Sunday, November 7, 2010

“Have a Fair Trade Christmas” campaign launched

Two local social justice groups have joined forces to launch the province’s first Fair Trade Christmas campaign.

The “Have a Fair Trade Christmas” campaign is aimed at encouraging shoppers to consider gifts that are ethically produced, environmental sustainable, and the workers receive fair wages for their work.

Rick McDaniel is director of International programming at the YMCA and founder of Culture’s Boutique - the city’s first fair trade store, located in downtown Fredericton.

“What sets Culture’s Boutique apart is not just the unique products from around the world, but that we ensure that the artisans are paid fairly and that labor conditions are safe and non-exploitative,” said McDaniel. “The purchases by Cultures are also guided by the principle that the raw materials used to make the items sold are harvested in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. “

Culture’s Boutique has teamed up with the local Chapter of the Martime-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) for the campaign. In 2001, BTS launched its own of brand of Breaking the Silence coffee, to support a cooperative of small farmers in Guatemala by creating a market in the Maritimes for their dark roast, organic coffee. The coffee is roasted by Just Us coffee in Nova Scotia.

“It has been a difficult year for our partners in Guatemala because of severe flooding and landslides. Many families have lost their homes and community buildings,” says BTS member Valerie Kilfoil. “One of the ways we can all make a difference is by using our buying power to support fair trade. Our partners in Guatemala do not want hand outs. They want a sustainable livelihood based on fairness and respect. That is what fair trade is based on.”

Kilfoil said the idea for the “Have a Fair Trade Christmas campaign” came about because of the current situation of their partners in Guatemala. “The situation is quite desperate in some areas where they need rebuild their communities. So the more coffee we sell, the more they earn. And this coffee is not only delicious, but it makes really great stocking stuffers or Christmas gifts for those hard to buy for people.”

Teaming up with Culture’s Boutique, which also has its own Honduran Solidarity Blend of coffee roasted by Just Us, offers shoppers a wide selection of fair trade projects. Culture’s offers unique jewellery, clothing, decorations, handicrafts and other gift ideas from around the world

The two organizations have set up a FairtradeNB Facebook site where different products and special offers will be featured between now and Christmas. BTS will be offering a special $10 Christmas gift bag of one 12 oz bag of Breaking the Silence organic, dark roast coffee (ground or beans) and one fair trade chocolate bar (organic dark or milk chocolate).

Please visit the Facebook site for more information!