Craft Sale and Cultural Festival
November 2011

An annual Austin marketplace that hosts artisan producers from women's cooperatives around the world. They gather to meet local consumers for commerce and cultural celebration and exchange.

Celia Santiz Ruiz from Jolom Mayaetik weaving on her back-strap loom

"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), now in its 8th year. We invite members and representatives of women's cooperatives to come from all over the world to tell their stories about globalization and to sell beautiful, fair trade, handmade products. This year the Festival will coincide with the East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) on November 12 and 13th and take place at "The Old School," 1604 East 11th Street.

For Austinites 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 buyers' 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.

The Austin Tan Cerca staff and volunteers have 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' families, 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 to help ensure this event continues on an annual basis. To volunteer call (512) 474-2399 or email Melissa Buhrt at