It can be bitter-sweet, a bit nutty and you’ve probably craved its magic. But what if the next chocolate bar you ate could actually change the world? With fair trade products, that’s the idea.
Fair Trade Month, which began this October, raises awareness about products that are produced in an ethical manner. This means that they were made, traded, processed and packaged in a way that is economically sustainable for the farmer or craftsman, ecologically sustainable for the earth, and high quality for the consumer.
In other words, it’s a win, win (um, win) that puts both a face and integrity behind the product, and the power to do good in the hands of the consumer.
The Fair Trade movement began in the 1940s. It caught steam in the U.S. in the 1980s with products like coffee and cocoa beans, which don’t typically grow locally. Farmers were paid a living wage for their work and consumers had a direct link with the people growing their food. Since then, both the movement and the fair trade marketplace have grown. Today, there are many fair trade certifications on products (you’ve surely seen the sticker), and it’s now possible to find everything from fair trade tea, almonds, quinoa, bananas and olive oil to clothing and household goods.
How can you join the magic? One of the best ways to support the fair trade movement is to be a conscious consumer. Here are some ways to get started:
- Buy chocolate from Equal Exchange, one of the pioneers of the fair trade movement.
- Encourage your synagogue to purchase fair trade coffee and tea via Equal Exchange’s interfaith program.
- Download the Fair Trade Finder App on your smart phone.
- Host a Fair Trade products party to educate your friends or family about what fair trade is and how they can get involved.
- Follow Fair Trade USA on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news.
- Stock up for Hanukkah with Divine Chocolate’s fair trade gelt.
Hungry for more ideas? Check out TransFairUSA’s Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Fair Trade Month. Then, watch the video below to find out more about Fair Trade certification and how what you buy impacts you, farmers, and the world: