The Common Good
November-December 1998

Resources for Study and Action

by Kristine Jensen | November-December 1998

Shop With a Conscience

Shop With a Conscience

The fair trade movement in the United States began with a few organizations willing to give producers a fair price for their goods and to engage in ethical and non-exploitive purchasing and marketing practices. Several alternative trading organizations have been practicing fair trade for more than five decades and provide important alternatives for gift-giving.

Alternative Gifts International

is an interfaith non-profit agency that provides gifts that empower people in crisis and help protect the environment. Mayan Hands, a fair trade enterprise working with Maya artisans since 1989, is working with Pastors for Peace to make available high quality products for sales at churches, schools, or offices. Contact Alternative Gifts International at P.O. Box 2267, 9656 Palomar Trail, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356-2267; 1-800-842-2243; fax (760) 248-2195; www.altgifts.org. Mayan Hands can be reached at 92 Brookline Ave., Albany, NY 12203; (518) 489-4593; fax (518) 438-6354.

Making Corporations Accountable

The National Labor Committee, an independent human rights organization focused on protecting worker rights, kicked off a "Holiday Season of Conscience/ People’s Right to Know" campaign on October 3 to raise consumer awareness of how to protect human rights. This is a joint campaign with the People of Faith Network.

The two-year People’s Right to Know campaign will focus on corporate disclosure-holding corporations accountable for the conditions under which their workers labor and their products are produced. It will also focus on empowering consumers to defend worker rights through education and activism targeting companies with the worst human rights records, such as Wal-Mart.

The NLC has brochures, postcards, and petitions to help your organization participate in the campaign. For more information, contact The National Labor Committee, 275 Seventh Ave., 15th floor, New York, NY 10001; (212) 242-3002.

Urban Gardening

The Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Education program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is encouraging "congregation supported agriculture"-container gardening in urban areas where soil may be contaminated or access to garden space limited.

Container gardening is an inexpensive and simple method in which vegetables are grown in receptacles such as tires or plastic wading pools. Each container can grow 30 to 50 pounds of vegetables in a year. The project encourages people to start container gardens in their communities and donate the produce to individuals and congregations in need or to sponsor a container garden at an inner-city church.

For more information on urban agriculture and container gardens, contact Joe Ebenezer, Director for Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Education/ELCA, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631-4190; 1-800-638-3522, ext. 2708; e-mail: ebenezer@elca.org.

Resources For Kids

Skipping Stones is a non-profit, multicultural children’s magazine for ages 8-16 that encourages cooperation and creativity. Ad-free and ecologically aware, the magazine features original art and writing by youth from all over the world. The magazine welcomes children’s submissions and seeks to foster dialogue between youth from diverse backgrounds.

Subscriptions (five issues a year) are $25 ($35 for institutions), with low-income and multiple-copy discounts. Contact Skipping Stones, P.O. Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403; (541) 342-4956; e-mail: skipping@efn.org.

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