“The Roots of Giving” is a fair trade gift fair that offers students a chance to get a jump start on holiday shopping from 6-10 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 1. Caf lane will be transformed into a bazaar of booths, selling goods and musical performances. The Center for Justice and Reconciliation is sponsoring the event in an effort to support socially conscious businesses. There will be a total of 32 vendors and five musicians, with many being PLNU students.
According to the organization “Fair Trade Certified”, they define the practice of fair trade as “a global model around the concept that economic empowerment and sustainable livelihoods are the basis for a market that works for everyone.” It’s a way for producers, businesses and consumers to help make a positive change, for themselves and for others, every day. It is an agreement between the producer and consumer that honors the work put into the product through reasonable payment and production standards.
Elaine Giles, a sophomore sociology major, is an intern for CJR and has been the driving force behind the Roots of Giving. Alongside 24 people, Giles and the CJR team have been working hard on the event since October.
“Before planning Roots of Giving, I honestly did not know much about fair trade, Giles said. “But now that I have been able to have close interaction with the people behind the movement locally, I have seen firsthand the importance of it.”
Giles expressed her commitment to buying only fair-trade fashion after learning about the unethical practices many brands use to make their clothes. “The Roots of Giving” fair will include locally thrifted clothes, alpaca clothing and accessories created by women in Peru, Mexican baskets, Dominican jewelry and chocolate, Thai coin purses and Guatemalan Christmas ornaments.
“I encourage anyone who is passionate about being an ethical consumer to watch ‘The True Cost’, a documentary on Netflix which sheds a light on the fashion industry. This documentary opened my eyes to the necessity of Fair Trade.”
According to FashionUnited—an organization that tracks news in the fashion industry— the global apparel market is valued at three trillion dollars and accounts for two percent of the world’s GDP.
“If students want to shop more ethically, I recommend that they research the companies they shop from,” Giles said. “A great place to start is bcorporation.net, which shows the highest standard of ethical companies. In my own life, I have committed to purchasing only thrifted or fair trade clothing, which can help eliminate the use of sweatshops and dangerous environmental practices.”
Additionally, the fair allows students to shed light on important issues through their contribution to the fair. Kailey Sniffin is a sophomore graphic design and marketing major whose work with a company called “Drop Earring Not Bombs” aims to aid Syrian refugees.
“The refugee crisis is something that has been on my heart for a long while now and I have been looking for ways to be involved while still in college,” Sniffin said. “I found out about ‘Drop Earrings Not Bombs’ through my aunt in the Middle East and immediately fell in love with the organization and their beautiful earrings. Selling their product at the Roots of Giving Fair seemed like the perfect opportunity to play my part in helping to end the refugee crisis.”
Both Giles and Sniffin hope that by attending the fair, students can see tangible ways they can make an impact on global issues.
“Buying gifts that support people and value everyone involved is really, really important and we cannot take our power as consumers lightly,” Giles said.