Aid to Artisans

Markets, Marketing, Trade, Organisations, Institutions, Movements

Aid to Artisans

McComb, Jessie F.


This past weekend, as I wandered through the stalls and tables at the Vegetarian Food Festival in Boston, Massachusetts, I remembered a time not too long ago when a large portion of American society did not know the definition of a vegetarian, or the meaning of phrases like “organically grown” and “fair trade”. It has only been in the past five to ten years economic, culture and health awareness has increased among middle class citizens. With the growing perception about developing nations, sweatshops and diversified cultures, some Americans have begun to think differently about where the products they buy come from and how they get to rest on the mantles and coffee tables of urban homes. And with this heightened sensibility to the lives of workers, agriculturists and artisans from around the globe has come numerous American based organizations that educate the public about poverty, displaced markets and global trade.

A great example of this is a New England based NGO called Aid to Artisans (ATA). With connections on almost every continent, ATA encourages American companies and buyers to buy craft products at fair prices so artisans can slowly work their way out of poverty. In India alone ATA works continually with other organizations like Seva Mandir’s Sadhna program to bring quality handicraft goods to American markets without money absorbing middlemen. Through a multi-tiered process ATA helps design and market craft objects while training artisans for a better future. In their desi...
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