A couple of weeks ago Carri and I were glad to get to attend the Fair Trade Federation conference in Louisville, Kentucky. I could ramble on and on about this annual gathering of motivated people, but just one thing for today: many of our new friends were surprised that we have Fair Trade stores in Kansas. They would really raise their eyebrows when they found out the size of the towns in which we get to have stores. (One gal said that her town of 300,000 was too small to support a Fair Trade store.)
Now, granted, we aren’t really making it yet. The bank is helping us through until we are hopefully sustained, but I didn’t think twice about having Fair Trade in Kansas! There are good people everywhere who want to support good things! There are people of 'The Book' everywhere who understand Fair Trade as God’s way of doing business. There are people everywhere who are mindful of our planet who want to support businesses who are also mindful. There are people everywhere who appreciate other cultures, who celebrate the arts, who drink good coffee and who wear becoming clothing.
This might not be new news, but Kansas is a state that is so red that we make national and international news when there is an election that is even somewhat close for a Democratic challenger. I wonder if this contributes to the surprise that we have Fair Trade stores in Kansas - as if being a Republican is mutually exclusive from being a person who supports fair payment and treatment of poor people. One would need to look no further than my extended family to see solid Republicans who support Fair Trade. They are farmers, for goodness sakes! They want other farmers to get paid fairly for their crops. It's not that surprising.
Of course Kansas needs Fair Trade stores just like Fair Trade artisans and farmers need for there to be stores in Kansas.
This weekend a few of us in Lindsborg got to have supper with Christine Connell who is an attorney and has a wildly popular Instagram account for her adventure travels. We were excited to hear about all things Instagram, but Christine might feel more comfortable alone in the beautiful outdoors than with five people staring at her excitedly and peppering her with questions. So, we turned the tables and told her all about we love about Lindsborg and Kansas! I suppose I/we went on and on and perhaps others had too because it made it into her blog post about her weekend in our state! ;)
It is awesome to get to live in Kansas.
Today I’m tired-as-all-get-out and the boys don’t have school so we’re just lounging around our little Lindsborg main street. It's quite amazing. We’re two doors away from Jim and Kathy Richardson at Small World Gallery. Jim is a very talented and successful (!) National Geographic photographer. (Just a couple of years ago Jim was voted the best of the NatGeo photographers by his peers.) Kathy sources amazing materials with which she and her colleague Brianna make jewelry. Small World is special. It's the only gallery of a National Geographic photographer in the nation and it's in this little town of 3500. These two take time to chat, they volunteer, they are extremely generous, witty, thoughtful and positive. They could have chosen to live anywhere in the world and they chose Lindsborg. That's something.
We are caddy-corner from Tara Killingsworth at The Ivory Thimble who just celebrated one year in business on Saturday. She's an apparel designer and worked in California previously. She's young and cool. She could have chosen to stay there or take her extraordinary talent anywhere else. She chose to be in Lindsborg. Isn’t it amazing?
I could go on and on about our other neighbors in Lindsborg and then have more to tell about neighbors in Salina and Manhattan.
Kansas is full of genuine, authentic, good people. There are curmudgeons here and there of course, but no more than anywhere else.
We have awesome art. We have beautiful skies. We have interesting people who are truthful and good to their core. Here people care about one another and show it in many and varied ways. We have Fair Trade stores. For all of this, we give thanks.