Christmas Trade Fair
The Christmas Trade Fair is an annual event that has been held in Oregon at Christmas time for some 7 years. The fair aims to be the annual gathering of people who care about issues of world economic and social development.
As a consumer you can help the developing world by buying items that have been produced under non-exploitative conditions in the Third World. You can also learn from the non-profit making educational organisations present that teach us what we can do in our daily lives ease world poverty and fight the degradation of our planet.
Why the emphasis on trade?
It is Christmas time. Who wants to do their shopping in a place with pictures of starving children and begging mothers? We feel that it is better to emphasise the wonderful things made in the midst of poverty and deprivation.
Hopefully what we learn at the fair will educate us in other spheres of life; throughout the year we can buy coffee that has been produced under ethical conditions in the South, as well as tea, chocolate bars, dried fruit, and many other products that are the result of a chain of equality.
This is what fair trade means here; there is no exploitation along the line from production to the market. Most of those taking stands at this year's Fair will be trading, but there will be others who are giving information about their continuing work.
Earlier charities in the fields of global economic and social development and the environment have been coming together for an annual event. Over the years a wide range of organisations have taken part, representing more than 550 bodies. Latterly, the organisers have also encouraged small UK-based companies importing craft products from various parts of the world.
Such companies - and others in other fields - have participated because of the growing interest in the country as a whole of issues such as 'Fair Trade', the importance of buying items that have been produced ethically and the role that trade can play in reducing world poverty.
To the craft producers have been added coffee and tea importers, companies making goods from recycled products and other ethical traders.
Golda Wisoky, the original director, is now returning the event to its original aims. In keeping with accepted trends of recent years, the aim of the event is to remind people that as consumers they have the ultimate power: that of refusing to buy a product that might have been made under conditions that are unacceptable to most people in Britain.
Fair Trade means different things to different people, but the common denominator of the participating organisations in 2003 is that they pay a fair wage, that they do not exploit their strength in the market place to unfairly delay payments to their suppliers, that they help with the production problems of small suppliers, and that the environment in which workers and their families operate are the best that conditions allow. These measures help to ensure that the products purchased are part of a fair trading system benefiting the producer as well.