Mustard Seed celebrates two-year anniversary with fundraiser Friday

By TRUPTI RAMI

neighborhoods@columbiamissourian.com

“Punjammies,” sari blankets and a black pearl necklace are a few of the items up for auction at the Mustard Seed Fair Trade fundraiser Friday night.

Mustard Seed is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month with a fair trade fundraiser. The fundraiser includes food, beverages, live music with Brady Didion on guitar, a raffle, a silent auction and a staged fair trade apartment.

It will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in the catacombs at the Artlandish Gallery on Walnut Street.

“The space is really neat,” said Jessica Canfield, the executive director of Mustard. “We’re looking forward to living in it for the night and making it our own.”

Silent Auction items:
TRAMA Textiles

  • Set of four matching bags
    • Approximate retail value: $35
    • Starting bid: $17
  • Two Copa Cushion Covers from San Martin
    • Approximate retail value: $80
    • Starting bid: $40
  • Table Runner Culebrado
    • Approximate retail value: $40
    • Starting bid: $20
  • Notebook cover
    • Approximate retail value: $10
    • Starting bid: $5

Better Way Imports

  • Sari Bari Blanket
    • Approximate retail value: $80
    • Starting bid: $40
  • Night Light Pearl and Stone Necklace
    • Approximate retail value: $50
    • Starting bid: $25
  • Very Berry Bracelet
    • Approximate retail value: $22
    • Starting bid: $11
  • “Punjammies” and T-shirt:
    • Approximate retail value: $55
    • Starting bid: $20

A global connection

“The goal of this event is to raise funds to build a buying relationship with TRAMA Textiles and Better Way Imports,” Canfield said.

TRAMA is a weaving cooperation of 400 women in Guatemala, Canfield said. Better Way Imports is a fair trade wholesaler based in the United States that works with women in India and the Middle East, she said.

“I think when you do a fundraiser like this the goal isn’t to just raise money,” Canfield said. “It’s also to help the community understand more about fair trade.”

Mustard Seed’s mission is to provide sustainability to farmers and artisans around the world by marketing their goods. The store wants to connect Columbia with the global community through fair trade goods, Canfield said.

“We’re providing sustainability through enterprise,” Canfield said.

She also wants the community to learn more about the people behind the vendors.

“Many [of these women] have been rescued from brothels or sex trading,” Monica DeCrescenzo, event planning intern, said. “Some of these companies are teaching women the skills to be able to work.”

Fair trade fundraising

Mustard Seed purchased most of the auction items, but the International Princess Project donated the “punjammies” for the fundraiser.

“It’s something we’ve never had in the store.” DeCrescenzo said. “We’re excited about it.”

All the net proceeds from ticket and auction sales will go toward buying products from TRAMA Textiles and Better Way Imports.

“It’s interesting to realize that there are little things we can do every day to support someone far away,” DeCrescenzo said.

Canfield plans to set up the fair trade decorated, studio apartment in the pink piano room at the gallery. This will help people see that fair trade products are more than just art; they are functional, Canfield said.

Michelle Chase, a volunteer, will be putting together the fair trade apartment. Everything from the lamps to the jewelry used to decorate the space will be up for sale.

“People will be able to see how they can use the products in their home,” Chase said.

The fair trade products at Mustard Seed have an earthy, African-inspired design, Chase said. The mock apartment will, therefore, have the same feel, Chase said.

Local support

Local businesses will be helping with Friday’s event with cheese and crackers from Broadway Brewery, coffee from Lakota Coffee Company and desserts from Main Squeeze Natural Foods Café. Mustard Seed will provide fair trade wine, as well.

October is Fair Trade Month. Mustard Seed will be participating in the celebration in a number of community events, specifically by encouraging “reverse trick-or-treating” with fair trade chocolate during Halloweenie.

“It is an opportunity to promote fair trade awareness through candy,” Canfield said.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available in the store and online.

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