In conventional trade and commerce, small handicraft producers sell their crafts for peanuts to aggregators who supply tourist or foreign markets and turn carefully crafted products into commodities. Similarly, small farmers, who produce coffee, cacao, or other cash crops, have traditionally been victimized by commercial buyers who monopolize purchasing and pricing in a “take it, or leave it” world. Alternative trade organizations, in solidarity with farming and handicraft communities, offer an alternative trade paradigm. This paradigm involves long-term, direct, respectful trade partnerships that promote global solidarity. Local churches and national faith-based organizations are active and critical partners in these projects. Come hear stories of how these projects have changed lives, how you can start a project in your own faith community, and other ways you can get involved in promoting an alternative trade vision that serves the most vulnerable.
Peter Buck, Equal Exchange; Eliza Strode, A Thread of Hope Guatemalan Fair Trade; Moderator: Catherine Gordon, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)