Nguyet is one of the thousands of artisans around the world that Ten Thousand Villages supports and works with to bring their products from, in her case Vietnam, their home countries to Canada. Photo submitted.

Ten Thousand Villages Market returns to Cariboo Bethel this month

“Ten Thousand Villages is an organization globally that focuses on fair trade”

As Christmas approaches and craft fair season kicks into full fear, lakecity shoppers will be happy to see the return of a popular and classic craft fair in the form of the Ten Thousand Villages Market.

The Ten Thousands Villages Market was traditionally hosted by the Cariboo Bethel Church and gave the lakecity a chance to purchase quality handmade goods from around the world. It has been on a hiatus for the last few years, however, Cariboo Bethel’s spokeswoman and administrator, local artist Jasmine Alexander, said the church and the market’s organizer Donna Brown are happy to be bringing back this event.

“Ten Thousand Villages is an organization globally that focuses on fair trade and sustainable merchandise of products. They have a mandate of supporting global artisans,” Alexander said.

Organizers will be bringing back familiar products and try to provide the overall same feeling as past markets. The main difference is the way they’re hosting it, Alexander said, as while the partnership is the same, they’re doing it through a different more personal avenue.

“The cool thing is that nationally they pulled their market campaign because they weren’t as profitable as they were hoping, but Williams Lake was one of the only outstanding small towns that saw huge profits and proceeds,” Alexander said. “It speaks a lot to Williams Lake’s craft market culture.”

READ MORE: Ten Thousand Villages sale develops fair trade relations

The profits from the sale of items at the market do not go directly to the church, Alexander said, but rather go right back to Ten Thousand Villages to support artisans and craftspeople around the world.

All products on sale are made by people in 26 different countries across the world from Vietnam to Peru, Ethiopia to Bangladesh, and are often eco-conscious and made of sustainable materials like natural fibres, Alexander said. Handmade jewellery, baskets, pottery, foods like chocolate and coffee with a Christmas section consisting of toys, clothing and decorations will all be on sale, she added.

“We’re encouraging Williams Lake to shop local, this is something that I think our community already knows quite well for this time of year but we’re also supporting a global economy as well and supporting international artists,” Alexander said. “It’s a fun intersection of shopping local and global at the same time.”

All told, she thinks they’ll have thousands of items on sale and that the Christmas products and food will sell out quickly.

The Ten Thousand Villages Market is on this year from Nov. 21 to Nov 23 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday while the Saturday market will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cariboo Bethel Church’s basement.

Along with the market, Alexander said they’re bringing back the accompanying Youth Group Café as well. It was something she said a lot of people look forward to as they provide coffee, desserts, soups and more that have been made by the church’s youth group. They use the funds raised to go on trips in the new year, with a planned destination of L.A. this year to help an organization called Dream Center.

READ MORE: Handmade in Cariboo back next week

As Alexander herself has not yet gotten the chance to experience one of these markets, she said she’s really looking forward to seeing both the products and the artists stories that go with them.

“It’s great to know you can do something to be a smart and intentional shopper because during the Christmas season we’re kind of bombarded by consumer culture and I think Ten Thousand Villages and the other craft markets that are in town are a great way to shop local and shop smart,” Alexander said.


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