Fair Trade: What Does It Mean?

I never understood what Fair Trade meant. I assume that it means something good but what does Fair Trade really mean? How can I trust that it’s really ‘fair”? If it is more expensive, is it worth the extra money? How do I know that you aren’t just ripping me off and calling it “fair”?

I started with the article of inspiration for the post from Martha Stewart Living. According to Martha Stewart, our trusted adviser of all things earthly, Fair Trade simply means that “farmers who grew the food received a fair price for it”. (1) Seems simple right? Well, I guess that I would feel good about that if I knew that the farmers were from the U.S. making a comparable wage and had comparable living conditions but chances are they are from third world countries and are selling coffee beans or bananas to support their entire family. So needless to say, I wasn’t completely satisfied with that answer.

I consulted a trusted source, The Good Human.  I have referenced him a few times in other posts regarding toxic chemicals and organic fruits etc. He had a really interesting article that helped narrow it down. He said that fair trade is much more than a fair price as it “promotes standards for fair labor standards, environmentalism, social policy, fair pricing, and community development”. (2) If you are interested, click on the link above to read his article about Fair Trade and certification standards etc.

Conclusion: Buying fair trade promotes the community in which these farmers live stimulating their economy and ensuring better environmental practices. Now that seems like a good idea to me!

Resources: 1) Martha Stewart Magazine. January 2010: page 101. Web link: http://www.wholeliving.com/article/fresh-thinking-how-to-shop-for-fruits-and-vegetables?page=6

2) What Does Fair Trade Certified Mean. The Good Human. February 4, 2010. http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2010/02/04/what-does-fair-trade-certified-mean/


  1. Fair Trade Goods are increasingly popular in Westernised societies because there is increasing awareness that we in the West are able to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Unfortunatlely, the global recession has led to people watching there purse strings a little more and fair trade has suffered as a result.

    • Unfortunately, I am included on the purse string tug. However, I cast me vote every time I go to the market by choosing organic and fair trade items because it is worth the price. I am glad that I started looking into it more to make a more informed decision regarding the value in fair trade goods. Thank you for reading and I hope that you return to my page. Every once in a while I will post “green” living tips.

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