Sustainability Column May 23, 2009

I do not claim to be an expert on the local retail scene, but I did some research to get a snapshot of local knowledge and availability of Fair Trade goods.

An unscientific sampling of stores on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction produced mixed results. Some store owners were unfamiliar with the Fair Trade concept. However, two locations offered Fair Trade products.

Crystal Books carries a number of Fair Trade products, primarily from Tibet, including prayer flags, prayer beads and singing bowls. The store also has bracelets from Brazil made by The Giving Tree, a Fair Trade company.

Uniquely Yours takes socially responsible shopping to a new level encompassing local and global aspects. The gift shop is a partnership between Mesa Developmental Services (MDS) and Ten
Thousand Villages. Fourteen local artists with developmental disabilities work in the store to create pottery, jewelry, cards and glass blocks. Gifts made from wood are crafted at the MDS wood shop.
Ten Thousand Villages is a Fair Trade organization marketing handicrafts by artisans from 30 developing nations. Uniquely Yours carries a large sampling of products from Ten Thousand Villages.

A Pier 1 Imports corporate media specialist said their stores sometimes carry Fair Trade coffee or chocolate, but the local store manager was not familiar with the Fair Trade designation.

Perhaps the local store carrying the largest selection of Fair Trade certified goods is Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. In addition to the big three — coffee, tea and chocolate — a quick survey of the store turned up Fair Trade certified pears, sugar, vanilla and a few body care products.

Store owners offering Fair Trade goods in Grand Junction can send me an e-mail, and I will pass the word along. We can all help educate local companies about Fair Trade.

— Adele Israel


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