23 February 2009

Happy Fairtrade Fortnight!

Okay, so this is not a holiday that we celebrate here in the United States, but maybe we should! The Fairtrade fortnight is about raising awareness of  fairtrade products for both the retailers and the consumers.

Wikipedia.com has this description of Fairtrade fortnight :
"The Fairtrade fortnight is an annual event in which fair and ethical trading values are celebrated. The concept was pioneered by the Fairtrade Foundation in the United Kingdom, and held firstly in 1997 in Scotland. This turned out to be a highly successful campaign to get every supermarket throughout Scotland to stock Fairtrade products. It spread to the rest of the United Kingdom the following year. Today, Fairtrade fortnights are celebrated in several countries, most notably IrelandCanadaAustralia andNew Zealand...."

I know that the idea of fairtrade is something that has recently been coming to our attention in the United States, but I don't feel like the government or the retailers are really paying attention yet. How often do you see fairtrade products marked and on the shelf? I know I have seen a couple in the coffee aisle, and occasionally in the produce section. I know that you find fairtrade all over stores like Whole Foods, (Wild Oats), Sunflower Markets, and Trader Joe's. But what about Kroger? Smith's? Fry's? Albertson? Jewel? Safeway? Dominick's? Target? K-mart? and our obnoxious, overbearing Wal-mart? etc.  How often do you find products (not food) that are labeled as fairtrade? What about clothing? Do you even know where your clothing was made?

I have to tell you that my absolute favorite fairtrade product that I buy on a regular basis is The Mother's India Fragrance incense. It is hand rolled using the traditional masala method which uses only natural materials. It is the only incense I have ever found that I am not allergic too. There are a few places that you can find a few of the scents in the United States (and online US retailers), but for a much broader selection, check out Greater Goods in the UK. Good products, friendly people...that is what a good company should be.

By the way, Fairtrade fortnight runs from February 23 through March 8 in 2009. Find even more information about fairtrade at the Fairtrade Foundations website.

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