Just One World Market was created for several reasons. Founders of the event wanted to be able to celebrate the holiday season and gift giving in a way that honoured the workers who created the products being sold. The event began in the late 1980s after two friends visited a number of artisans' cooperatives in Peru, and were impressed with the incredibly beautiful workmanship. The pair were compelled to support the artisans by providing them with access to a larger market and by compensating them with a fair price for their goods. After selling items purchased from the Peruvian cooperatives to friends and families, the need for a larger venue than their home was identified as well as the desire by other similar groups to access the public.

From these beginnings, the volunteer-run event “Just Christmas” was born. The name was chosen to reflect a desire to promote global fairness and support social justice. The groups that participate in Just One World Market follow the 10 principles of fair trade which outline the practices that support ethical treatment of producers. But the groups involved in Just One World Market go beyond these basic principles to create the conditions in which producers and artisans can thrive and create vibrant communities with the possibility for a brighter future for their children. Many of our non-profit and charitable participants do this through creating a partnership with an existing community-based group. In some cases, the capacity does not exist for these types of groups to emerge, particularly where people are extremely vulnerable, so the charity or non-profit provides the support to create a worker cooperative.

All of the money earned at Just One World Market goes directly to support the community-based groups and worker cooperatives in dozens of communities from South Africa and Zambia to Guatemala and Ecuador. The money is used for projects such as providing a school for children who would not have been able to attend school and providing seeds, seedlings and training for organic vegetable gardens. The social justice actions that our participating groups engage in range from the basic but essential such as providing toilets and septic systems to the urgent and challenging including fighting for gender equity and human rights.

You can help support the efforts of these ground-breaking groups by visiting the volunteers who will be at Just One World Market and learning more about what each group does, and by purchasing artisan-crafted items from them or by donating to their projects.