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April 2024 - Earth Month

Happy Earth Month, everyone! As we welcome Spring here in the store with all sorts of flowery, earthy items, I’m reminded of all the ways in which fair trade contributes to conservation and sustainability by working directly with farmers and artisans. This month’s blog post is all about sustainability, our environment, and how fair trade aims to take care of our planet!

From developing ways they water the soil, to the kinds of agrochemicals used to keep crops safe, small-scale fair trade farmers have the environment on their mind each step of the way. About 30% of fair trade producer organizations invest their community premiums into environmental initiatives, such as becoming certified organic. Being certified fair trade and organic means that farmers are taking extra care in protecting their environment by not spraying harmful pesticides on their crops and not overwatering their soil. By not doing so, the land will yield much better crops without endangering people or their animals. Farms that do not use harmful agrochemicals are also able to allow their livestock to graze much closer to crops and are able to plant different crops closer together. Fair trade premiums also allow for farmers to purchase more environmentally friendly equipment, as well as to pay for things like environmental education, evaluations, and training so that they know just how sustainable their practices are and how they can improve. 


Fair trade standards allow for farmers to learn new ways of adapting to climate change while pushing against harmful practices created by the capitalistic need to overproduce and exploit our land for resources. Farmers often fight against deforestation by learning how to plant crops without chopping down trees or by also planting tree nurseries on their lands. Some use crop rotation, agroforestry and sustainable irrigation techniques to keep the soil healthy and full of nutrients. Using these sustainable farming techniques and fighting against deforestation directly contributes to making a healthier planet, as deforestation contributes 10-11% of global greenhouse gas emissions.


One of the key principles of fair trade is to respect the environment. In order to do so, you’ll find that many fair trade products are either made with recyclable materials or are packaged in recyclable materials. Here at Bull City Fair Trade, there are many items that are made up of entirely recycled materials–from tires, sari fabric, and cotton paper, all the way to elephant dung. Using recyclable materials to make beautiful items like scarves, bags, and wall hangings creates jobs for people who would otherwise be exploited in working conditions not sustainable for long, healthy lives. Respecting the environment also means respecting our neighbors and ourselves, which is why it is so important that we take care of the Earth that we have here today. Below are some examples of ways that our vendors are working to help our planet!


Ethical Global


Photo credit: Ethical Global. Shop our Ethical Global products here.

Though all of Ethical Global’s products are made from recycled and repurposed materials, their body brushes are simply next level. Registered with The Vegan Society, these brushes are made from all natural materials including sisal and jute fibers. Using these 100% natural materials is a surefire way to know that your body isn’t being harmed by plastics or harmful chemicals, and neither is our planet.


ZenZen


Photo credit: ZenZen. Shop our ZenZen products here.

ZenZen and its artisans are all about sustainability and being eco-conscious. They work closely with artisans in Indonesia to not only create beautiful products such as the naturally-dyed oven mitt pictured above, but to also help the artisans and their communities engage in conservation, sustainable development, and organic farming. They also ethically source capiz (an oyster shell) in order to make beautiful chimes and kitchen utensils!


Eco Lips

Photo credit: Eco Lips. Shop our Eco Lips products here.

Eco Lips has a large range of products dedicated to your skin! From SPF30 lip balms to vegan chapsticks made without beeswax, this brand is all about your comfort and the planet’s. Eco Lips uses plastic-free packaging for their lip products in the form of Plant Pods, which are made entirely from reclaimed farm byproducts which would have been burned, offsetting the carbon footprints of many farms around the world. These pods are 100% compostable and biodegradable!