Shop with a conscience at Nov. 22 fair trade festival at Forest Hill Church

Finish your holiday shopping early and feel good about your purchases at the Shop with a Conscience Fair Trade Festival on Sunday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church.

For nearly a decade, Forest Hill Church has hosted Cleveland Heights’s Ten Thousand Villages shop for an annual day of fair trade shopping. Three years ago, it added additional fair trade vendors and opened the event to the public. This year, local artists and craftspeople will be featured as well.

Many people associate fair trade products with coffee and chocolate, but the Shop with a Conscience festival comprises a much wider variety of goods. Ten Thousand Villages offers an assortment of jewelry, scarves, purses, decorations and treasures from around the world. The products are made by artisans in South and East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and adapted to appeal to American consumers.

Another international fair trade company at the festival—Canaan Fair Trade—will offer organic olive oil and other food items produced by more than 1,700 small farmer cooperatives. Its website, www.canaanfairtrade.com, explains how the company's microloans, scholarships, and Trees for Life programs benefit women and small farmers in Palestine.

Handmade ceramic beads and pottery from the Kenyan fair trade company Kazuri will be sold by the Amani Children's Foundation, which raises money to support abandoned infants in Kenya. More information can be found at www.amanichildren.org and www.kazuri.com.

Local businesses and artists will include Golden Goddess Cosmetics, a line of sustainable, organic cosmetics produced and sold by Cleveland Heights resident Ajah Hales.

“Fair trade gifts benefit not only the recipient, but also the people who created the items,” said Rachel Martinez-Finn, a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages and member of Forest Hill Church. “By paying a fair wage, we help provide a better quality of life for people who otherwise could not bring their goods to market.”

Fair trade is not just about breaking the chains of poverty in economically disadvantaged regions. Fair trade also means that no child labor or forced labor is used, and that the goods are produced in safe working conditions using environmentally sustainable resources and practices.

All festival proceeds go directly to the vendors and their fair trade partners. Forest Hill Church is located at 3031 Monticello Blvd., across from Forest Hill Park. For more information, call 216-321-2660, or visit www.fhcpresb.org.

Peg Weissbrod

Peg Weissbrod is the outreach director for Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 10.30.2015