We live in a world of gross social and economic inequalities which is leaving millions of people without basic necessities such as food, water, housing, education, and health-care. Millions are being dramatically affected by globalization, international trade policies, third-world debt, and are losing their farms, livelihoods and are unable to feed their families or provide for other basic necessities of life.
Fair trade, also known as alternative trade, plays by a different set of rules than normal commerce. Instead of exchanging goods or services based on clout and driving hard bargains, fair trade is based on economic and social justice. The key goals of fair trade are to empower low-income, disadvantaged artisans, laborers and farmers around the globe, and to promote understanding between them and industrialized nations. Fair trade advocates for a fair and living wage to artists, artisans and producers and provides revenue to promote social and economic development for communities.
Fair trade advocates for democratic management of artist cooperatives
Fair trade advocates for environmentally friendly and sustainable products
Fair trade does not support forced or child labor
There are almost 200 fair trade stores around the country and Sojourns is proud to be the first wholly fair trade store in Alabama.(but not the only one anymore--check out Trade Fair Marketplace in Huntsville)
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. - adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley
The understanding that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today – right now – is a powerful insight and motivator. At the same time, idealistic acts, even highly symbolic ones, have the power to inspire others to act, and sometimes in numbers significant enough to make a major or even complete impact on the problem at hand. we believe fair trade is a catalyst for change--even if it is tantamount to saving one start fish at a time.