Posts tagged ‘fair trade federation’

Fair Trade Tagua jewelry from Ecuador arrives at Global Fayre

When we went to the Fair Trade Federation Conference in Portland earlier this year, we made some great contacts and met face-to-face with many Fair Trade importers that had until then we had only ‘met’ through their websites and email conversations.

We’re now starting to see some new products arrive at Global Fayre as a result. It always takes more time than we expect to go from liking something we see to getting that first order in, but we have found that it pays to be cautious at first; once a product or a range gets established, there will be plenty of time to get more items in later on.

So we were excited today to get our first shipment from Minga Fair Trade Imports.Acting as a liaison between small businesses in the global north and artisans in the global south to promote mutual economic advantage and appreciation, Minga develops, imports, and distributes to retail stores clothing for all seasons and ages, accessories, baskets, art, jewelry, musical instruments, pottery, rugs, toys, and other items from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Brazil.logo

We really like their clothing, especially the kids clothing, but we’re CRAZY about their Tagua.

Tagua is an ivory-like nut harvested from palm trees indigenous to South America. Tagua is used to make beautiful products, at the same time helping to protect the earth’s animals and environment.

How does Tagua help?

It discourages poaching. Long known as ‘poor man’s ivory’ Tagua provides a beautiful alternative, reducing demand for ivory and reducing the slaughter of elephants.

It creates Jobs. Hand crafting Tagua gives farmers much needed work, as well as preserving a traditinoal art and culture.

It preserves the Forest. Tagua nuts are harvested without harming the trees they grow on, meaning that the landscape is preserved and the ecosystem protected.

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May 14, 2009 at 16:28 4 comments

Wire and Bead Critters from Zimbabwe

A fellow member of the Fair Trade Federation, Originals from Africa, have just delivered  some beautiful wire and bead critters, made by Bernard Domingo and his team of eight in Zimbabwe. Bernard has been perfecting the art of wire and bead making for over 20 years and loves what he does. The team works in Bernard’s yard in Zimbabwe, under the shade of jacaranda trees.

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The team is constantly working on new designs and improving their quality, and they love to get customer feedback. Making these products allows them to provide for their entire families and sometime other village members as well.

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We’ll be adding the critters to our online store over the next few days.

April 24, 2009 at 13:00 1 comment

Thoughts from the Fair Trade Federation Conference in Portland Oregon

Cheri and I just got back to Springfield, after spending 5 days in Portland in the company of some of the most awe-inspiring and motivated people that I think I have ever encountered.

The occasion was the 15th Conference of the Fair Trade Federation, the trade group that brings together Fair Trade wholesalers and retailers of North America. Having been accepted as members of the FTF earlier in the year, and having never been to a conference previously (although a members-only conference on the first day, after that it is very much open to the public) we were excited to attend, but also unsure of what the event would be like, how worthwhile we would find it, and frankly whether or not we could afford to attend.

You can find out more about the events of the Conference at the FTF website (www,fairtradefederation.com). The whole event was pretty intense, with session after session aimed at giving the members the tools they need to keep growing, especially in the difficult economic climate. It was emotional too, with many of the members making it clear that their businesses were struggling badly, but that one thought kept them going; the need to continue providing a route to market for the thousands of artisans in countries around the world that depend on the Fair Trade movement.

It was great from a personal point of view to meet many of the people that we have been working with since opening Global Fayre in Dec 2007. In virtually every case it was the first time we had met in person.

All-in-all, the conference gave us both a renewed sense of energy, urgency and commitment to Fair Trade. See you next year in Boston!

March 31, 2009 at 22:26 Leave a comment

Fair Trade Hemp and ‘no kill’ leather Bags from Nepal

Today we added some beautiful bags to our online store.

We get these bags from Ganesh Himal Trading. GHT has been bringing Fair Trade products to the US since 1984, and are leaders in the US Fair Trade movement, playing a key part in groups like the Fair Trade Federation, the Fair Trade Resource Network and Green America.  Here’s their story: Since 1984, we have been supplying shops and retail customers in the U.S.with high quality, handcrafted clothing, jewelry, textiles, and paper. We import directly from small cottage industries in Nepal, including development projects working to improve the lives of Tibetan refugees and women.
Our goal has always been to support work that enhances people’s lives and traditions. We work directly with the
producers as a team, expanding each others’ talents and ideas. It is rewarding to work with such skilled artisanswho enjoy what they do and to know that they realize a fair return for their work.

In the mountains of Nepal hemp has been used for centuries because of its strength and durability. This satchel is produced in Nepal by artisans who receive a fair wage and benefits.We’ve added 4 bags; a passport bag, two backpacks and a satchel. The bags are made from hemp, ‘no kill’ leather and cotton. ‘No Kill’ leather is made from cows who have died natural deaths and is softened without using chemicals.

Here’s what they look like:

Fair Trade Hemp Passport Bag from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp Passport Bag from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp Backpack from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp Backpack from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp backpack from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp backpack from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp Satchel from Nepal

Fair Trade Hemp Satchel from Nepal

March 24, 2009 at 23:01 8 comments

Zimbabwe Binga Baskets

Our latest additions to the online store today are two beautiful Binga Baskets from Zimbabwe.

