Fair trade fair supports social justice causes


Photo by Annette Espinoza.

Several fair trade businesses, whose profits support the creators of the products being sold, made an appearance at the fair trade fair hosted in the Covenant Fine Arts Center on Friday, February 8.

One of the businesses featured was Treetops Collective, whose mission is “economic and community development with refugee women in West Michigan.” Spokesperson Alexiana shared some insight on how Treetops Collective was formed.

The nonprofit began with two friends who each met refugee women at some point in their individual lives and were greatly impacted. Founder and executive director Dana Doll’s first encounter with refugees was when her parents took in the people who later became her brothers and sisters. Because of this experience, she created the organization which provides work for women in West Michigan, such as screen printing, sewing, as well as other tasks involved in the creation and sales of their merchandise. Treetop’s products include t-shirts, bags, pillows and clothing for infants and toddlers.

Another organization featured in the fair was Just Goods, who are part of Extended Grace, which is an organization whose goal is to “break the stigma around mental health,” according to Cali Caluza, manager of Just Goods and an Extended Grace board member. Extended Grace has created a recreation center in Ottawa County that can be a safe space for people who struggle with various aspects of mental health such as depression or anxiety. Extended Grace has focused in on this community and have held town hall meetings to see what is the best option to help these people in need, and as a result the Momentum Center in Grand Haven was birthed. Cali Caluza presented social cause merchandise such as bracelets, hats, socks and other goods which support social integration and the reducing of the stigma around mental health.

The Fair Trade Fair also featured Women at Risk International, who have been rescuing women from human trafficking in more than 50 countries. This organization presented different clothes and jewelry that were all made by the women rescued. The vendors of Women at Risk shared that each piece came from a different country.

Many other organizations sold items at the Fair Trade Fair in hopes of providing support for several social justice endeavors hosted by Calvin to support these causes.  If interested in supporting these organizations, visit treetopscollective.org/collections/welcome-wear,  extendedgrace.org and extendedgrace.org/justgoods/.