Friday, April 14, 2006

Unity Fair Trade Marketplace Grand Opening

Peace Through Unity Project is opening their new fair trade retail import shop, Unity Fair Trade Marketplace, in Traverse City, Michigan on Earth Day – Saturday, April 22nd. Unity is located at 113 E. State Street, on the alley behind Front Street, between Union and Cass.

Unity is unique to northern Michigan because everything in the marketplace is fairly traded. Fair trade practices ensure adherence to high standards that the growers, artisans and others involved in the production and import of the consumables or crafts benefit from. The artisans are paid a culturally-fair living wage, work in safe and healthy conditions, enjoy mutually-beneficial relationships with importers, and are empowered to take an active part in enhancing the quality of their lives. Careful consideration is also given to the environmental impact of the production of goods, encouraging sustainable use of natural resources.

One of the most important aspects of the fair trade philosophy is the nurturing of the artisans’ unique cultural identity expressed through their crafts. Cross-cultural understanding and respect is fostered by the sharing of stories about the artisans and the history of their individual talents and community traditions. Unity Fair Trade Marketplace highlights individuals and cooperatives from all over the world that all have amazing stories as unique as fingerprints!

Gallery-quality items individually handcrafted with care and created by artisans spanning the globe accompany locally roasted coffees from Higher Grounds and hand blended teas from By the Light of Day Organic Tea. While sampling the coffee or tea, visitors can browse a library of socially-conscious reading materials, part of a collaboration with ISLAND. In the comfortable lounging space locals and travelers alike are welcome to enjoy watching, listening and participating with artists expressing themselves through music, speaking to educate, and generally having fun!

Unity Fair Trade Marketplace is part of a larger nonprofit company called Peace Through Unity Project whose mission is to promote unity through art, music, understanding and compassion. So much wonderful collaboration has happened to facilitate this venture: local friends, folks from all over the US, and artisans in countries spanning the globe. There will soon be a website up at with more information.

This project has been a long-time dream of Peace Through Unity Project’s founder, Nichole Manning. With the help of friend and fellow peacenik, Vicki Kinney, Nichole has brought fair trade to a welcoming community.

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