If You Really Help The World: Buy Fair-Trade or Locally

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 30th May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/13qe4hzm/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Activism

We have all heard the saying “Give a man a fish and he has food for a day. Teach a man to fish he has food for life.”. That is all well and good, however, I would suggest we amend this saying, with “and if you REALLY want to help that fellow out, buy fish from him”. By buying products that are considered Fair-Trade you can help others attain a better life.

Why Fair Trade?

Fair Trade items are those that are purchased from people at a fair price, as opposed to products manufactured in factories where people (often children) work long hours for little pay.

There are still middle men, but they are not taking as much of the profit as in other situations where jobs are outsourced to foreign countries.

Fair trade products often are environmentally sustainable and allow people alternative ways to make money.

In 2002, an International Fairtrade Certification Mark, was introduced, by Fairtrade Labeling Organization International. This mark is used worldwide, with the exception of the U.S. And Canada, that use the Fair Trade Certified Mark. A transition to the FLO mark is underway in those countries.

How Can I Buy Fair Trade Products That Are Local?

Even though some products you buy locally may not have an official Fair Trade mark on them, you can go to places where you can buy directly from the product's producer - as when you are on vacation in other countries. These places can include, local farmer's markets and craft fairs. At farmer's market the products that you buy are usually brought there by a farmer, or craftsperson. You can develop on ongoing relationship with these producers, and see the benefits of your purchases directly upon them. Many of the food products one buys, at a farmer's market, is of a much better quality, than they could get at a large chain store. Buying these products not only helps the producers family, but also may benefit your own family, with better health and lower cost.

At craft and art fairs (even in your own country), consumers are able to find unique gifts and items for their home. These items are usually purchased directly from the person who created them. Some of these people's only source of income comes from their creations. Some of them may be people who have no other means of employment because of a disability. Buying their work affects not only their financial state, it also has a tremendous positive emotional effect on them. The added bonus is that you found a completely unique piece for your home or to give as a gift, that may be treasured for years, instead of ending up in a landfill.

How does buying fair trade, or local, help the world?

Let me answer this question by posing another question. Would you like live off the handouts of governments, or donations by generous people? I have been in the situation of relying on handouts from either governments or generous people at one time in my life. It did not make me feel good, in fact it made me feel worthless. For this reason, I try to help out when I see a need, and would rather help out in a way that really helps the person. I would ather help them to have means achieving of an ongoing sustainable life by themselves rather than just give them a hand out.

To me, the Fair Trade Movement is a way of achieving this goal. Fair Trade helps build local economies and improves the quality of life of many. By supporting Fair Trade and Local Producers we can give people a sustainable life that is long term. When I buy products, that are Fair Trade or from a local farmer's market, that does give me a good feeling inside, and more importantly, it gives those producers a sense of worth. That sense of worth is perhaps the most important part of Fair Trade. Beyond the apparent financial benefits, this sense of worth is the best gift that you can give anyone. You can give this gift by buying something that you would purchase anyway. Just look for the Fair Trade Certification Mark - as most of these are copywrite protected I have not shown examples of them here. Instead I direct you to Wikipedias page on Fair Trade.

Tags

Activism, Charity, Economy, Fair, Fair Trade, Goods, Help, Local, Locally, Money, Shop, Shopping, World

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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