FAIR TRADE & HANDMADE
Fair Trade is a revolutionary concept of economic justice put into action. The general idea is that people should be fairly compensated for their work. The Fellowship supports Fair Trade in several ways. Watch a short video about the difference we help make by clicking here.
Since 2002, we have been participating in the Interfaith Program of a very special fair trade coffee company called Equal Exchange. It is the only coffee we serve during the coffee hour following the Sunday service.
Equal Exchange is a for-profit Fairtrade worker-owned, cooperative headquartered in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Equal Exchange distributes organic, gourmet coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, and chocolate bars produced by farmer cooperatives in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Founded in 1986, it is the oldest and largest Fair Trade coffee company in the United States. Dedicated to concepts of economic justice, the highest paid employee of Equal Exchange may not make more than four times what the lowest paid employee receives.
Essentially, Equal Exchange brings together the producer and the consumer in an equitable and meaningful way. The middleman (in the case of coffee, called Coyotes), and establishes a more direct connection between the producer and consumer.
During Third Sunday Lunches and often near holidays, we sell selected Equal Exchange products, including coffee, teas and chocolate. The proceeds from product sales actually funds the coffee we all enjoy on Sunday morning. And, we're be promoting justice with every cup!
FAIR TRADE BAZAAR
For more than a decade now, the Fellowship has also participated, with other local faith communities, through the auspices of the Dutchess County Interfaith Council, in a weekend-long Fair Trade Bazaar. The Bazaar, a spiritual and ethical shopping experience, is one way of helping people become socially and economically aware of the origins of their goods, and the fact that buying something cheaply often means that the labor force responsible for its production was unfairly compensated.
Since 2008, the Bazaar has been held at the Aula on the beautiful campus of Vassar College. A bright, sunny space, the Aula becomes an international market place with wonderful crafts, fabulous food, amazing live music and a sense of community around common purpose that is inspiring.