It's hard to wrap our heads around all that is transpiring right now. Behind the statistics, people are losing their lives and their loved ones. 

We do know this: The coronavirus pandemic is  bringing into focus many issues that have long been at the core of the fair trade movement. There has never been a better time to advocate for the principles of fair trade here in the United States and everywhere. We need to support safe and empowering working conditions, accountability, transparency, and practices that respect our environment.

As our daily lives are interrupted and we scramble to remain connected, Chicago Fair Trade will use this page to highlight stories of how our business members and their fair-trade partners are coping with the new normal. The slideshow below will refresh every 20 seconds, or you can use the arrows to go forward or backward at a faster pace.

As you know, our fair trade partners are not just vendors; they are marginalized artisans and farmers around the world and social-enterprise communities here in Chicago.  We encourage you to support these community members who have put fair trade practices at the core of their livelihoods to the best of your ability. 


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The pandemic is affecting the artisans’ lives in different ways. In Peru, the quarantine and curfew is impacting Hector, who makes BI’s  recycled bullhorn products. The lack of orders means his finances are tight for basic needs: like so many of us, he is worried about paying his mortgage. Water is a big issue, he has to walk miles down and up the mountain to get it. Alicia is focusing on completing the last alpaca toy order and worrying about earning enough to purchase more materials for future orders. Amanda had to close her gourd booth at the local market and suspend production of birdhouse gourds due to lack of raw materials. She is trying to balance paying rent for her booth with covering basic family needs.  All of the artisans have to deal with kids being home, as schools have also shut down. There is currently no date to reopen and e-learning is not an option. The parents are worried their kids will lose a year of education if the quarantine continues in the long term.

To support these artisans, Blossom Inspirations is promoting these state-shaped recycled cow-horn keychains. All proceeds for April and May will be donated to the Red Cross. Show your state pride in these difficult times!

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