About A Fair Trade Place

Legislative Outreach Coordinator - Fair Trade Healdsburg; Community Services Coordinator - Rio Lindo Academy; Husband and Father (Kramer is our 7yr old Weimaraner)

People Unseen

“I pity a man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.”

Benjamin Harrison,23rd President of The United States

I was trying to find some funny quotes on pity the other day to make a comment on a friends Facebook page when I came across this quote from Benjamin Harrison. It immediately made me think of the principles of Fair Trade and the journey I have been on over the past 2 years. It got me thinking about the different ways we treat people and how that treatment may differ based on two categories: people we see and people we don’t.

I’m sure most of us have seen people in desperation, people begging for assistance. In my community they can be seen on a bench outside the local Safeway playing some type of musical instrument with an open container at their feet that has a few coins or bills in it. They are frequently seen at the stop light at the exit of the Wal Mart & Home Depot shopping center with a myriad of different signs all requesting bits of others excess.

We all have different ways of reacting to this encounter. Some completely ignore. Others strive to make eye contact and at least offer a friendly hello while others rationalize that if they “give” the person may use it for something destructive like drugs or alcohol. Some may say, “If the light is red, then I’ll give some change if I have it. But if it is green, then I can’t hold up traffic, so I’ll give a nod that says ‘Id like to help but I have to keep moving right now’.” One thing I feel is certain; that when we see someone in desperation begging, regardless of whether we can/will assist or not, it still makes us think about what it would be like if that were us. And there again is another contrast. For some,we whisper the prayer, “Thank God I’m not like them.” For others of us we think of what it would be like to be in that persons shoes and how we would feel when people pass us by.

I can write about this because I have said, felt and thought each of these different responses. I’ve had to wrestle with the question of how I should respond to the request for my time, energy and resources. It is a valid struggle and one I feel we must engage in. We must know how we will respond and have reasons for doing so. Another equally valid and important struggle is whether or not to apply this same rational for responding to the people I “see” in desperation to the people I do not see but “know” are in desperation. And this is where the aforementioned quote is applicable.

What if, in my pursuit to be frugal and economical, another is harmed to accommodate my request? I am sure that most would find this to be unacceptable. However, we most often do not choose to apply the same rational of how we should “treat others” to the people we do not see. But, attached and associated with everything we see IS a person. Someone is behind making, producing, growing and delivering everything you and I consume. And how they are treated and what accommodations they are afforded should matter to me before I take ownership of something.

Benjamin Harrison basically said that he pitied a man, who in pursuit of frugality, caused another person to starve, or in other words, to suffer greatly in some way. To pity means to have “sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering,distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy.” To me this is saying that Benjamin Harrison felt sorrow for the frugal man because of the suffering and distress he was causing another person, not because he was trying to be frugal. And also that it led him to show mercy to the one suffering and maybe to show mercy to the one causing suffering as well by providing an alternative.

So where does this leave us? I feel that there are many people who are beginning to associate the things they have with the people who make it possible for us to have them. It is equally important to treat people seen and people unseen with dignity and respect. If a thing cannot be had without another suffering to make our ownership of it possible, then it is certainly not worth having. And if this principle is important to us, we must show mercy to those suffering at the hands of others by choosing a different way than what is currently acceptable, a way that recognizes people unseen and treats them fairly. We must also show mercy to those who may cause suffering, though their actions may be due to ignorance, by compassionately urging them to consider their actions and think of people unseen.


Fair Trade Resource Network » Photo Contest – Details

2013 Fair Trade Calendar: Enter the Fair Trade Photo Contest June 1-26

From Fair Trade Resource Network

Submit photos – June 1-26Vote for photos – June 27 to July 16Guidelines – Contest rules and photo specificationsOrder 2013 Fair Trade Calendar – Early-bird discountsContact Us – contest administratorWinning photos from last year – some photos voted as winners last yearSubmit Photos June 1-26, 2012Read below for contest “Guidelines/Eligibility” to make sure your photos qualify for this contest.Email each photo, with a caption up to 50 words , to photocontest@ftrn.org. FTRN will not post your name, email address, nor a photo title. Each photo must have a resolution of 300 dpi at 5 x 7 inches. For best quality in printed calendar, the photo should have resolution of 300 dpi at 9.5 x 14.5 inches.  Photo must be in one of these formats: jpg, tiff, pdf. Your accompanying caption should include location photo was taken, name of individuals pictured as much as possible, and relation of photo subject to Fair Trade.Pay submission fee of $10/photo at FTRN’s Online Store. Pay using Paypal or a Credit Card. Photo submissions are $10 per photo; you may submit as many photos as you want. 1 photo costs $10, 5 photos costs $50, etc.. Within 2 business days of receiving your payment, your photos will appear on the Photo Contest page.

