Fair Trade

So…What exactly is Fair Trade?

When I sat down to answer that question, it didn’t take long for me to realize that there are any number of different definitions for what Fair Trade is and it largely depends on who you ask! I have found statements as simple as “trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries,”  to the definition found on the home page of www.FairTradeUSA.org web site (my personal favorite) which says; “Fair Trade Certified™ products were made with respect to people and planet. Our rigorous social, environmental and economic standards work to promote safe, healthy working conditions, protect the environment, enable transparency, and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses. When you choose products with the Fair Trade label, your day-to-day purchases can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.”

Here at The Outpost and at Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins we believe this also applies to local artists and craftspeople as well. In today’s ever changing world, it is even more important that we all do what we can to support our local artists, stores and businesses.

So here is what Fair Trade is to us…..

Any product made by either a local artisan or imported from certified Fair Trade organizations that promote a healthy and sustainable stewardship of our planet and the people who live on it. One where the Artisans are paid fair wages and work in healthy and positive working conditions while leaving the smallest carbon footprint on this incredible planet we all call home.

Some examples of the locally made and Fair Trade products that we carry are…

  1. Wood products made from trees that have already fallen due to natural causes.
  2. Greeting cards that are handcrafted by young people in Rwanda who have been orphaned by genocide or AIDS. The card makers are all heads of households, responsible for providing for the remaining younger siblings in their family. Cards from Africa pays above-market wages so that the card makers can feed their families and send the younger siblings to school. All the colored papers are made by recycling Rwandan office materials by hand as an expression of environmental stewardship.
  3. Sanctuary Spring is a line of beautiful, fair trade greeting cards handcrafted by women who have escaped prostitution in the Philippines. These women were originally forced into prostitution by others or because they had no other means of providing for their families. Now, they are participating in restoration services provided by local charities in order to forge a new beginning for their lives. With limited job options in the Philippines, Sanctuary Spring is a critical lifeline that provides safe, dignifying, and empowering work.
  4. Leather journal books, carved wooden bowls and handmade soaps & Salves made by Amish folks just across the river in Crittenden County KY
  5. Earth friendly Organic Cotton Finger Puppets and empower women while supporting sustainable agriculture in Peru. Additionally the naturally dyed fibers help preserve traditional knowledge.
  6. Using simple hand chisels and an ancient technique called Pyrography, artists use fire to create the rich shades of browns and black in each natural art piece. The finished artwork is both complex and beautiful, presenting you with a one of a kind piece enriched with a tradition that dates back more than 4,000 years.
  7. All the Timber Ridge Hoodies, Jackets and tank tops are made locally by a family run business called Girls in the Garage in Carrier Mills, IL. Amy has a wonderful policy of only sourcing her raw materials from states that share a border with Illinois thus reducing their carbon foot print and creating jobs right here in southern Illinois where they are so desperately needed!

Take a look at what we have put together so far and click on the “About” tab in each product to see how you are helping people near and far to live better lives. We are always looking for more things to add, so if you have a suggestion, please send us a note, we’d appreciate hearing from you!