Learn about the fair trade items we have for sale, where they come from, and why we're proud to support fair trade!
Mission: Fair & for Sale
The St. Cloud Mission Office is proud to be able to support our global brothers and sisters through selling their goods at a just wage and fair price, as well as to be able to sell beautiful local crafts to support the work of mission.
Fair Trade means that the farmer, artisan or crafts-person who grew or made the item for sale is the one getting the profit from its sale. So often numerous middle-men or large factories, plantation owners or corporations make the profit, while those who do the work and initially produced the product are left receiving a pittance for their labors. Over half of the world’s coffee is grown by small family farmers. Our fair-trade coffees and chocolates, and our direct mission connection coffees (with places like the San Lucas Mission in Guatemala), are one way of striving to pay a fairer price to the international coffee and cocoa farmers for their product. Fair-trade strives to pay 3 to 5 times more than the going market price paid by large and often unjust international coffee or chocolate companies, not to mention corporations who buy clothing and crafts for less than a just value. Fair Trade also allows people to stay on and work their own land, rather than losing their farms or working on large corporate-run plantations, and to support their families.
Although the work of the Mission Office is first-and-foremost the promotion and support of mission activity, solidarity and involvement for the St. Cloud Diocese, we also strive to live-out mission in our own daily activities. In order to do so, we believe that we must promote just wages and fair labor practices for our brothers and sisters around the world. Through purchases of coffees and crafts like these, we can build up and support our mission connections. Selling Fair Trade items does not generate an income for the Mission Office, we sell them for what we pay for them. This is because we are promoting to raise awareness, not generate revenue. Our Catholic Social Teachings call us to use Fair Trade, and we at the Mission Office are proud to use and sell Fair Trade items. Learn more about why the Catholic Church promotes Fair Trade by viewing this document:
Our selection is always changing based on the season and what is available, but here are some common items we have at the Mission Office:
~Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Jewelry, Baskets, Spices, Scarves, Quilts, Baby Blankets, Dishtowels, Art, and more~
Click on the images to see what we currently have in!
Where our Fair Trade items come from:
While we sell a number of Fair Trade items, two main items we sell are chocolate bars and coffee. We currently purchase our chocolate from a women run co-op called Seattle Chocolate. One of their main focuses is to make sure they are sourcing their chocolate ethically to help ensure fair wages, no child labor, and sustainable farming practices. All of their cocoa comes either from Peru or West Africa and is made into delicious dark, milk, and white chocolate truffle bars. If you’re a chocolate lover, and even if you’re not, this is as good as it gets, and as fair too!
A popular coffee we carry is “Juan Anna” Coffee from Guatemala. The beans are grown by farmers working as part of a cooperative through the San Lucas Toliman Mission in Guatemala (a place where many parishioners of the diocese have visited). We purchase the green (un-roasted) beans directly from our own grower in Guatemala. The beans are then shipped to Reality Roasters, a local roaster in Little Falls, who roasts the beans and bags them to be the freshest coffee we can provide. It’s a great way to support both the global and the local – all in one bag! And for the coffee lover, there’s nothing like our own blend of fresh coffee. It’s hard to beat fresh AND fair all in one!
We have gotten our Fair Trade and international crafts from a variety of sources. Many are purchased by our foreign missioners abroad from artisans they know to be reputable and in need of support for their wares. Others are purchased from organizations doing development and empowerment work in other countries.
Handcrafted secular and religious items come from indigenous artisans of Kenya, India, Bangladesh, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Tanzania, and a variety of other countries. Some of these items come from our partnerships with Homa Bay, Kenya and Maracay, Venezuela.
If you’re interested in ordering for your parish or group, view their websites for a full list of what they carry and information on how to order. Or stop in the Mission Office first to give it a try.
Parishes selling Fair Trade:
You can buy and sell fair-trade coffees, teas, chocolates and other items at your own parish or group. Groups can order and sell Fair Trade items themselves through various Fair Trade Co-ops and organizations as a fundraiser or awareness-raiser done by your own group or parish. Or on occasion we will provide items from our Mission Office inventory to groups with booths at various events, such as parish festivals or workshops; this is for groups not looking to raise money for themselves, but simply hoping to support and raise awareness of Fair Trade and mission. Many parishes have taken on Fair Trade sales as a one-time thing and enjoyed it so much it has become a regular occurrence and on-going part of their parish life!
Contact us if you are interested or have questions about selling Fair Trade. These are GREAT fundraiser or on-going projects for both you and those throughout the world producing these great fair-trade goods!
Second-hand shop closed
The Mission Office once had a second-hand shop in our basement and back rooms in addition to our offices that we continue to be asked about. Though it was a great little treasure of a spot in downtown St. Cloud, that shop did close in 2006 in order to focus staff effort and finances more on the promotion and support of mission globally. We no longer carry any used clothing or household items. Therefore, we no longer accept used donations.
We were sorry to see the Mission Shop close after so many years, and we sincerely thank all of the volunteers and staff who kept it going for so long!