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Not Everyone Knows…

I know. Many of my friends and family know. But the fact remains that there are still many people that we come in contact with don’t what Fair Trade is. This is a problem! It comes down to this; If we know of something good, we need to let others know about it. We need to share with others the good things we have experienced. We do this already with restaurants, movies & vacations spots. Lets just keep in mind that Fair Trade is something good that we can share with friends, family and complete strangers.

I had a Fair Trade education moment today as I was picking up a few groceries from Safeway after my evening run. I was going through the isles gathering a few things, (I only had a hand basket) when something on the shelf caught my eye, . Dr Bronner;s is the soap that I use now and it is Fair Trade certified by . To my knowledge, my local Safeway has just begun carrying this item. I usually buy this product from one of our other local grocery stores that carries a wide variety of Fair Trade goods. So needless to say I was surprised and excited to see Dr. Bronner’s on the shelf in Safeway. I threw a bar in my basket, as I was out of it at home, and headed to the checkout. See the Soap and read what happened next!

“Best in Fair Trade” Awards Open for Nominations of Business & Nonprofits

Fair Trade Resource Network has launched “Best in Fair Trade” Awards for N. America nonprofits & businesses. The public can nominate (by March 31), and vote, for U.S. & Canada organizations doing exemplary work in Fair Trade in 5 categories:

  • Most positive change in a producer community;
  • Outstanding long-term commitment to producers;
  • Best support of the Fair Trade movement;
  • Most effective public education program;
  • Most effective advocacy for trade policy reform.

FTRN created the contest since no awards existed to honor organizations across all major Fair Trade recognitions. Winners will be celebrated during World Fair Trade Day in May!

, or , nonprofits and businesses before March 31. The public will then for any finalists during April.


“Not For Sale” Partners w/ Eileen Fisher to end Slavery


At the heart of Fair Trade is the desire for people to be treated fairly. Producers and farmers should be paid a fair price for their products. No one should be forced to grow or pick anything I eat or … Continue reading

A Step in the Right Direction

It’s simple to think about but harder to actually put into practice at times. I’m going for it though! I’m searching for new ways to live a Fair Trade lifestyle. It’s not about huge, crazy, radical restructuring of my life. It’s getting to that, but to put in more simpler terms, it’s about choosing differently about how I’m going to spend my money. Today, it’s about Flip Flops.

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Read more about Autonomie Project here!

Good & Fair

“I wanted to let you know about a great place to get underwear. was started by Shelton Green in 2010. He’s a great guy who was motivated to start the company as a way to do something about human trafficking. We now have a t-shirt made by them, and all of Charlie’s come from Good & Fair. Their clothing is very soft and comfortable. It’s both organic and Fair Trade.”

via & 

Thanks to Robin @  for the info!

I Thought Fair Trade Was Better

This was supposed to the Valentines Day that I went all in with Fair Trade. I wanted to do something special and unique for my wife and I didn’t want to just go down to the store and get something. I wanted it all to be Fair Trade.

I located on the web and saw that they were having a special on “ Certified” roses.Everything looked good! Lets remember however, that I am a man and I was doing this on Monday the 13th. So I called the company to see what the deadline was for getting the roses shipped out and delivered on Valentines Day. It was confirmed that if I placed the order by noon my time I would have it on my doorstep on Valentines Day. So I placed the order: $50 for 2 dozen assorted roses and almost $20 for the shipping. Continue reading

Show Me Your Label: A Guide To Fair Trade Labels

Have you ever wondered what exactly to look for when trying to buy Fair Trade? It can  be a little confusing to decipher the labels or perceived rhetoric about “Fair Trade” and get down to finding the actual products available in the market. But once you know what to look for, it actually becomes quite easy.

Certified Fair Trade products are not available in every type of merchandise that we may think of. There is a small but comparable list of things available at this point and the best way to find those products is by looking for the “label”. The above photo is a collage of all the Certified Fair Trade and Fair Trade related logos that I am aware of. What is to follow is a listing of each logo and a brief description of what they mean and information about the parent organization. I hope you’ll find this helpful and that it may take some of the guesswork out of shopping Fair Trade.

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See All Labels and Continue Reading Here!