Winona-area residents will have two ways this weekend to buy hand-crafted goods while supporting artists across the world.
Both the Winona State University Fair Trade Sale and the Fair Trade Market are being held this weekend, where shoppers can buy everything from wood carvings to aprons, dresses, chocolates, tea and more.
“These people are brilliant artists,” said John Kennedy, who founded and organizes the Many Hands-Many Lands held in the Winona Knitting Mills building. “We will have all kinds of different things from over 30 countries.”
Kennedy said he became involved in the fair-trade movement after visiting with his sister, a nun at a mission in Honduras, several years ago. The nuns of her order help local artists with support and equipment to do their work, so Kennedy founded Many Hands, Many Lands to create a market for their goods in the U.S. and help cut out any middlemen that take away profits.
“We try to get the purchase price in back into the hands of those who made the goods,” Kennedy said. “It allows them to improve their health and lives.”
WSU global studies professor Linda D’Amico has been having her fall global studies class on Latin America do a fair trade sale on campus each year for about a decade, she said. The students work with Ten Thousand Villages to bring the crafts onto campus and do all the work of marketing, logistics and other tasks to make the sale a success.
Students learn about economic justice and helping artisans around the world, D’Amico said, and get to keep a portion of the proceeds to donate to a charity of their choosing.
“It feels good to be doing something helping out globally,” student Grace Howard said. “I definitely want to do something like this again.”