Playing Fair on hiatus

The great news is that I recently got offered a position at Lund University for 6 months! Unfortunately that means that the Playing Fair business will be on pause for that time. I thank you all for your support. It has been a wonderful experience, and it has been incredibly fulfilling to work with the Fair Trade community, with the Queensland Fair Trade Collective on the Christmas Markets and other projects.

For people who are interested in supporting other Fair Trade businesses, I recommend checking out Fair Traders of Australia. There are some really wonderful businesses out there with fantastic products that support producers in the developing world and the Principles of Fair Trade.

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Fairtrade Markets in Australia Christmas 2011

Here’s a list of all the upcoming Fair Trade markets I could find for this year. If you know of any others, please leave a comment!

Fair Trade Christmas Market

Western Australia

QLD – Brisbane


Victoria – Melbourne

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Brisbane Fair Trade Christmas Market

It seems that the only time I update this blog is to explain why I have been too busy to update the blog.

Here’s my latest excuse:

You can check out the website for more info: Fair Trade Christmas Market in Brisbane.

And here’s a pic of T at the park:

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I’ve been “guest blogging” :-)

Someones Gotta Pay

One of the great things about this little Fair Trade kidswear venture of mine is that it’s a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and collaborate to spread the word about Fair Trade.

Many thanks to Aimee who has allowed me to guest post at her blog Someone’s Gotta Pay. It’s a great resource for ethical and eco-logical living. You can read the post here.

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End of financial year accounting stuff

Carbon Neutral transport baby

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T & D

Here’s a pic of Master T enjoying the sand with his favourite penguin Dingo.

Fair Trade rainbow hoody

Yep, he called his penguin “Dingo”. Because he’s insane.

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Finding Fair Trade in Australia

Whenever I send out an order, I include a little list of places to go online to find Fairtrade (FLO) products and Fair Trade businesses. Online still is the best place to go for Fair Trade, and I figure that if someone is buying my Fair Trade kidswear, they’ll be interested in supporting other Fair Trade businesses as well. It’s one way to give back to the movement.

Here are my recommendations for finding Fair Trade online in Australia:

  • Fair Trade Directory Australia: This is a pretty useful directory offering free listing to any Fair Trade or sweatshop free business, so you will get the full range of what’s available, not just who can pay for advertising. You can refine by categories children and baby, clothing, food and beverage, general, and gifts.
  • Ecodirectory for Fair Trade Products: Not as large as Fair Trade Directory Australia, but it does seem to be more focussed on the Fair Trade and less on the other kinds of ethical and sweatshop free. Listing here is also free for businesses. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow you to refine by subcategories (e.g. Fair Trade coffee), but then again, the listing descriptions are kept brutally short and to-the-point which makes it easier for users who want to use a text-search (i.e. hit Ctrl-F).
  • FTAANZ Fair Trade Shopping Guide (.pdf): More a catalogue of advertisements than a search directory, this is produced by FTAANZ so you know the
    businesses are legit. It’s worth downloading and skimming through at least once so you can get a sense of what’s available out there.
  • Fairtrade Certified Procurement Guide (pdf): A list of Australian businesses supplying Fairtrade Certified coffee, tea, food and beverage, sportsballs, cotton, and other. The guide is very detailed, for example splitting coffee into roast and ground, instant, and decaf, and includes a section with contact details for each business listed. I’ve put a copy of the main table here.

Some other mentions:

  • Shop Ethical iPhone App lets you know when a company is Fairtrade (thanks Tam!)
  • Fairly Local: An online directory for finding physical stores (no online) offering Fairtrade products. Anyone can submit a shop stocking a Fairtrade product, so this is an interesting exercise in crowd-sourcing the job of finding Fairtrade in our local shops.
  • FTAANZ Fairtrade products database: This is produced by FTAANZ so you know businesses listed here are the real deal. Unfortunately the locator is almost perpetually out-of-service, and indeed a visit at time of posting finds it broken again.

Know of a Fair Trade search directory or resource online for finding Fairtrade Certified and Fair Trade that I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments.

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Note to self: don’t give up, stay motivated

Just how many centuries have we been
waiting for someone else to make us free?

I don’t need good people to pray and wait
For the lord to make it all straight.
There’s only now. Do it right.

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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Ethical Fashion Evening, or where on Earth have you been?

Ethical Fashion EveningFairtrade Fortnight has been over for quite a while, but it has taken me about this long to recover :-) And move house, and deal with Master T’s neverending cold of doom, and make sure we all don’t end up wearing week-old clothes and living off oven-chips.

You can check out a post about the QFTC’s Ethical Fashion Evening here. Suffice to say, it happened, it went brilliantly, I drank too much (perks of being a volunteer I guess!), and a whole heap of young designers and ethical fashion enthusiasts networked and learnt more about Fair Trade and ethical fashion.

