‘Everything in this store has a story,’ said Heidi Baikie, who just opened up Fair & Green with husband Mick in downtown Truckee. Pick up the African telephone wire baskets, she said, and you can smell the fire the weavers encircled as they worked on their craft. Knit toys from Nepal come from a women’s co-op that not only teaches and markets a trade but also provides training in life-skills, such as literacy, health care, and child care. The bright orange Ultimate Frisbee disc, with ‘RESPECT’ proudly emblazoned on the top, was made in a stateside factory where workers are paid above living wages.

And so it goes, with each item on the shelves of the clean, calming, carefully-developed shop. Heidi painstakingly selects products, ensuring that they come from businesses that pay workers a living wage, are environmentally conscious, and are high quality. The store’s motto is ‘Unique, Affordable, & Conscientious.’

These concerns echo the Fair Trade certification process and in fact Heidi and Mick are passionate about this label. The label, with a handful of international certifiers, brings to the global marketplace products that combine a fair price for workers, rigid environmental standards and investment in local communities around the world. As Tadesse Maeskela, a General Manager for a Fair Trade cooperative in Ethiopa said, ‘We don’t ask for charity; we ask for the right price for our product.’

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Heidi wants to promote ‘conscious consumerism’ in her shop; where shoppers look at the merchandise and see the human cost. Where they realize that with every purchase they are helping lift people out of poverty. Where the hand-made quality compels a life-long relationship with the product, versus the prolific stream of throwaway crap filling many store shelves today.

‘When you see all these recalls coming from China, I think you see the cost of demanding cheap disposable items,’ Heidi said.

On each of the items in Fair & Green is a tag telling you the story behind it. If it doesn’t come with a tag from the producer, Heidi does research and creates one, diligently making certain that every customer knows the story behind their purchase.
‘Fair & Green is a place to buy, but it is also a place to be educated,’ Heidi said.

October is Fair Trade Month and Fair & Green is preparing for a month-long celebration at the store. The schedule is still being fine-tuned, but every Saturday is ‘Fair Trade Saturday’ (see below). Watch movies, eat tasty treats, and learn how to be ‘conscious consumer.’

Fair & Green, 10382 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, 530-582-0908, fair-and-green.com.

Fair Trade Saturdays in Truckee, at Fair & Green
• Saturday, October 6, Fair Trade Month Launch Party: from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ‘Fair Trade: The Story,’ movie presentation at 12, 2, and 4 p.m. and ‘Quality of Life for Farmers,’ movie presentation at 1, 3, and 5 p.m., plus free samples of Fair Trade coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks all day long

• Saturday, October 13, The History & Future of Fair Trade: 6 p.m. by Heidi & Mick Baikie

• Saturday, October 20, Fair Trade Quiz & Sport Day, 2 p.m., family day, prizes, and free hot chocolate and fair trade brownies

• Saturday, October 27, Are you Conscious? Being a Conscious Consumer, noon and 4 p.m., plus viewing of Fair Trade Contest short movies at 5 p.m., Fair Trade wine & chocolate tasting after each presentation

• All month long…Win a trip to Peru by producing an original video less than 5 minutes in length that shows how you connect with Fair Trade.

Author

  • Mayumi Peacock

    Hailing from a U.S. military family and a graduate of the University of Florida, Mayumi Peacock has lived in several corners of the country and globe, yet Tahoe/Truckee has been her home since 1999. She is founder and publisher of Moonshine Ink, the region’s award-winning independent newspaper, which continues to be created by, for, and of the community. Other passions include family, animals, books, healthy living, and humane food.

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