The “Fair Trade” movement, as it is now known, began in Europe in the 1960s. During that time, the movement was seen largely as one of empowering small nations against imperialism from Britain and other large nations. Its ethos was the concept of providing entrepreneurs in emerging economies with the means for self-sustaining instead of burdening governments with debt disguised as “aid”. The first organization dedicated to alternative trade was founded in 1965 by a British NGO, Oxfam, that sold handmade craft goods in its stores an in catalogues.

The “Fair Trade” movement really grabbed hold in Europe after its inauspicious beginning and gained traction over the coming decades. In the 1980s, there was a movement from distributing only handicrafts to distributing agricultural products as well. This shift ultimately led to the creation of groups that offered certification of products and goods which helped with branding and distribution in western economies like the United States, the largest consumer market in the world.
Today there are several large organization that certify goods as “Fair Trade” goods and the consumer interest in “Fair Trade” has grown substantially. Many commodity food items have a fair-trade alternative. Support fair trade and the local farmers in emerging economies!

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