Crystal Watley



ASHEVILLE, NC – Does eating chocolate, jamming with African drummers or listening to poetry and stories really help ensure a living wage for hardworking artisans in the world’s most poverty-stricken regions? Does shopping for decorative hand-crafted items for your home and garden contribute to world peace?

The answers are yes and yes! – but only if the products involved are “fairly traded.”

To showcase the growing array of unique and colorful fair trade products and to help Asheville visitors and residents enjoy the benefits of shopping fair frade, Ten Thousand Villages is sponsoring Asheville’s first World Fair Trade Day celebration on Saturday, May 14th with a festival in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. The park is located at the intersections of Haywood Street, College Street and Patton Avenue.

The day’s festivities will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. with performances throughout the day by dancers, musicians, poets and storytellers. The Festival is honored to have Mark Gibney, the Belk Distinguished Professor of Political Science at UNCA and a specialist in international law, human rights and entertaining repartee, as our Master of Ceremonies.

Asheville retailers who support fair trade producers will have crafts, textiles, musical instruments and personal care products for sale at the Festival. The French Broad Food Co-op will provide samples of fairly traded coffee and other food products, while Sweetness and Grace will sell organic, dairy-free truffles, handmade from fairly-traded ingredients. Merletti Fine Lace and Linens will feature handmade textiles from fair-trade markets around the world. Shea butter from Ghana, henna from Rajasthan, pure black soap from the west coast of Africa, as well as root tonics, herbal drinks and fruit juices from family-owned farms are among the offerings by Caravanserai. Ten Thousand Villages will include the unveiling of a new global population map by O.D.T. among its special events during the day in the shop at 10 College Street and Festival booth in Pritchard Park.

A family-oriented event, the Asheville Fair Trade Festival will include a children’s area with activities such as gallimoto push-toy obstacle races, creation of a miniature Global Village, and make-your-own worry dolls.

Each and every day Fair Trade improves the lives of farmers, artisans, and their families by ensuring that producers receive a fair price for their handcrafted products and crops. Alleviating poverty for small-scale producers, providing markets for their goods, developing their financial independence, and encouraging reinvestment in local communities are among the key fair trade principles. Fair trade also provides many benefits to women. According to the Fair Trade Federation, 60 to 70 percent of fair trade artisans are women, and these women are often the sole wage earners in the home. With its support of small-scale craft production, fair trade strengthens women’s financial standing, builds stronger communities and supports indigenous craft traditions.

Buyers of Fair Trade products also benefit from high quality goods and the knowledge that they are shopping responsibly. Consumers can become part of this progressive, world-wide movement and promote democratic principles by supporting fair trade organizations with their purchases.

Ten Thousand Villages in Asheville is one of more than 100 Ten Thousand Villages stores across North America selling international handicrafts from over 30 developing countries. Ten Thousand Villages, the oldest fair trade organization in the United States, has provided fair prices, working capital and a market for artisans around the world for more than 59 years. Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) based in Washington, DC, and the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) based in Culemborg, The Netherlands. FTF and IFAT are cosponsoring World Fair Trade Day 2005.

For more information about the Asheville Fair Trade Festival activities, please contact Caroline Mason, store promotions coordinator at 828-254-8374, e-mail or Crystal Watley, festival coordinator at 828-350-7757 , e-mail