Friday, February 22, 2013

Respect the time and skill of an artisan

I have been involved in the running of a farmers market for three years now. I have also taken part as a seller in farmers markets and craft sales in the past. It has been my impression that the majority of people who sell handmade goods are not paid nearly fair for the time they put in and that simultaneously the consumers generally consider the items sold at such markets to be over priced.

One of the best and easiest things a person can do to try to help the planet is to buy locally. Whenever you need something, try to find it from as local a source as you possibly can. If you can't find it in your town, try the next one over. If you can't find it there try within your province. Then within your country.

Try finding items that are hand made, or at least from a small business. Big factories require a lot of energy. Usually, a lot of waste, too. They don't take the time to make sure things aren't wasted if it means that it costs them more to do so.

Big companies often manufacture things as cheaply as possible, meaning they use low quality materials and find quick ways to put things together rather than taking extra care to make them last or make them repairable. When someone makes something by hand, they can probably also fix it if it does happen to break.

I am saddened when I see people react to how costly a handmade item is. Most artisans don't make near minimum wage for the time that they put into their products, let alone the cost of materials on top of that.

"Make friends with a farmer. You're going to need them." Or an artisan. Whatever the case, these were strong words said at a farmer's market conference I recently attended. It's true. We can't keep replacing people with machines or nobody is going to have the skill to make or grow anything and we simply cannot survive that way.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Retail cardboard

I am in a cast. I hurt my wrist from repetitive stress at work and am unable to do my regular job. This means for the last week I've been working at an old job to help them out with a few extra hours to keep bills paid. This job is a retail job and the majority of my time is spent receiving inventory. This means cutting up boxes, lots and lots of boxes.

My store is also a retail store so I'm fairly familiar with this process. The difference is that I take my cardboard (and paper) to the local recycling centre, where as this company I am at currently tosses all their cardboard in with their garbage. They fill a dumpster every week with it. I am debating g whether or not to confront the owner on this issue. I'm sure it would cost very little more, if any, to have a cardboard dumpster out back as well, as they could reduce their garbage pickup to every second week or less! I shall update the blog with any progress...