Fair trade illuminates middle man

Linda Christman and Anita Uetrecht check out a basket during Petersburg Parish's sixth annual Fair Trade Sale at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Botkins on Saturday. The sale featured certified fair trade food, housewares and crafts from around the world.
Staff Writer

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Botkins was temporarily transformed into a marketplace over the weekend, as the Petersburg Parishes held their sixth annual Fair Trade Sale.

Inside, parishioners and community members alike perused through the variety of artisan crafted housewares, crafts, jewelry, and food, all of which were certified Fair Trade.

Fair Trade “illuminates the middle man” according to Rachel Barber, who is on the parish’s Social Justice Commission.

“It really helps us connect with people overseas who are just trying to make better lives for themselves as farmers, as artisans, and create opportunities for their families,” she added.
Everything for sale was provided by Serrv, a “nonprofit fair trade organization dedicated to lifting disadvantaged artisans, farmers, and their families out of poverty.”
The items came from countries all over the world, including Kenya, Bangladesh, India, Peru, and the Philippines.

On Saturday, Barber explained the importance behind this, and Serrv’s, effort. “(The producers) go beyond being subsistence famers who might have to deal with a multi-national corporation, to having a lot more empowerment with what they grow and how they grow it.”

It also presents buyers with a one-time-only opportunity. “They’re unique. They’re handmade. They’re not going to run into 20 more just like them,” Barber said, while holding a matchbox sized...

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