Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Monday, December 30, 2013

What is "Fair Trade"?

Have you ever seen this logo on products that you buy (or perhaps glance past) and wonder what exactly it means? Did you ever wonder why two similar products have such a price discrepancy, the "Fair Trade" product costing a bit more?

This small label represents an international social movement to bring justice to artisans, farmers, and workers across the world, compensating them appropriately for their products and ensuring appropriate working conditions. The Fair Trade Federation defines Fair Trade as:

"...an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system. Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers lack economic opportunity and often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. Fair trade is much more than just trade. At the core of the fair trade model is a direct, cooperative, and in-depth relationship between buyers and sellers that keeps all of the principles of fair trade at the forefront. Fair Trade is about making a tremendous impact on artisan and farmer communities while offering great products to the public."

In many cases, "free trade" (the opposite of "Fair Trade") products are connected to child labor and human trafficking, issues we often discuss at Stowe Center programs. Check out this short video from Fair Trade USA which shows how small purchasing decisions can make a world of difference.

To learn more about the Fair Trade movement and ways you can take action, we recommend visiting Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade Federation. The Huffington Post also published an article by Christine Prois this past October, "7 Things to Know About Fair Trade," which sheds great light on the realities of free trade products and what Fair Trade purchases accomplish.

Purchasing Fair Trade products is an easy way to make a difference and take action on human trafficking and human rights worldwide. So the next time you see two similar products, one a few dollars more but stamped "Fair Trade Certified," which will you purchase?  

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