Here in the first world we take our bananas, chocolate and coffee (oh yes, especially our coffee!) for granted. But many people in other countries are not so lucky. Each day, tens of thousands of people in various Asian, African and South American countries—men, women and even children—work themselves to the bone in unbearable conditions for pennies so we can continue to enjoy the things we love.

The Fair Trade movement seeks to level the playing field for workers around the world, ensuring that everyone enjoys decent wages and working conditions, regardless of where they live. Other principles of the Fair Trade movement: no child or forced labor, environmental sustainability, workplace non-discrimination, and investment in community development projects.

Set on the second Saturday of May each year since 2004, World Fair Trade Day is a global event designed to draw attention to the objectives of the Fair Trade movement.  This is a great time to consider choosing Fair Trade alternatives for some of your favorite products.

How Do I Shop Fair Trade?
More than just chocolate, coffee and bananas, the Fair Trade designation can refer to any of the following:
* a variety of agricultural and handcrafted goods, including baskets
* clothing
* cotton
* coconuts
* home and kitchen decor
* jewelry
* rice
* soap
* tea
* toys
* wine

How Do You Know If It’s Really Fair Trade? 
There are different third-party certifications for Fair Trade products. Depending on the certification, they may inspect fields, processing plants, and sometimes trading operations to ensure fair trade standards are met. Check the websites of your favorite fair trade brands to learn more about what they are doing to empower workers to organize and tend to what matters the most to them (and to us!): their families, their communities and the environment.

Today, in honor of World Fair Trade Day (and why not make it the rest of the month?), choose products from some of our favorite Fair Trade brands committed to working with small-scale farmers within the framework of the Fair Trade movement. TheoDr. Bronner’s, Alter Eco, Alaffia and Guayaki are all ON SALE this month at Rising Tide Market.

Happy World Fair Trade Day!