When it comes to holiday shopping, many people search high and low to find the best prices on gifts their friends and family will love. However, great deals are not always so great for the people producing the goods, particularly if those goods are not made in the United States. Often times, farmers and laborers from around the world are not justly compensated for their work and are paid unlivable wages for their products sold in America.
The West Virginia Wesleyan College WE LEAD Modern Day Slavery and Eco Sustainability and Food Security Teams are excited to host an Equal Exchange fair trade sale to offer both the Wesleyan and Buckhannon communities the opportunity to buy great Christmas gifts at low prices that are fair for the buyer and the producer. The fair trade sale opens today, December 2, and will close on Friday, December 5. The sale will be located on the first floor of the Benedum Campus Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The sale will include chocolate, tea, hot chocolate, coffee, and K-cups. All items are priced under $8.00 and make great Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. Both cash and checks are accepted.
Fair Trade is a way of doing business that ultimately aims to keep small farmers an active part of the world marketplace and aims to empower consumers to make purchases that support their values. Fair Trade is a set of business practices voluntarily adopted by the producers and buyers of agricultural commodities and hand-made crafts that are designed to advance many economic, social and environmental goals, including: raising and stabilizing the incomes of small-scale farmers, farm workers, and artisans; supporting democratically owned and controlled producer organizations; and promoting safe and sustainable farming methods and working conditions. To do this, fair trade companies source from small-farmer or artisan co-operatives, prohibit the use of the more dangerous pesticides and herbicides, and adhere to the policies of the International Labor Organization, especially those concerning child and forced labor and the right to collective bargaining.
“I am excited that the money I was going to spend either way on Christmas can go toward helping other people meet their needs,” stated Jessica Vincent, leadership & service program assistant. “It is like I get to make a difference and get lots of chocolate, too!”
Because fair trade products cut out the middle man, the majority of the money earned in the sale goes directly back to the people who made the products. This extra income ensure that laborers make a livable wage, prevents child labor, and results in higher quality, organic products.
For questions about the fair trade sale, please contact Katie Loudin, coordinator of outreach and leadership development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.