All can be fair in business


There’s something different about things that are hand made. Things an artisan took pride in and worked on with skill and with calculation — things that have a story.

Coastal Point • Monica Fleming: These custom pieces of pottery were made by Chilean artists this past March, when Made by Hand International Cooperative owners Kimberly and  Marc Grimes took a trip to see where and how the products were made.Coastal Point • Monica Fleming
These custom pieces of pottery were made by Chilean artists this past March, when Made by Hand International Cooperative owners Kimberly and Marc Grimes took a trip to see where and how the products were made.

When items are bought fairly, by paying the worker a decent wage and making sure that the conditions under which they work are humane and safe, families are lifted up out of poverty. A family that might otherwise be hungry and living on the edge of poverty, which is to many, the core of the world’s problems, can be self-sufficient and have hope.

There is a way people can make sure that these artisans continue to prosper in a world full of things that are made by people who are maybe making a fair wage, maybe not — people that are maybe working in safe conditions, maybe not.

“Bang a drum against poverty” this Saturday, May 9 at Made by Hand International Cooperative in South Bethany to celebrate World Fair Trade Day. Saturday is the 60th annual World Fair Trade Day, a day taken out to focus attention “on the significance of trading fairly with millions of producers, who also happen to be custodians of our ecology.”

“Poverty and climate change are inextricably linked, and Fair Trade has the potential to impact both,” stated representatives from the World fair Trade Organization, formerly known as IFAT, or the International Fair Trade Association, the global network of fair trade organizations.

They explain fair trade organizations as organizations that “have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the principal core of their mission. They, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”

They continue that “fair trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first.”

The second Saturday in May is highlighted for people to organize events all over the world to bring attention to trade and the benefits of it being fair to all involved. Locally, at Made by Hand International Cooperative, there will be live music with lots of drumming, fair trade food and drinks, a Powerpoint presentation running thruought the day with information, and they will focus on some of their newest pottery pieces from a town in Chile, Pomaire.
Coastal Point • Submitted: A Chilean artist from Pomaire works on a pottery piece.Coastal Point • Submitted
A Chilean artist from Pomaire works on a pottery piece.

“Each year we are going to do a new thing and focus on a country,” said Kimberly Grimes of Made by Hand. She and her husband, Marco, were there for the month of March meeting with the artisans and learning more about the town, where the products were made.

“It’s a town of about 4,000 people,” continued Grimes. “They have been doing pottery since the 1600s. About half of them do that and the rest are farmers.”

In addition to the displayed pottery and the international fair trade food and drink samples, local artist John Donato will be outside working and selling his paintings.

The day should be an important day for people, because when things are fair, everything is better, explained Grimes. She added that things seem to be taking a turn as more and more people are becoming aware of how things are made and how that affects all people.

“I firmly believe that if we eradicate poverty, most of the world’s problems will disappear; hopelessness, despair, crime, hunger... You have to get to the root cause, not just the symptoms.”

For more information on other events, or on World fair Trade Day, visit http://www.worldfairtradeday09.org online.