Craft Sale and Cultural Festival
November 2010

Elvia Arreola at the 2007 fashion show

"I cannot change the economic conditions of the world but I can change my personal choices"
--Josefina Castillo

Welcome to the Women and Fair Trade festival pages organized by Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (ATCF). We invite women's cooperatives to come from all over the world to tell their stories about globalization and to sell their beautiful, handmade items. Each year, we hold this event hosting these cooperatives who sell fair trade products. This year it will be part of the East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) on November 20th-21st, at "The Old School," 1604 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78702.

This sale is about much more than purchasing quality products. It is about:

  • Supporting women's cooperatives which serve as a living alternative to dominant forms of production and distribution that exploit rather than support the creators of the goods we purchase.

  • Influencing buyer's purchasing habits to favor small producers instead of adding to corporate profits.

  • Shortening the gap between producer and buyer while listening to their stories about their local communities and buying directly from them.

Fair trade acknowledges the human beings that make our products. It means that small producers receive fair prices for their products, helping them build a better future for themselves and their communities. This helps to reverse current trends that reward the middle man or woman more than the producers themselves.

Austin tan Cerca de la Frontera has long been committed to moving the debate around trade out of the realm of theory and into real life. There is nothing more real than women searching for ways to provide for their families while maintaining dignity and preserving their culture.

The sale showcases cooperatives that work at the grassroots level in enabling their communities to prosper and continue their cultural traditions based on weaving, sewing, basketry, ceramics and other local crafts. We also include cultural and educational aspects such as musical performance, poetry reading, and documentary film.

Purchasing fair trade products is a very good way to do your part, but we encourage you to take one step further. If you look closely, each vendor participating in this sale has a story that can offer you a window into the lives of the producers' family, their livelihoods, and how they are impacted by the broader global economy. So take the time to read the producer profiles and chat with the vendors.

10% of all proceeds go to Austin tan Cerca de la Frontera to help ensure that this event continues on an annual basis. To volunteer call (512) 474-2399 or email jcastillo@atcf.org.