A felt birdfeeder from Tibet. Paper mâché bowls from Haiti. Purses made from tires or soda-can openers. Newspaper-framed mirrors. Paper made from elephant dung (aptly marketed as “Ellie poo”).
There’s not much you will find at Made by Hand International Cooperative in South Bethany that can be found elsewhere. And for shoppers with a conscience, it’s a place they can feel good about shopping at, because they know the artisans who handcrafted their items were paid a fair price.
Much like Earth Day is celebrated around the globe and has gained recognition as a way for people to remember to be good stewards of the Earth, World Fair Trade Day aims to bring awareness to fair trade issues, explained Kimberly Grimes of Made by Hand, who will join in on the annual celebration on Saturday, May 12.
World Fair Trade Day is the first global campaign for the Fair Trade movement connecting producers and customers around the world and is endorsed by the World Fair Trade organization or WFTO.
Fair trade aims to build equitable, long-term partnerships between consumers in North America and producers in developing regions. According to International Fair Trade Association, fair-trade businesses commit to certain criteria: creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers; transparency and accountability; capacity-building; payment of a fair price; gender equity; good working conditions; and care for the environment.
Domestic fair trade is also on the rise, with almonds form California available at the store, along with soaps made locally.
On Saturday at Made by Hand, people will be able to sample fair-trade food and drinks. New this year, in addition to the many chocolates they often carry, Made by Hand will offer a green olive paste with smoked chili, to taste. For entertainment, they will have Ken Schliefer. People can even bring their own drums and follow along with Schleifer in a drumming circle.
“We are hoping to make a lot of noise out front,” joked Grimes.
Also new this year, shoppers will be able to try to win a $250 shopping spree, and author/yoga instructor Joy Jangdhari will be on hand to sign copies of her book “Living Life as a Joyful Being.”
“We will have lots of little giveaway,” said Grimes, “like things from Dr. Bonner’s, and we have new wholesome sweeteners made from fair-trade sugar.”
“The day is a way to help people become more aware,” she continued. “Everything you buy – somebody’s hands are attached to that.”
For more information about fair trade, visit www.fairtraderesource.org or www.fairtradefederation.orgon the Internet. Mady by Hand International Cooperative can be found in the York Beach Mall in South Bethany, next to McCabe’s.