Posts Tagged ‘fair trade’

Sanctuary Spring: Cards That Make a Difference

Photo: Sanctuary Spring

You’ve already sent and received your December holiday cards this year (unless you’re like me and moved and still haven’t unpacked or found the box with cards…or the address book), but greeting cards are perennial, and in the United States we spend about $13 billion per year on cards (perhaps one of the last things keeping the post office running). They are meaningful as they commemorate birthdays and anniversaries, retirement, new job, the passing of a loved one, graduation, fathers/mothers/grandparents/secretaries day, thanks, thinking of you, love and loss and light all summed up and acknowledged on a folded piece of heavy-stock paper. Now you can add an entire new layer of meaning by helping a woman rebuild her life when you obtain your cards from Sanctuary Spring.

Batik Card: Sanctuary Spring

The card-making company exclusively employs women in the Philippines who are escaping prostitution. Some were forced or tricked into the sex trade, some turned there when all other options seemed hopeless, but every one of them is looking for a new beginning, and finding it working for this organization. Your purchase of these fair-trade cards helps sustain programs to assist the women in the program while also providing a living wage so they can care for their families and provide food and education. The cards themselves are beautiful with handmade recycled papers and vibrant colors, some are humorous, some elegant, some bold, some understated–you’ll find what you’re looking for when you shop online, here. And more importantly, you’ll help women find what THEY are looking for as well, a turn in the road of life.


Who on your holiday shopping list needs a little infusion of funky colorful style with an international vibe?

Hand-crafted with needles and imigwegwe plant threads by the women of Covanya cooperative in Rwanda, the versatile Indego Africa Plateau Basket adds a vibrant African flourish to your home or office decor. These fair trade African baskets require great skill and up to seven days to weave. With each purchase you empower strong African women to lift themselves out of poverty: 100% of profits are returned to the artisans for training in long-term skills.

IndegoAfrica also has a range of other artisan-created products from yoga bags to laptop sleeves, plus bracelets, coasters, and ornaments.

Giving while giving back–it’s the most important recipe for the holidays.

Holiday Shopping

SO here we are…Black Friday…the day you’re supposed to go out, fight through traffic and crowds, elbow your way to sale tables, and consume consume consume. And don’t get me wrong, finding wonderful, thoughtful gifts for loved ones is a beautiful thing.

My immediate family decided many years ago to stop buying winter holiday gifts for one another. There had been a few too many sweaters that got relegated to the back of the closet or housewares that were close to a design theme but not quite something any of us would pick for ourselves. Instead of shipping cross country boxes of almost good gifts or close but no cigar gadgets and gizmos, we began to give donations to our own favorite charities in one another’s name. We then send a simple card, letting the family know what good causes will benefit this year. Some have been consistent, giving to the same charities each year, and some of us mix it up each year, but since we are all lucky and blessed and have enough stuff, it actually seems more in-line with the spirit of the season to give to those who have greater need.

This may not be a solution for you, and that’s neither good nor bad, it is just a way to think about it all. My mom still sends along “stocking” stuffer gifts, and I feel good about sending my nephew things I think are funky or fun, but the excess is trimmed, and I like the way that feels.

However, if you have shopping to do, and most of us do, maybe there are some creative shopping options where a portion of your purchase price can go to a non-profit organization, or maybe you buy two of such-and-such a toy or game and donate one to a shelter or other program for needy kids, or drop off a bag of toys and food to an animal shelter while you’re out making merry…

I’ll also, as the next month wears on, occasionally suggest some shopping ideas I think bear considering—organizations that give back. For instance, Global Sistergoods, an online resource that “brings you the finest in fair trade, eco-friendly, and handmade gifts, jewelry, handbags, accessories, children’s clothing and toys, baskets, and home decor items. All of their fair trade products are made by women from around the world, and offer the high quality and one-of-a-kind feel that today’s socially responsible customer demands. Each fair trade product is as unique as the woman who makes it, and each purchase helps women throughout the world earn a living wage and build beautiful, thriving communities.” You can shop by country or by searching on category of gift, knowing that you are supporting local artisans and putting economic nourishment into developing communities.

Now THAT works.

November 13,14,15 Green Festival


If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, grab your calendar and make a date for this weekend’s San Francisco Green Festival November 13-15. The event is each day from noon until 7PM at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center.

Your day at the fest will be like a walk through a sustainable community. The organization describes it like this: “It begins with finding solutions to help make our lives healthier—socially, economically, and environmentally. Individuals along with business and community leaders come together to discuss critical issues that impact us at home and abroad. Organizations and businesses showcase programs and products that restore the planet and all that inhabit it. Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are formed, and skills are shared to empower people to create positive change in the world.

Join us at the nation’s premier sustainability event, where you will see the best in green. Enjoy more than 125 renowned authors, leaders, and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; fun activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine; and diverse live music. Shop in our unique marketplace of more than 350 eco-friendly businesses—everything from all-natural body care products and organic cotton clothing to Fair Trade gifts and beautiful kitchen tiles made from renewable resources.

See the most recent developments in renewable energy and green technology; sample Fair Trade chocolate and coffee (yes, they really do taste better); and learn how to invest in your community, green your home and avoid products made in sweatshops.

  • Green Festival is the largest sustainability event in the world and continues to grow year after year. Click here to learn more.
  • Green Festival is the only green event that screens exhibitors for their commitment to sustainability, ecological balance and social justice using Green America’s green business standards. Click here to learn more.
  • Green Festival offsets 100% of its electricity emissions with clean, renewable energy. Click here to learn more.
  • Green Festival walks its talk: each year it gets closer to being a zero-waste event. Click here to learn more.