Happy Spring Fair Traders!
This month, we celebrate some of the beautiful, talented, and committed women in the Fair Trade movement near and far. Read on to learn about them and the amazing work they – and we – do.
Thank you for staying tuned!
Meet Heather LaPorte Arata
Earth & State Owner
Chair of the Media Business Authority’s Board of Directors
“When we opened our store we made a conscious decision to know where our goods are coming from. If we weren’t able to meet the creator in person then we wanted to know that the people making our goods were making a living wage and that their working conditions were fair; connecting with members of the Fair Trade movement made this possible.”
Heather Laporte ~ Earth & State
When you walk into the magical world of Earth & State, you will likely be greeted by long-bearded, chatty co-owner Drew Arata. And as you continue strolling down the aisles, you will meet a quieter presence, – usually at the register, – who keeps the show running behind the scenes: the beautiful, artistic and committed co-owner Heather LaPorte Arata!
From neighboring Brookhaven, Heather spent her childhood summers at her “Mommom’s around the corner from Wolff’s Apple House” and fell in love with Media. She was recently elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Media Business Authority, the all-volunteer organization behind Dinning Under the Stars. Along with fellow business owners, she will be helping the MBA redefine goals and come up with new events as the borough slowly returns to normal post Covid-19. They are grateful to their loyal customers during the challenging pandemic months. “The way the community stepped up to support our local small businesses and restaurants was incredible,” Heather said.
When asked about how Earth & State came to life, she told us it was the combination of 12 years of retail experience and her passion for handmade goods. “I knew my life was meant to be surrounded by art…We did look at other towns but my heart was in Media,” says Heather. Earth & State carries many local, handmade and fairly-traded crafts, pottery, and unique gifts. Stop by next time you need that special something for a loved-one and say hi to Heather!
Meet Dr. Barbara Bole
Media Fair Trade Committee Member
“Fair Trade is one beautiful component of a growing consumer movement emphasizing organic, restorative, and mutually beneficial consumption and procurement practices that respect producers and their communities.”
Dr. Barbara Bole ~ Media Fair Trade Committee
If you ever decide to join our committee (we always welcome new members!), you will get to hang out and laugh with this smart, fun, and outgoing woman who is a long-time volunteer and one of the earliest advocate of our group.
A lucid, exquisite and independent writer and editor, Dr. Barbara Bole joined our committee in 2009 and steadily contributed, not only by attending our biweekly meetings ever since, but also taking part in local events, giving amazing presentations to all sort of audiences, writing grant proposals…you name it! Her enthusiasm and commitment to the Fair Trade Towns movement made her choose it as the topic of her PhD dissertation. She graduated from Walden University in 2014, summa cum laude. (Applause, of course!)
Barbara grew up in Valley Forge, lived in West Chester while attending undergrad, finally choosing Media to buy her home in 2007. “I was thrilled to learn about America’s First Fair Trade Town,” she said, “I have been an avid proponent of Fair Trade since it came onto my radar in the early 2000s as a valid and positive solution to address the most pressing issues of trade-based socioeconomic and environmental justice. It’s grounded in the joy of self-efficacy in our world of abundance.”
Meet Adelle A’asante
Storyteller for Chocolate Has a Name
“I have gone back to my tribe and spoken to the ordinary of ordinary cocoa farmers, and for them, sustainable, ethical, conscious, and fair would mean that for each certified logo you have at the back of your chocolate wrapper, they are assured of potable water, good roads leading to and from their farms, schools within walking distance for their children.” Adelle A’asante ~ Chocolate Has a Name Have you ever met someone who calls herself “a human lived experience storyteller?”
We met Adelle A’asante earlier this month when we took part in the virtual presentation of an amazing project that we recently began to support: CHOCOLATE HAS A NAME. This project, a collaboration of nonprofits and Fair Trade organizations in Ghana and the UK, aims to introduce chocolate making to the school curriculum in the cocoa growing areas in Ghana. This represents the core of the mission we, as America’s First Fair Trade Town, promote: farmers around the world having just, sustainable, and secure livelihoods.
The presentation was an evening of storytelling, music, and poetry from Ghana. Adelle, who lives with her young family in the UK, grew up and lived most of her life in the West African country. The granddaughter of a cocoa farmer, she tells firsthand stories of the harsh and unfair living and working conditions of farmers that are still in place today. “Perhaps this is why I love Fairtrade, because the mention of Fairtrade brings me to the awareness of a world which continues to thrive on unfair trade,” she said.
As our committee brainstormed ways to inspire the Media community and reinvigorate our commitment to the Fair Trade movement, we decided to offer our support to Chocolate Has a Name and began to talk about what we call a “trip to origin.” In the past, such trips took a government official, along with committee and community members, to a place where a Fair Trade item originates. Now, we are considering visiting the school where Chocolate Has a Name will be piloted and we’re also talking to project organizers about the possibility of bringing this idea to our sister city in Ghana, New Koforidua which is the first Fair Trade Town on the entire continent of Africa.
Stay tuned for more as we continue to explore these ideas. Adelle is available and willing to tell her stories via Zoom and present Chocolate Has a Name to schools, churches, or any other interested group. Let us know if you are up for this!
Want to learn more?
Click here watch the recording of the Chocolate Has a Name presentation.
Click here to listen to Adelle’s tribute to her grandmother Click here to donate to the project
Join Us – Virtually!
We will continue to meet virtually and we would love to have you join us and Fairis Afrog, our mascot (pictured below). If interested, don’t’ be shy: We need you! Click the button below to send us your contact details, and we’ll send you our virtual meeting information. In April, we will meet: Monday 4/4, noon Wednesday, 4/20, 9 am I’d like to join!
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