First Congregational Church in Cooper-Young believes how we spend our money does make a difference. Shopping Fair Trade means buying crafts, clothing, and foods that are made in accordance with these principles:

  • Form honest relationships—workers are partners.
  • Create opportunity—help craftspeople produce things that appeal to US market.
  • Promote community investment—schools, sources of clean water, medical clinics.
  • Expand market access through long term relationships with craftspeople/farmers.
  • Pay fairly and promptly.
  • Respect the rights of women and children.
  • Promote safe working conditions.
  • Promote sustainability—for example, products made from recycled materials.
  • Operate in a climate of mutual respect.

Here in Memphis, there are not a lot of places to shop fair trade. Inside First Congregational Church you will find the Global Goods Fair Trade Store open on Saturdays and Sundays. Check their Facebook page for photos of their wonderful goods and for operating hours.

And on Nov. 10th-12th, Trinity United Methodist Church is hosting of its 18th annual Alternative Market. On Friday, Nov. 10th 5-7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11th 9-5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 12th noon-3 p.m.), the church at 1738 Galloway in the Evergreen Historic District of Memphis will host the market, featuring handcrafted home décor and gifts made by fairly paid artisans in more than 30 countries.

Trinity United began this event almost 20 years ago with a desire to celebrate Christmas in a more faith-filled manner by providing a place for neighbors to shop fair trade. As time has passed, we’ve expanded to celebrating all times when we want to give a gift that is unique and fairly traded. All the proceeds go back to the Ten Thousand Villages store in Nashville to support their fair-trade work.

This event is not a fund-raiser for the church. Rather, it is a ministry to the craftspeople and to the shoppers. Church members serve as temporary shopkeepers, unpacking the merchandise, arranging it for sale, assisting shoppers, and then repacking unsold crafts after the sale.

Why does Trinity United Methodist Church host this market each year?

  • We demonstrate concern for and respect for craftspeople/small farmers.
  • We get unique items.
  • We give those who make/grow the items a way to support their families, not charity.
  • We promote peace.

The Market will be in the Fellowship Hall of the church, two blocks west of the Memphis Zoo, at 1738 Galloway. Jewelry from India, textiles and pottery from Vietnam, musical instruments from Africa, Nativity sets from many Third World nations, toys from the Philippines, home and garden items, Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, and many other treasures are among the unique items offered for sale.

Ten Thousand Villages is the largest fair trade retailer in North America. A nonprofit organization, Ten Thousand Villages approaches retail business in a different way: they create an international marketplace where the well-being of suppliers in Africa, Asia and Latin America is just as important as that of their North American customers. Ten Thousand Villages offers fair prices to artisans for their work, enabling them to provide for their basic needs and plan for their future. They provide up-front funds and product development advice where it is needed.