Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Can You Do to Make Your Town a Fair Trade Town?

Fairtrade is the global movement to bring about a better world through regulating and labeling products Fairtrade if they meet certain criteria. These criteria relate to fair pricing, employment practices and environmental sustainability.  They help build local businesses, agriculture and artists. 

If you believe strongly in this movement, you may want to do more than buy Fairtrade products and share your enthusiasm for fair trade with others.  One thing you can work towards is to make your town a Fair Trade town.  Here’s how:

Sign announcing Leuven's Fair Trade Town status
Sign announcing Leuven's Fair Trade Town status (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step One:

Visit Fair Trade Towns USA.  It’s a national movement devoted to helping unite people just like you with others around the country. 

Step Two:
Understand and begin working within your community to meet the five Fair Trade town criteria, which include:

* Form a steering committee
* Outreach to area retailers
* Engaging the community
* Gain media attention
* Pass a fair trade resolution

They suggest a few principles to help you create your Fair Trade town.  These suggestions include:

* Find key influencers in your community and contact them.
* Demonstrate an interest in your community for change. 
* Educate key influencers – tell them what Fairtrade is, how your community is motivated for change and how they can go about meeting this demand. 
* Publicize your successes to further reach members in your community and to motivate further change.

English: A Traidcraft Fairtrade stall in a chu...
Fairtrade show stall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step Three:

Host an event. Events are a great way to cover several of your steps in one fell swoop.  You can gain the media attention you need, educate your community and reach your local movers and shakers (and influence politicians) with one key event.  Event suggestions include:

* Concerts
* Wine/food tastings (with fair trade products)
* Fashion Show

If you’re stumped or would like to recruit help to make your town a Fair Trade town, consider contacting other Fair Trade towns in your state.  They’ll have the experience and connections to guide you.  A Fair Trade town is a town you can be proud of, and as more and more Fair Trade towns pop up around the country, awareness will spread and person by person, town by town, the world will become a better place. 

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