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About Trade Roots

Welcome to Trade Roots!

So often people come into the store and ask, “What made you do this?” Simple question; not so easy answer….. In short, fair trade principles and a fair trade store/coffee shop, combined with involvement with the local community are a mixture of all my passions in one! I majored in international relations in college because of an interest in foreign cultures, history and politics. Several years later, I received a masters in public administration and have worked mostly in the non profit arena because I find that work the most fulfilling. I moved to Washington, DC after college thinking I’d join the Peace Corps, World Bank or AID. But as often happens in life; well, life just got in the way. 

So four boys and thousands of APS volunteer hours later,  I started thinking about how to get back, in part, to the reason I came to DC to begin with!  While visiting a beautiful fair trade store in Warrenton, VA in the summer of 2012 and reading a wonderful book about up-cycling in India, (Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Kathryn Boo) it came to me: I could open a store here that supports people there.  A fair trade store and coffee shop in Arlington fills a niche in this  community and farmers/artisans in developing countries need a place for their products.  A win-win! Why fair trade ? In so many countries around the world, talented craftsmen are recycling aluminum cans, textiles, and telephone wire to make beautiful and original jewelry, scarves, bags, etc. Similarly, small-scale coffee growers produce beans that showcase the rich, one-of-a-kind flavors and notes from their particular farm. In both of these cases, their work reflects their cultural identity and is often so different from what we find here. Fair trade allows hard-working men and women from developing countries, slums, small villages or in places of hardship, to create, work and sell their products by taking down many of the barriers to trade. Fair trade respects and appreciates hardworking people, provides a living wage for marginalized populations, supports the conservation of the environment and empowers women and minorities.

Thanks for visiting the site. By purchasing fair trade products, you are taking a step toward alleviating poverty, developing communities, even allowing for clean water. Come by our gift store to see some of the amazing products, or place an order online! And please continue to check the site often for new products and artisan stories. On behalf of the thousands of artists from Africa to South America, from Asia to Denver, CO who have products at the store, thank you

Lisa Ostroff, Trade Roots