Fair Trade Visitors

At fourth annual Women and Fair Trade Craft Sale, holiday shoppers are invited to learn about fair trade, and to support local and foreign women's organizations affected by immigration

Fair Trade Visitors

Josefina Castillo of the American Friends Service Committee and other members of the Texas Fair Trade Coalition don't have anything against saving money. They just want you to be aware of the real cost of cheap products and who is paying the price for that great sale. This weekend, holiday shoppers are invited to learn about fair trade in a casual environment, and to support local and foreign women's organizations affected by immigration, at the fourth annual Women and Fair Trade Craft Sale.

Billed as a "Celebration of Fair Trade," this year's event follows a unanimous June 21 decision by City Council to pass a "sweat free" ordinance – the first such ordinance in Texas but joining 170 government bodies across the nation enacting similar sweat-free resolutions. According to the coalition website, the Procurement Code for Humane Work­place Conditions means the city of Austin will not buy goods or services from suppliers who benefit from practices that exploit workers. But putting the ordinance into practice is quite another thing. Castillo says the coalition is devising a plan to make certain the ordinance is enforced.

Among the seven vendors attending the Fair Trade Sale are Las Bordadoras Unidas de la Cuenca del Gusano (United Embroider­ers of El Gusano) from Guana­jua­to, Mexico. The second-largest state in Mexico is also the site of the largest expulsion of mostly male immigrants, leaving those remaining in the agriculturally depressed region with little work to support their families. The Borda­dor­as came together to share resources and get their handiwork – painstakingly created, eye-catching embroidery and textile art – to a larger audience, bypassing the corporate intermediary that typically ignores labor rights.

Events include a fashion show featuring local Texas Fair Trade Coalition supporters, live music, a special screening of Micha X. Peled's documentary China Blue, a discussion on fair trade, and an opportunity to learn about the various vendors and how globalization has affected them; 10% of the proceeds go to the AFSC to support future fair-trade sales. Call 474-2399 for more information.

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