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May 2024 - AAPI Heritage Month

Happy Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! As the days get longer and warmer, we want to express our appreciation to all the AAPI farmers and artisans who create the most beautiful capiz animals, cute koala dryer balls, stunning jewelry, and more. Let’s delve into how fair trade uplifts Asian and Pacific Islander communities while celebrating their cultures!

If you’ve ever been to Bull City Fair Trade and looked around the store, you probably know that a lot of our products are made in Asia! We’re proud to have countries like Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, and many others represented in the store. Thanks to the guiding principles of fair trade, we are able to carry all sorts of unique products which help disrupt the cycle of poverty in the communities they came from. 

One of the principles of fair trade is to respect people’s cultural identity. This means knowing that the ways in which artisans create and practice their craft is culturally significant and should not be altered so that traditions can be preserved. In 1984, Ganesh Himal was founded by working with Nepali refugee artisans who now make felted dryer balls and pieces of clothing using traditional techniques. We love having products made by Nepali artisans because they are made in ways that have been passed down from generation to generation!

With sustainability and respect for the environment being one of fair trade’s most important principles, we are happy to have so many things made by Asian artisans that consist of recycled and repurposed materials. Lumago Designs works with artisans in the Philippines to make beautiful jewelry made from paper beads, discarded clothing, magazines, and polished pull-tabs from cans. This organization came to be after a typhoon devastated a community in the Philippines, which led to a group of women needing to find new ways to make an income. Using materials that would otherwise pollute their environment to make jewelry not only helps to preserve our planet but also creates jobs for marginalized women in the Philippines.

Supporting and uplifting marginalized people in order to disrupt the cycle of poverty is imperative to the functioning of fair trade. Matr Boomie was born out of the necessity for such an initiative in India, as its founder recognized the amount of material poverty in rural India. Indian culture is so rich and vibrant, and Matr Boomie celebrates that culture with beautifully made jewelry, hair accessories, picture frames, and more. Matr Boomie works with over 1,000 artisans in 40 different communities in India to help women gain financial independence and develop their communities into places where all can thrive. 


Learn more about our vendors who work with Asian communities below.

Ganesh Himal

Ganesh Himal is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year! By creating a relationship with artisans, which started as a trip to hike through the Himalayas in 1984, Ganesh Himal has been able to provide a great steady income to people in Nepal facing food and housing insecurity–all of which came to a head at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there were food shortages. Through the Conscious Connections Foundation, Ganesh Himal is also able to help marginalized folks in Nepal gain access to education, healthcare, and skills development. With a 40-year legacy, the positive impact the artisans of Ganesh Himal have on their communities is palpable.

Lumago Designs

Lumago works with women from Dumaguete City in the Philippines, which has an open dumpsite that poses environmental hazards to all forms of life in the vicinity & downstream along the Banica river which it borders. Lumago artisans source all of the materials used in their jewelry locally from the dumpsite, which helps to create even more job opportunities for people in need. As the women create more designs, they will source new materials–spreading the revenue net even further. This also lessens the pollution, making the environment in which the artisans live even safer for generations to come. 

Matr Boomie

Matr Boomie currently works with over 500 women artisans in India, creating opportunities for women to gain financial independence. These women also have access to support groups and training centers! Roughly half of the artisans at Matr Boomie work in rural areas. Matr Boomie helps these artisans gain access to markets to sell their products, leveling the playing field for them and other artisans who work in city centers. As a way to lessen their carbon footprint, Matr Boomie employs the use of solar heaters, solar panels, and water recycling plants at their work sites.