The highlight of the evening for me was meeting Cecilia Granadino. Cecilia is from Peru, and she’s the head of MINKA, which was the very first organisation in her country to engage in Fair Trade. She’s also a really lovely wise woman, and we had a long conversation afterwards not just about Fair Trade but about our kids and her grandkids, and about being a Mum and all of that kind of thing. She gave me some insights about the grandmother’s perspective, and now I think I understand why Nonna seems so much more patient with Entropy Boy’s constant noise and insanity than I am.

Cecilia Granadino

I’ve got to tell you, her talk was amazing. If you look carefully at the photo above you’ll see a young guy sitting on the floor looking up at her. I don’t know if you can make out the expression on his face that well from the grainy photo, but he was enraptured. The whole time he was listening to her talk he was looking like that. It was like he was in love; the dude sitting on the floor had fallen in love with our travelling Fair Trade producer from Peru :-) (Sorry dude on the floor, if you ever read this, I actually thought it was kind of sweet). As eco fashion blogger and attendee Jennifer Nini put it “In just a few hours, she made me laugh, she made me (almost) cry but most of all, she made me think”. That’s not just hyperbole; her talk was that good.

Cecilia’s central message was that Fair Trade is important for her people, not just for providing a decent wage and livelihood, but for valuing and harnessing their culture and methods. For MINKA especially Fair Trade is a means for the indigenous people of Peru to make their contribution to the global market and the cultural exchange through trade. Fair Trade empowers people, and that enriches us all.

But I just can’t do her talk justice on this blog; seriously, next Fairtrade Fortnight, do yourself a favour and attend a producer-touring event. It’s one thing to know in the abstract that Fairtrade helps producers earn a decent living and improve their lives blah blah blah BUT when you meet one and hear them talk? Then it’s real. Then you see the face of the person who makes the products, you hear directly from them about the pride they feel at producing the goods and cracking an international market, the importance of someone valuing their traditional techniques … it’s a lot more than just paying people fairly that’s happening here, this is all of the things that trade is meant to be about. This is what trade should be.

You can read more about the Ethical Fashion Evening here.

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Fair Trade – an important piece of the poverty puzzle

Sponsor a child through ActionAid Australia

Fair trade – it’s one of those catchall phrases. We often hear about fair trade clothing or fair trade coffee, and while we know that it is the better option to buy, do we know what it actually means? And how does it fit into the bigger poverty picture?

Fair trade is something that aid organisations such as ActionAid are campaigning for and fighting to achieve, because it is vital in ensuring food security, just governance and the safety and rights of women and children. At the top level, fair trade is about working to make sure trade relationships help, rather than further disadvantage the interests and livelihoods of the poor.

Currently, the World Trade Organisation is dominated by wealthy countries, which means that poorer nations are underrepresented and get the short end of the stick when it comes to trade agreements. The fair trade movement aims to change trade laws to ensure better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for famers and workers in the developing world.

How do trade agreements between a rich and poor country fuel poverty?

Often, the poorer countries are forced into free trade when they go up against first world countries and the global market. Free trade agreements remove the poorer county’s right to use tariffs and quotas to protect its own industries and farms from cheap imports. This problem is compounded when the extra produce produced by first world farmers – who are heavily subsidised by the government – is sold to developing countries at a lower cost. This devalues their products, and perpetuates the trade injustices – free trade is not fair trade!

Fair trade, poverty and food insecurity

Current trade laws do not allow poorer nations to benefit from the potential trade has to lift them out of poverty. Rather than harnessing the power of trade for good, they essentially deprive third world famers from making a fair and proper living.

This, in turn, perpetuates the poverty cycle and food insecurity in third world nations. Trade injustices exasperate world hunger issues, because poorer nations cannot protect their agriculture and people from the unfair subsidies.

What is being done?

For organisations such as ActionAid Australia, fair trade is part of the poverty puzzle and they work to put the issue of hunger on the political agenda. Their global campaigns aim to enforce laws that ensure all people in the world can enjoy their right to food, improve women’s rights to land, make corporations and governments responsible and hold them to their commitment to halve world hunger by 2015.

But trade injustices and poverty are not isolated issues, and ActionAid has a number of initiatives that collectively work towards solving issues of poverty. You can get involved with a number of ActionAid campaigns and programs. Sponsor a child programs, for example, help support and enrich the lives of children who are disadvantaged. Funds go towards supporting the entire community that the child lives in and providing proper education, food and health services. It’s an important way that you can help combat the detrimental effects that trade injustices and food insecurity have on children’s lives and futures. By getting involved, you help raise awareness and support the fight to ensure fair trade and food security and help in the wider fight against poverty.

This post was a guest post from ActionAid Australia

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