10 Great Fair Trade Stores
According to the World Bank, 10 percent of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty. This means they make less than $1.90 per day. Fairtrade is an innovative business model that aims to combat global poverty. Workers who produce fair trade products are paid a fair and livable wage by their employers. Each product they produce tells a story about corresponding culture and craftsman. Fairtrade ensures safe working conditions for men, women, and children as well as products that are environmentally sustainable.

By shopping fair trade, you can provide support to impoverished communities, worldwide. Here is a list of 10 great places to do so.

10 Great Fair Trade Stores

  1. Ten Thousand Villages: Founded in 1946, this store has expanded into a chain across the US. The store’s name took inspiration from a Gandhi quote: “Because in every village are people who want to live a meaningful life with dignity and who bring beautiful culture worth sharing.” Ten Thousand Villages works to embody this quote by selling handcrafted materials and products from an assortment of villages worldwide. The products sold range from jewelry all the way to gourmet chocolate. On average, each craftsman has sold their products through Ten Thousand Villages for 25 years.
  2. Greenheart Shop: This store is the only fair trade store in Chicago Illinois. They sell items from all categories, such as clothes, jewelry, dishes and rugs, all of which are eco-friendly, and as they put it, “carry a social mission.” Their craftsmen are sourced worldwide, contributing from as far away as Tunisia in North Africa.
  3. Fair Trade Winds: This family-run business has five locations across the U.S.–Bar Harbor, Maine, Boulder, Colorado, Fairfax, Virginia, Hudson, New York and Seattle, Washington. It was founded by a couple who bought and sold fair trade items such as coffee, tea, and chocolate at their church through a nonprofit called Lutheran World Relief. As time went on, this couple began selling the fair trade products at other churches, fairs, and events until they eventually invested in a retail space, thus establishing Fair Trade Winds.
  4. Fair Trade Jewelry Company: Located in Toronto Ontario, this store is the first Jeweller in North America to use fairtrade certified gold. To make their jewelry, they use a blend of fair trade gold as well as recycled gold to ensure that their jewelry is both socially and environmentally conscious. They work with miners to teach them how to use mining techniques that are safe and efficient.
  5. The Mustard Seed: Located in Lake Forest, Illinois, this store donates all their profits to organizations that support and empower at-risk women and children. Founded in 2009, The Mustard Seed employs an entirely volunteer workforce, which allows them to donate 100 percent of its profits to charities. Over the last 9 years, The Mustard Seed has donated roughly $200,000 to women and children.
  6. WHEAT: Founded in 1990, WHEAT, which stands for World Hunger Education, Advocacy and Training, is a fair trade store that supports craftsmen from over 30 countries. They sell many items including coffee, jewelry, ceramics and candlesticks. Their goal is to allocate their profits to help feed, house, clothe and educate the less fortunate. They are located in Phoenix Arizona.
  7. The Himalayan Bazaar: Located in Ann Arbor Michigan, this store sells handcrafted gifts and gear from Nepal. Their goal is to educate the community on culture, travel and adventure. In addition to their storefront, they also provide tours of the Himalayas in Nepal twice a year.
  8. Trade Roots: Established in Arlington Virginia, this store is a coffee shop, wine bar and gift shop all in one. Their craftsmen use recycled materials such as aluminum cans, textiles, and telephone wires to create original jewelry, clothes, baskets, etc. They embody a commitment to sustainable products.
  9. JustGoods: This store sells handcrafted goods such as jewelry, coffee, and clothing from 25 different countries. Their supply-chain represents almost all seven continents. They are run by volunteers, many of whom were once Peace Corp members. Their building is powered by LED lights and wind turbines to ensure environmental sustainability. They are located in Rockford Illinois.
  10. Simply Fair: Located in Springfield Illinois, this fair trade boutique sells handcrafted items from 40 nations. They offer daily samples of coffee and chocolate to their customers.

The above list only encompasses a small percent of the total fair trade stores in North America. A website called “Change The World by how you Shop” can help you find other great fair trade stores near you. All you have to do is provide your zip code. By shopping fair trade, people worldwide are given the opportunity to escape poverty and pursue a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

– Emily Turner
Photo: Flickr

Ask anyone who lives within a major metropolitan area to pick their favorite food truck cuisine and you’ll get answers that vary from Kobe beef sliders to Korean BBQ tacos. The recent surge in food truck popularity – thanks in part to Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race as well as a greater interest in reasonably priced culinary creations – has led to scores of artistically painted trucks patrolling city centers in search of hungry office workers and curious pedestrians. But what effect has the food truck phenomenon had on in promoting eco-friendly business models and renewable energy usage? Surprisingly quite a bit, as the following list describes 3 ways food trucks encourage sustainable business models.

1. Less energy consumption – When looking at the amount of energy required to run a traditional sit-down restaurant, the overall net energy expenditure is staggering. From the power used to light the business, the air conditioning and/or heating, hot lamps, stovetops, and dishwashers; the underlying business model of restaurants promotes wasteful energy usage. Unlike restaurants, food trucks encourage sustainable business models by their almost negligible use of fossil fuels required to move them from one location to another, which can be further reduced by their ability to convert to biodiesel, making them even more environmentally responsible.

2. Locally sourced produce – Another way that food trucks encourage sustainable business models is through their efforts in using locally grown fruits and vegetables in their recipes. The amount of energy needed for both the air and ground transport of fruits and vegetable grown out of season is huge, and serves as an enabler of continued energy dependence and fossil fuel waste. By using local growers, co-ops, and farmers, food trucks are able to promote the farm to fork business model of delicious seasonal produce.

3. Low start-up costs – The extremely high costs associated with operating, staffing, and running a restaurant is often prohibitive to local entrepreneurship and economic opportunity. Not surprisingly, food trucks encourage sustainable business models by enabling a wider cross section of the community the opportunity to own and operate their own food truck, which can serve as a form of poverty reduction for many families. And by opening up the market for increased local investment and small business owners, many communities can benefit greatly from the eco-friendly food truck business model.

Food truck business could become a sustainable model in developing countries whose local cuisines can be utilized to create income without incurring the high establishment costs required for restaurants.

Brian Turner

Source: Mother Nature Network
Photo: Daily Northwestern