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  • Rebecca Flach

Cross Culture Market plays role in Fair Trade event

Local Fair Trade supporters, including Cross Culture Market, are planning an event at the Albany School of Humanities (ASH), a City School District of Albany elementary school, on Saturday, April 1 from 10 am to 3 pm. The Global Fair Trade Market is a simple way for the community to join the fight against worldwide poverty.

The market will showcase beautiful handcrafted gifts, housewares, and accessories, as well as specialty foods and coffees. Everything on display meets fair trade standards, meaning the artisans and producers from the developing world were compensated fairly; enjoyed safe, cooperative workplaces; and created their goods using environmentally sustainable practices.

Among the many items for sale will be jewelry, handbags and scarves. Fair trade organizations like Mayan Hands, which helps women in Guatemala create intricate woven goods, will have products featured.

“We want our students to understand the global economy and how every dollar they’ll spend as adults will shape the world they live in,” said ASH Principal Fred Engelhardt, whose school received official designation as a Fair Trade School in 2016. “The Fair Trade Market aligns well with our emphasis on responsible global citizenship.”

Fair Trade Schools is part of a grassroots movement, Fair Trade Campaigns, that engages communities, schools and churches on the issues of global poverty. Schools with the designation must fulfill three goals: assemble a fair trade team; commit to fair trade education by hosting educational events and classroom discussions; and source fair trade products by providing them for sale in the cafeteria, offices and vending machines.

In addition to ASH, students from Siena College's Fair Trade Club will teach kids how to make paper bead bracelets.

Other local businesses are also getting involved. Ben & Jerry's will provide free ice cream sourced for all guests. Honest Weight Food Co-Op will supply free Fair Trade bananas for attendees to take home.

Proceeds from the Global Fair Trade Market at ASH directly support artisans and their families, and are also reinvested back into local communities to support education, health care, nutrition and microloan initiatives. The fair trade movement is a global response to the mass production of goods in the world’s poorest countries, where poverty often forces workers into exploitative and dangerous labor conditions, perpetuated by a worldwide business focus on securing the cheapest prices possible to support the bottom line. Albany School of Humanities is located at 108 Whitehall Road in Albany. Free parking is available. Customers are encouraged to come early for the best selection.

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