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What if Fair Trade matters?

What if Fair Trade Matters hands hold coffee beans

What if Fair Trade matters?

We want our actions to count, to matter for something. But not too much.

I want to change the world, preferably from my couch in front of the TV.

I’d like my donations, my volunteer work, to make a difference for a need. But if that causes people to depend on me, or if it pushes me to learn more and invest deeper, I’m afraid of that.

If I’m honest, I would like a controlled environment where I can put in my time, clock out, and go home.

Maybe this is you too. And maybe you’ve noticed that caring doesn’t work like that.

The change and cultural movement we hope for means that Fair Trade matters. Convincing shoppers to commit to this idea can feel like a difficult needle to move.

Caring Takes Personal Investment

If I truly invest in the circumstances of others, I can’t turn it off.

When someone has a need, my first instinct is to FIX IT. I'm still working to learn this truth from people wiser than me: Do not do for others what they can do for themselves.

If I jump in and rescue, I may strip away the dignity of problem-solving and of another person earning their own way.

This is one of the many reasons that economic empowerment matters and Fair Trade matters.

In its purest form, Fair Trade is a cooperative model, where farmers or producers in the developing world join together and each has a say in their own future.

If not for these co-ops, the workers may be caught in prostitution, trafficking, or any number of horrible situations.

When given the opportunity to make choices for themselves, often these same people start businesses, create beautiful products, and learn to work together. They are smart and capable.

The Greatest Need Is Solidarity

So they don’t need our sympathy. (While that is fine to offer, if you like.) Sympathy might require the kind of help that clocks in and clocks out, moving on to the next task.

What these global friends need most is our solidarity. Our investment in what matters in their region. Our commitment to provide a market where they can run their businesses. And that creates opportunity.

If we can think of this as a community of artists and business people around the world, it is easy to see that our role is to open doors of opportunity.

So does it Fair Trade matter? Opportunity sounds pretty world-changing to me.

These issues are complex, so let’s keep discussing them and learning together.

Please contact us to discuss more or ask any questions about economic justice. We love to talk about it!

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