This program was made possible with financial support of the Government of Manitoba,
and was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
Posted September 16th 2010
There is an emerging trend in our society to view our support of trade as either “global” or “local”—a dichotomy that may not necessarily be accurate when we ask: What is fair trade? Does it refer only to products traded from the Global South that are approved by a fair trade labelling organization? Or can it also apply more broadly to sustainably-produced goods whose producer is being fairly compensated for their labour? At the Harvest Moon Festival, held September 17th-19th in Clearwater, Manitoba, both global and local are celebrated through the “Fair Trade Fair”. The Fair will be held from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, September 18th, and will feature internationally-traded and locally-produced goods, with the aim of raising awareness about fair trade and providing a way for festival-goers to participate in a system that supports these vendors! This fits with the Harvest Moon Festival’s goal of supporting sustainable, local food production and rural communities, who are largely struggling to be heard in a quickly-changing world market—but also acknowledges the parallel lives of small-scale producers in the Global South, many of whom are also struggling to make ends meet.
Ivan Sotelo Celestino, one of the Fair Trade Fair’s vendors, has experienced both of these worlds. A traditional and indigenous artisan who makes silver and filigree jewellery under the name Inti Pacha, Ivan arrived in Canada from the Andes region of Peru two years ago. His beautiful pieces are hand-tooled, woven and carved, which are skills that run in his family of artisans, and he now spends much time and energy collecting his own materials from here in Manitoba. Though Ivan is well-received at the many markets and festivals where he sells his jewellery, he states that it is difficult for an artisan to find a local market outside of these events. “It’s a matter of access,” he remarks, “We need more venues for local and fair trade importers to show and sell their work. Where I am from, there are permanent markets in each neighbourhood, and people are always buying from their neighbours.”
This is a message often heard by Joanne Hildebrand, who has been involved with Ten Thousand Villages in Brandon for almost 20 years. Many recognize Ten Thousand Villages as one of the largest Canadian outlets for fairly and directly-traded products from the Global South. Joanne notes the generosity of Manitobans in donating to disaster relief in the Global South, but also hopes that people can see the value in buying fair trade products to engage in a sustained support of families in the Global South. This was confirmed for her when she saw first-hand the importance of fair trade to a women’s multipurpose cooperative in the Philippines, through a Ten Thousand Villages Learning Tour.
What about local fair trade producers? Jaclyn Marquis is a seamstress from St. Pierre-Jolys who created her own clothing line, Arbutus Clothing three years ago. She uses recycled and reclaimed fabrics in all of her products. Megan Jonk, from Winnipeg, is another local vendor who has recently started making her own jewellery with recycled silver wear, leather, feathers and beads. She notes that it is often difficult to source all of her supplies from fair trade sources, but like Jaclyn, she appreciates the support she receives from buyers in contributing to her business and the local economy in general. Jaclyn’s comment mirrors Ivan’s when she says, “There is just nothing better than supporting your friends and neighbours!”
Please come out and support these four vendors and more—coming from Winnipeg, Brandon, Morden, Inglis, Killarney and Holland—at the Fair Trade Fair this weekend, and enjoy the great music, workshops and beautiful town of Clearwater offered by the Harvest Moon Festival! Other products will include hand-made drums, beeswax candles and honey, handcrafted purses and sweaters, handmade juggling sticks, aromatherapy products, quilts, traditional Karen (Burma) weavings, mitts, hats and maple syrup!
Fair Trade Manitoba will also have a display, highlighting other fair trade initiatives and opportunities in Manitoba. We hope to see you there!
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on any of the Manitoba products or vendors listed above.
To find out more about the Harvest Moon Festival and Harvest Moon Society, go to: