In honor of Fair Trade Month, Carolyn Lief reflects on the significance of the Fair Trade Movement. Carolyn is a longtime parishioner and active member of our Family Ministry Network and Simpler Living, the Cathedral’s Creation Care ministry.
As a Christian I believe that God wants everyone to have a life in which they can grow and flourish. The Bible asks us to do justice. To me, justice means that a person should be paid fairly for her work. A child should be able to go to school and have nourishing meals and health care. People who own Fair Trade certified cacao plantations agree that they will not use children for their labor. Workers are paid a wage they need to feed themselves and their families. These families, even if they live on the other side of the world, are our neighbors and Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as we do ourselves. When I buy Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, tea, or other products, I am contributing to a healthy life for my “neighbor”.
On September 4, a group of families visited Mission Heights Chocolates on Midway Drive where we sampled and made Fair Trade chocolate for ourselves. Children of all ages learned about the significance of the Fair Trade Movement. We bought some of the store’s chocolate products thereby enabling the owner to pay a just price for the Fair Trade chocolate she uses, and that money goes to the families who work on the cacao plantations. They get a bonus, too, which they may use to build a school or health clinic.
This month in particular, please consider swapping your coffee, chocolate, bananas, and other purchases for Fair Trade Alternatives. Click here to view some easy swaps you can make today! Please support our gracious hosts at Mission Heights Chocolates in their mission to create artisan, ethical chocolate.