Tag: fair trade

Annual Lawrence University Alternative Giving Fair Offers Humanitarian Gifts, Hope

Shoppers can get a head start on their holiday gift giving Sunday, Nov. 7 at Lawrence University’s fourth annual alternative giving fair in the Warch Campus Center. The fair, which runs from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The fair features a marketplace of booths with more than two dozen opportunities to support grassroots organizations involved in humanitarian projects around the world through the “purchase” of alternative/nontraditional “gifts.” Shoppers can donate to organizations involved in a wide range of projects that provide meals for children in Indonesia, medical supplies for children’s hospital in Kenya or solar-powered computers for a rural school in Honduras.

Cards with inserts that describe the cause the shopper chooses will be available so that the purchaser can present them to family and friends in the form of an “alternative gift” for the holidays.

“The alternative giving fair is designed to get the holiday season off to a hopeful and positive start,” said Laura Streyle, president of the organization Students Working Against Hunger and Poverty (SWAHP), which is sponsoring the event. “The amount of collaboration across campus and between Lawrence and the Fox Valley community to nurture the fair will hopefully provide satisfying fruit for all who attend.”

The fair also features tangible gifts hand-crafted by artisans in developing countries such as baskets, jewelry, scarves and hand bags provided by Globally Sound as well as other fair trade items. Live music will be performed by Lawrence students throughout the day and refreshments will be available.

Ethiopian Farmer Discusses Worldwide Coffee Crisis in Lawrence University Address

Tadesse Meskela, a coffee farmer from Ethiopia, discusses the crisis facing coffee farmers around the world and the economic benefits of the Fair Trade system Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence University Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.

Raised in an impoverished coffee-growing region of Ethiopia, Meskela experienced first-hand the low prices many coffee farmers received for their harvest because they were often forced to sell their beans to middlemen. In 1994, Meskela began organizing different Ethiopian coffee cooperatives in an effort to collectively improve their earnings.

By 1999, he had formed the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. Two years later, Meskela helped one-third of the union’s members become part of the international Fair Trade system, a global partnership that seeks equity in international trade. Fair Trade coffee guarantees farmers a minimum price of $1.26 per pound, which provides them with a living wage for their harvests.

In 2000, 165 million pounds of Fair Trade certified coffee were produced by more than 500,000 farmers in 22 countries, but only 30 million pounds were sold at Fair Trade prices. In recent years, prices paid to coffee farmers have dropped in half, falling to less than 50 cents per pound. Coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity, trailing only petroleum. Eight out of 10 Americans drink coffee daily.

In February of this year, Lawrence became one of the first colleges in the Midwest to begin offering “triple-certified” coffee at the coffeehouse in the Memorial Union. Triple-certified indicates that the coffee has Fair Trade certification, it is certified organic and the beans are shade grown.

Meskela’s appearance is sponsored by Global Exchange, an international human rights group.