We don’t get many of these (though hopefully we will have more soon) so they are unlikely to be in the store for long.

Zimbabwe Binga Basket (Large)

Zimbabwe Binga Basket (Large)

Here’s some background to the baskets:

The remote Binga district is home to the severely disadvantaged BaTonga people. In the early 1960’s, their fertile lands were permanently buried in water during construction of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Kariba, and they were forced to relocate to their current lands that are barren and difficult to farm.

Today, some women traditionally still use wild grasses and palm leaves dyed with tree bark to weave intricately patterned baskets. These shallow bowls are still used today to winnowgrains, especially the largest of sizes.

We get these baskets from a wholesaler called Baskets of Africa, (like Global Fayre, they are members of the Fair Trade Federation) and they give this description of what it takes to track them down:

Due to the politics in Zimbabwe, these baskets are becoming more difficult to come by. It was no easy task before the political situation began to heat up…

To start collecting, a two day bus trip out to the Binga area is taken with much of the second day being on dirt roads. Then our representative walks miles and miles to go hut by hut to find the ambuyas, the elderly grandmothers that still weave the higher quality baskets. He carries the baskets back to the bus depot and brings them to the capital city of Harare for tagging, packing and shipping to the US.

Why do we collect baskets in this manner instead of buying from consolidators and middlemen? This is the only way we can fully ensure that the weavers are paid fairly for their work while also ensuring we locate the highest quality Binga baskets available.

March 23, 2009 at 16:49 7 comments

Ghana Bolga Market Baskets

Suddenly realized today that one of our most popular items is not yet on the online store – how crazy is that?!

We carry a range of baskets sourced from Cael at Baskets of Africa (a fellow member of the Fair Trade Federation). The best sellers are the Bolga Market Baskets from Ghana. These baskets are traditionally used for carrying goods to and from the market. Weavers in the region use the abundant Veta vera grass to weave these incredibly hardy, useful baskets. The leather wrapped handle adds to the durability.

Went to add them and found that stocks are really low, so added just these three:

Bolga Basket from Ghana

Bolga Basket from Ghana

Bolga Market Basket from Ghana

Bolga Market Basket from Ghana

Basket #3

Basket #3

Every basket is unique, so selling them in the online store is going to be pretty labor intensive – but what great news for the weavers in Ghana….another outlet for their great work!

March 21, 2009 at 23:25 2 comments

New Fair Trade products

A constant source of frustration here in the US is the relatively low number of Fair Trade certified products that are available for the consumer to purchase.

An announcement from TransFair USA today marked a welcome improvment to that situation, with a significant expansion of the number of certified products.

You can read the statement, and see the newly expanded list of products here.

You can also read more about the difference between product certification from TransFairUSA and membership of the Fair Trade Federation here.

March 9, 2009 at 14:43 Leave a comment

Global Fayre and Kickapoo Coffee

We’ve made a great discovery this week; 100% handcrafted artisan fair trade coffee from Kickapoo Coffee in Wisconsin.

It all began when our main coffee supplier, Equal Exchange, flagged up that there was a shortage of Columbian coffee due to adverse weather conditions in Columbia over the past year. We have a regular number of Columbian coffe drinkers, so knew that we needed to find a back-up supplier.

Where to start? As members of the Fair Trade Federation the starting point was to check out the coffee roasters on the member list. This list is available to non-members as well as members, and is a great place to start if you are trying to source Fair Trade products of any kind, whether as a retailer or consumer. So a search of the member list flagged up 15 coffee wholesalers in North America. Panning down the list, some names familiar some not so familiar, one named just jumped out – Kickapoo Coffee! Here in the Ozarks, the name Kickapoo is found everywhere, as it was a major settlement area for the Kickapoo. Turns out that the Kickapoo actually started in the Wisconsin area before moving (voluntarily or not) progressively southwards (check out Kickapoo history here).

So the next task was to find out more about Kickapoo Coffee. They describe themselves as a family-scale enterprise situated near the scenic Kickapoo River in the driftless region of southwest Wisconsin. The foundation of our business is our shared values: connection to the land, consideration for our local and global community, and commitment to our families and those of our trading partners. From our telephone conversations I found out that they take orders each Monday, then roast on Tuesday and Wednesday before shipping out towards the end of the week. So the coffee that we order on a Monday arrives at Global Fayre around a week later as fresh as it could be.

The next step was to find some third party reference about the quality of Kickapoo’s coffee. There is a really useful site called Coffee Review that reviews coffees in a similar way to wines, even giving them a score out of a possible 100. You can read the review of organic Columbian from Kickapoo Coffee here.

organic Columbian from Kickapoo Coffee

organic Columbian from Kickapoo Coffee

Since the samples arrived earlier in the week we have been brewing the Columbian every day to gauge customer response. Everyone seems to have really liked it. It’s a light roast, not at all hard-hitting, with a flavor to savor. Another great feature is the packaging; it comes in a wonderfully re-usable old coffee can!

We’ll be placing our first order next Monday, so might even have our first batch here by the First Friday Art Walk!

The plan is to stock it in the 12oz can, but also to have it in bulk, so that you can  bring your can back and refill it (for a discount of course).

February 26, 2009 at 16:44 1 comment

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