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Are there any items that you prefer to buy fair trade?

Asked at The Merc, 901 Iowa Street Lawrence on January 13, 2013

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Photo of Eric Anderson

“I guess the answer is yes, but it depends on when I see it. I don’t go out of my way, but I agree with the concept. ”

Photo of Hannah Wilson

“Not actively, but we just bought fair trade tea.”

Photo of Garth Atchison

“I like coffee and chocolate.”

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 5 months ago

I do search out and buy fair trade. Few people know or care to know how much work goes into producing the textiles and foods that they use. For example, in this country it takes an enormous amount of time and work to produce a quilt totally from scratch, not to mention the creativity needed to craft the design. Everything that is created by a person has a bit of that person in it, by which I mean spiritual not material.

Think about planting coffee, waiting for it to mature and produce beans, then pick the beans, and that is just the start. Then think about how much you would like to get paid by the time the coffee is ready to be shipped. Oh, and don't forget the shipping costs, the cost of the bags to put the coffee beans in to ship, etc.

Think, Babboy and Rara_Avis i, I implore you. Ask yourself, what would Charlie do?

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

If "fair trade" meant actual fair trade, I would buy such items. Unfortunately "fair-trade" means lots of bureaucratic hoops that sellers must jump through, giving larger and more established firms a mandated advantage.

There really isn't much that is fair about that. If it makes you feel good, the buy some extra and give it to your friends.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

It's the larger established firms who participate in unfair trade. They employ workers at slave wages, they pollute, they do anything to make it rich. Not make a living, make it rich. Fair trade helps the little guy, who is doing it for a living, a simple basic living. Of course you are one of those "pity the billionaire" people, aren't you.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 5 months ago

Such lazy commenters, so content in their ignorant sarcasm--tsk, tsk.

Ten Thousand Villages is a fantastic store that just opened up in downtown Lawrence. It's in the direct line of a continuously growing project of the Mennonite folks who started the movement in the '40s, looking for rewarding folks directly for their hard labor typically done in a cottage industry-style/scale instead of dealing with all of the middlemen who usually get all of the money, thereby helping sustain the little guy along with his and her communities wherever they may be found. It's evolved into a global movement that has a really good track record for helping local small businesses, particularly in third world countries, and has particularly focused on women in those countries who are generally oppressed but turn out to be the most committed and competent businesspeople when given the opportunity.

For more information on this laudable and important movement, check out what they have to say about it--make sure to also check out their history page:

And yes, the Merc also carries Fair Trade items as do any number of other stores in town as they have bothered to actually find out what it is all about and rightfully are supporting it.


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