Fair trade brings international wares

Carol Dotson and Sue Collins sell Village Markets of Africa products at the fair trade market. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

INVERNESS – Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church supported international commerce by holding a fair trade market Oct. 8.

Fair trade markets feature products from foreign countries such as countries in Africa and South America. The goal of fair trade markets is to give the most profits to the producers, not middlemen.

Susan Pritchett, the chairperson for the market committee, grew up in Brazil and Peru, so the idea of fair trade is familiar to her.

“Everything has more character than just coming out of the mold,” she said. “Folks in other countries come into co-ops so people don’t take out more cuts.”

In addition to fair trade items, the church’s handbell choir sold handmade wooden nativity and Lenten scenes as a fundraiser for the choir. Bill Moats and his friend, Bart Jones, worked to create eight sets, but sold four during the market and had orders for 15 more.

The market sold coffees, jewelry, home décor and Christmas ornaments. The goods came through SERRV and Village Markets of Africa organizations. In addition to providing funds to the producers, a percentage of the profits will be donated to Three Hots and A Cot, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless veterans.

“Local artisans normally get 10 to 20 percent, but this way, they get closer to 40 or 50 percent,” Sue Collins said. “The church isn’t getting anything from this.”