How To Refresh Your Decor With Fair Trade Products That Support Families, Sustainability | Home & Garden

Jenni Leister of Bunyaad Marketplace says one of the goals of running a business that offers fair trade items at varying price points is to show consumers “how easy it is to be more intentional” in their choices. shopping for home decor and garden items.

“We’re big believers in voting, but every day we vote choosing how we want to spend our dollar,” Leister said.

You can spend those dollars on homewares from a major company, or you can buy a unique, handmade item that allows artisans in other countries to support their families.

And, in addition to retail outlets like Bunyaad and Ten Thousand Villages, which has a local store in Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, there are other resources people can use to support artisans around the world while refreshing their interior decoration or their exterior spaces with un- ordinary items.

The Fair Trade Federation, which has been located in the Candy Factory coworking space in Lancaster since December 2019, can help consumers find fair trade companies to buy items from which their makers have received a living wage.

“We are a trade association of fair trade companies in the United States and Canada,” says Chris Solt, executive director of the Fair Trade Federation. “What we do is different (from individual product certification, which other groups do) in that we audit the whole organization – everything they do. … There are nine principles that state how the Fair Trade Federation wants its members to behave and how they agree to behave as a Fair Trade business.

These principles include creating business opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers, fair and prompt compensation for manufacturers, ensuring children’s rights and safe working conditions, respecting cultural identity and establishing strong relationships with manufacturers and artisans.

“We have around 130 wholesale brands and around 100 retail operations,” says Solt, including Bunyaad and Ten Thousand Villages – the latter for which he previously worked.

Solt notes that companies and organizations that have been verified as ethical fair trade businesses are listed on the federation’s website, so those looking to find home decor or garden items or gifts can search businesses, shops and cafes that sell or serve fairly. trade items.

“The goal is a living wage,” says Solt, “anywhere someone is involved in a supply chain. … When you think about why this exists, it’s because of the Global inequality This comes from our colonialist history.

Another goal is “to include everyone in the supply chain not only to earn a living wage, but also to know that the products they make do not come at the cost of their dignity, their means of livelihood or their environment,” says Solt.

“There’s a huge demand right now for products that are seen as an extension of someone’s values,” he says. “They want to express their values ​​in the purchases they make. It has a profound impact. Because of global inequality…those who are in the first world and have disposable income have a tremendous amount of power. Most people don’t really realize this.

Bunyaad Marketplace in Lititz sells artwork from artisans located around the world who are fairly compensated for their work on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Metal signs made from old oil drums.

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The roots of the fair trade movement run deep in Lancaster County.

Ten Thousand Villages, the Akron-based fair trade company, was one of the catalysts of the fair trade movement more than 75 years ago.

According to the company’s website, in 1946, while doing missionary work for the Mennonite Central Committee, Edna Ruth Byler of Akron encountered women in Puerto Rico who were creating beautiful embroidery but struggling to nurture their family.

Byler bought coins at a fair price and brought them back to Lancaster County to sell to friends and family. And in doing so, she founded Ten Thousand Villages.

“Fairtrade items from us are naturally a conversation piece – for gift giving and when buying a home refresh,” writes Lauren Wennell, Director of Brand and Marketing for Ten Thousand Villages. , in an email.

“We have 75 years of artisan relationships – with 60% women makers and artisan groups that we have partnered with for over 20 years,” Wennell writes. “Each item has a built-in story and story in addition to a functional element.

“When you shop on our website or in our stores, our staff know the artisans behind the product inside out, and our website provides detailed manufacturer information,” she adds.

Some of the most popular products sold by Ten Thousand Villages these days, Wennell says, include a $30 whitewashed terracotta planter shaped like an owl and made in Bangladesh; a $40 doormat bearing the image of a red bicycle with flowers in the basket, made in the area of ​​Mumbai, India; and metal wind chimes made in India and the Philippines and sold at different prices.

“It’s wonderful that ‘going green’ and being more sustainable has become so much more fashionable,” Wennell wrote in his email. “It is important to conduct thorough research into how products are made and who makes the products in your home. We are proud to present employment opportunities in underserved areas of the world to elevate their socio-economic status.

“Child labor is strictly prohibited and fair wages help parents pay for education, food and health care for their families,” she writes. “…We primarily use recycled materials and sustainable production processes. Environmental responsibility reduces our carbon footprint and keeps useful materials out of landfills.

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Rozella J. Cook