareness of where the products around us come from.  Not to create guilt at all the mass produced, chemically enhanced items that may be there but just to be aware of what is around us.  To make changes where it is desired and possible and to be okay with knowing that just taking that moment of awareness is, itself, making a change. 

No comments: