Fair Trade Winds offered chocolate lovers a chance to indulge this weekend while helping artisans in third world countries prosper more from their crafts.
“Most chocolate in the world is grown in Ghana in poverty by kids ages 14 and under conditions of forced labor, meaning they are not allowed to go to school and better their lives,” said Paul, a manager at the Fair Trade Winds’ Fairfax City location.
“Fair Trade chocolates are brought by families and cooperatives, kids might work on those farms, but they also go to school," he said at the Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival. So ‘fair trade’ chocolate really just means there’s no slave labor involved in growing and harvesting the cocoa beans.”
Most people in Ghana have never even tasted chocolate, they simply harvest the bitter tasting cocoa beans that produce candy bars, cupcakes, truffles and other popular sweets. Paul’s favorite chocolate item is their peanut butter cups.
2011 marks Fair Trade Winds’ second year participating in the festival. They were one of the two vendors at the event that were based in Fairfax City.
Fair Trade Winds also sells a wide array of consumer goods including clothing, jewelry and household items.
“It’s a real true business cycle with Fair Trade. It’s not about charity, it's about making sure the people who are harvesting and growing are getting a fair living wage to do it,” Paul said referring to a popular misconception of Fair Trade being your typical charity or nonprofit organization. Fair Trade aims to cut the middle man out of the manufacturing process that commonly brings chocolates and other goods to the average American consumer.
Fair Trade Winds’ North Street location opened in 2010, and they are active in farmer’s markets and events with various church organizations in the area. For more information on their mission, go to FairTradeWinds.net.