Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Writing for Fair Trade

As the winner of the 2010 I Love Fair Trade contest, sponsored by Your Olive Branch, Bryan Parys ’04, received generous prize packages from the fair trade and organic clothing line Indigenous Designs, and the fair trade food distributor Alter Eco. Pictured above is Parys buried under countless pounds of his bounty.

Parys’ written submission “Seeing Max in the Backyard” garnered over 40 percent of the vote. People across the world applied to the contest to creatively express what fair trade products mean to them through words, video, images and other media. “The response was tremendous,” says Tom Willits, Your Olive Branch’s executive director. “To see people from across the globe sending us their words, their artwork, their videos, and even their songs about the importance of fair trade–it was a truly uplifting experience.”

So what does a $2,000 prize of fair trade products look like? Some of the products include fair trade sugar, black quinoa, coral red jasmine rice, purple jasmine rice, extra virgin olive oil, and various kinds of chocolate. Many in the Gordon College community voted for Parys’ entry—which reflected on many personal experiences. In fact, after posting news of his essay submission on Gordon’s Facebook page, votes for Parys rapidly began to increase over the national competition.

Bryan Parys has a B.A. in English from Gordon College. After graduation he pursued his M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at the University of New Hampshire while teaching for the university. He also writes a regular column called Sporks in Stillpoint magazine. To watch a video of Parys reading the latest column at this year’s Homecoming Weekend, click here.

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