Dunia Marketplace’s Savor the World event was not a formal fundraiser. There were no tuxes or gowns inside the very intimate Sage Yoga and Wellness studio. The space was wall-to-wall with a community of Dunia Marketplace supporters, sipping and nibbling on specialty international foods.
Fair Trade retailer Dunia Marketplace has been, in some form, a part of Boise’s Hyde Park for 16 years. With only a few paid employees, the operation is supported through 1,500 hours split between 25 dedicated volunteers. And it seemed as if every volunteer brought their family and three more people to Savor the World.
It was E.B. White who said waking in the morning is a conflict between “a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” This sentiment sums up the role of Fair Trade. Co-organizer of Savor the World, Katie Sewell, told BW, “Dunia matters because Fair Trade matters.”
Sewell explained that educating consumers is just as important as organizing responsible selling and manufacturing.
“I don’t think people know the story to the things they buy,” Sewell said. "If they did, they might make different choices.”
Every guest at the fundraiser wore a white sticky tag with their name and interest: books, sign language, pottery, skiing, woodwork, music. Two women stood at a tall table with name tags that read "snowboarding" and "Morning Owl Farms." They were both longtime friends of Dunia’s director, Becky West. When asked if they would come back again next year, Morning Owl's Mary Rohlfing jokingly sighed: “We’ll be here until Becky gives up this job."
You couldn’t swing a sack of Fair Trade coffee beans without hitting a past or present Dunia volunteer. Suzie Hanks used to be a part of Dunia when it was 10,000 Villages and has since showed devotion through shopping there. Hanks was delighted to see so many people she’d never met before.
“As someone who used to know everyone involved, it is so exciting that at least 75 percent are new,” said Hanks. “People here tonight were probably brought by a friend who knew a volunteer and then saw a friend who knows someone else. Only in Boise do you find little circles of people crossing so often.”
Auction item donors included Boise Philharmonic, Record Exchange, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and an entire wall of goods from Hyde Park stores like Goody's and Urban Revival.
“There is also beer to bid on,” Cornelia Sprung announced to the crowd. “New Belgium donated eight cases, so bid on it and invite us to your party.”