What do clothing stores like Janet Rhodes Brings You Fair Trade and Ten Thousand Villages and grocery stores like Heinen's and Dave's Markets have in common? The answer is simple--fair trade goods. Whether it is coffee, chocolate, fruits, or clothing, all of these stores sell a variety of fair trade goods.
Fair Trade is an alternative way of doing business that promotes equal, sustainable international relationships between consumers and producers. This includes paying fair wages in local communities, engaging in environmentally sustainable practices, and promoting healthy working conditions. These trading partnerships are based on relationships of mutual respect. Some common fair trade products include: crafts, clothing, jewelry, coffee and chocolate.
The Fair Trade movement in northeast Ohio has been grounded in the hard work of non-profit organizations and Fair Trade-only retailers for many years. More recently, it has been advanced by local and national retailers offering Fair Trade certified products and initiatives of local high schools and colleges promoting growth of the Fair Trade market through education and advocacy.
Without counting grocery stores that sell fair trade goods, Northeast Ohio has eight brick-n-mortar fair trade locations including Hudson's own Janet Rhodes Brings You Fair Trade. Located on N. Main Street, the store's focus is building relationships, bringing justice, and promoting spirituality through their fair trade products.
Along with these stores, Northeast Ohio is home to Magnificat High School and John Carroll University, both of whom have joined the fair trade movement.
"John Carroll's Fair Trade initiative is rooted in the hearts of passionate students striving to make fair trade a culture on their campus," commented McKenzae Bartels, a member of John Carroll's Fair Trade Committee.
Not only has the University made strides in providing fair trade products, like coffee and chocolate, throughout their campus, they are also hosting this year's Ohio Fair Trade Expo, the largest regional Fair Trade event in the country.
"This will be the 4th Fair Trade Expo held in Cleveland and includes both international and national keynote speakers, workshops on a variety of issues, a free fair trade marketplace with over 25 vendors, a fashion show, a program for Girl Scouts with hands-on activities, and more," said Expo planning committee coordinator, Ditte Wolin.
The Ohio Fair Trade Expo will be Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. Tickets for the event are $5 for high school and college students and $10 for all others. For more information about the Expo, or Fair Trade in general, go to www.ohiofairtrade.com.