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For the socially conscious shopper or gift recipient, consider giving your business to organizations that operate according to Fair Trade criteria. Fair Trade means an equitable and fair partnership between marketers in North America and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world. A fair trade partnership works to provide low-income artisans and farmers with a living wage for their work.
fair trade gifts

Why Fair Trade? Our consumer spending choices affect people's lives around the world. The products we enjoy are often made in conditions that harm workers, communities and the environment. In today's world economy, where profits rule and small-scale producers are left out of the bargaining process, farmers, craft producers, and other workers are often left without resources or hope for their future. Fair Trade helps exploited producers escape from this cycle and gives them a way to maintain their traditional lifestyles with dignity.

Fair Trade products: Fair Trade encompasses a wide range of goods, from agricultural products like coffee, chocolate, sugar and tea, to handcrafts like clothing and jewellery, household items (soaps, dishes, baskets, etc.), and decorative arts. Fair Trade food products can be identified by the "Fair Trade Certified" label or the Fair Trade Federation logo on a product. As a gift idea, consider filling a hand-woven basket with a selection of Fair Trade coffees, teas, chocolate and cocoa mixes.

Where to find them: Grocery co-ops and natural foods stores are the best places to find Fair Trade coffee and chocolate. There are also a growing number of Fair Trade retail stores and online vendors that stock only fairly traded goods in direct partnership with the artisans. The following is a sampling of sites where you can buy Fair Trade products and find more information about Fair Trade:

- Ten Thousand Villages (a non-profit, self-supporting Alternative Trading Organization)
- World of Good (ethically sourced gifts, housewares & accessories)
- Global Exchange
- Global Crafts