Fair Trade Month promotes human dignity

Nicaraguan women sort coffee beans on a conveyor belt under Catholic Relief Services' fair trade project. (Courtesy of Catholic Relief Services)

Nicaraguan women sort coffee beans on a conveyor belt under Catholic Relief Services' fair trade project. (Courtesy of Catholic Relief Services)

October is Fair Trade Month.

It’s a month set aside to stress the importance of human dignity in the production of goods and services while promoting the diversity of products available from around the world.

“Fair Trade Month is a way to respond to the call of our faith to respect the dignity of people in other countries,” Jill Rauh, outreach coordinator in the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Catholic News Service.

Fair trade allows workers to receive a fair wage for their labor, she said.

“When we support fair trade we are allowing our purchasing power to support people who have been paid a fair wage,” Rauh said. “We’re supporting local communities.”

The campaign to promote fairly traded goods truly is a grass-roots effort. There are no big advertising budgets and no glossy ads to influence people to support farmers, artists and craft makers in developing countries.

Instead, parishes and local justice organizations promote fair trade through small craft fairs and by setting up information tables at conferences and other gatherings. Such events showcase the unique talents of local people.

Catholic Relief Services offers a host of resources on fairly traded products. Other online resources include the aptly named Fair Trade Month site and Fair Trade Towns USA.

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