October 26, 2012



Holiday shopping with integrity

By Alexsis Fleener

In a world where the goal is to just find a gift, consumers often forget that sometimes the story behind the gift can be more important than the gift itself.

The Fair Trade Marketplace, from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the K-State Student Union courtyard, will offer an opportunity for meaningful holiday shopping.

"The term fair trade refers to a social movement that aims to improve the lives of others in developing countries by purchasing their goods and paying a fair amount for those items," said Alexsis Fleener, organizer of the event and junior in regional and community planning from Greensburg. "Fair trade is really about honoring the producer, consumer and the environment."

A wide variety of items will be sold from home decor, chocolate, coffee, bags, jewelry and beads as well as some clothing. The vendors at the marketplace are directly involved with the producers throughout the world of the products they sell.

"It's about becoming more aware of where our goods come from and who is affected by purchasing that good," Fleener said. "The vendors develop a relationship with the producers weather it be farmers, artists or craftsmen and help the community thrive."

Organized by Ecumenical Campus Ministry, or ECM, the money made at the marketplace is split between each vendor and the person, family or community that made the items.

"By purchasing fair trade products you are ensuring that the person that made that product can make a sustainable living," Fleener said. "It is our hope that students and the Manhattan community come to the marketplace to learn about what fair trade is all about and purchase some unique items for themselves, family and friends."