Ten Thousand Villages by Pastor Cameron Kaufman-Frey
Tainted milk in China has people talking. Usually the average person doesn't think much about international trade. But lately we've heard news, particularly from China, of tainted milk. This follows reports earlier this year unsafe toys. Suddenly we begin to wonder about products that come from overseas.
We in Ontario has also seen that trade can mean a loss of jobs. Our manufacturers are struggling to compete with low wages overseas. Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have disappeared. And many of the factories that now make the goods we buy are paying wages that aren't enough for their workers to survive on.
It's unfortunate if we think of trade in such a negative light. Exporting and importing goods around the world could do a lot to improve the lives of everyone. With this in mind, people of good will are becoming aware of the practice of “Fair Trade.”
Fair Trade could be called “trade with a conscience.” Instead of looking only at profit, fair trade organisations seek to ensure that products are produced in safe, sustainable ways and that prices will provide a living wage for all those involved in producing consumer goods.
Our congregation has discussed Fair Trade. Some of us are concerned with its limitations but all of us are pleased with its effects on the lives of hard working people. While it can't solve all the inequities in the world, it does make a difference for thousands of people. On the first weekend in October at the
Markham Fair, we will be joining other Mennonite churches in our area in selling Fair Trade goods from Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is one of the oldest and best known fair trade
organisations in North America. It sells crafts and food from around the world, winning awards for the positive role it has played in improving the lives of artisans in impoverished regions.