Although Orange City may be small compared to other cities, it is overflowing with heart. That same heart is put on display daily at businesses like the Old Factory and Hands Around the World.
Fair Trade is a nonprofit organization that helps farmers and small business owners from other companies, who may have been exploited for their goods, or services, get on their feet, and help their businesses flourish by making sure they are justly compensated with a living wage for their work. There are thousands of businesses all around the globe that are victimized by underpay.
The Fair Trade’s website reads, “Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.”
Orange City has worked hard to bring fair trade practices to its community. There are two business in the Orange City/Alton area that support and participate in Fair Trade. The Old Factory, and Hands Around the World, a store that sells cultural items from various countries. The Old factory gets their coffee beans through Duluth Coffee Company in Minnesota, who gets their product via Fair Trade. A statement made on their website says this;
“Every day we strive to understand the origins of the coffees we offer. As we grow our connections with exporters, importers and farmers becomes stronger giving us the transparency we need to offer the finest coffees possible.”
Margo Vanderhill, the store manager at Hands Around the World, said that the store has been partnering with Fair Trade for 24 years this past October, and the organization’s values line up with those of Hands Around the World.
“Fair Trade is at the heart of our mission,” said Vanderhill.
The Fair Trade’s website says that in order to improve living and working conditions for farmers and workers that their environment must also be clean and healthy. Vanderhill agreed.
“Fair Trade is very adamant about taking care of the environment which we also support”, said Vanderhill.
Hands Around the World sells all kinds of products, from dishes, and kitchenware, to chocolate bars, and candy, all of which having some involvement with Fair Trade. Though it may seem to be insignificant, Vanderhill believes that “even buying things like candy bars is a moral choice,” in regards to supporting the work of Fair Trade.
Larger businesses that can more than afford to pay these individuals, settle for cheap labor, but this hinders families from being able to support themselves and take care of themselves. The Fair Trade organization supports 1.2 million farmers and their families in 70 different countries. Even though those farmers and workers aren’t treated equally, Fair Trade as no problem with standing in the gap for them.
For more information on Fair Trade and how it works, visit fairtradeusa.org