Monday, November 21, 2011

Alternative Gift Markets Galore

We are so excited to experience an explosion of Alternative Gift Markets here in San Diego.  Since October, there have been seven Alternative Gift Markets here in San Diego County (that we know about) and now we have three more to tell you about.

For event specifics, please see our Upcoming Events Calendar to the right.

Sunday, November 27th
Alternative Christmas Market
St. Davids Episcopal Church

Wednesday, December 7th
Fair Trade Holiday Event
Wine Vault and Bistro

Saturday, December 10th
San Diego's Peace Bazaar
Mid-City Gym

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We Are Thankful For Fair Trade

November is a month that brings to mind the word “thanksgiving.” Yet with all the political, economic, and religious turmoil in our world it sometimes seems difficult to be thankful. But we believe that no matter how stressful or problematic our lives may be there is always something for which we can give thanks. And the best way to express our gratitude is to support one another and reach out to others in need. This can be as simple as sharing a smile with a homeless person, volunteering at a food pantry, driving a senior to the grocery store or contributing to your favorite cause. 

Buying Fair Trade certified products is another way to embody gratitude by helping those who are in need. The money you spend on Fair Trade products supports growers and artisans in developing countries. This year as you contemplate what you’re thankful for think Fair Trade!

For ideas on how to Fair Trade your Thanksgiving, Green America has created a great "5 Ways to Go Fair Trade for Thanksgiving" list.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alternative Gift Fairs - November and December 2011

Alternative Gift Fairs are excellent for finding socially and environmentally responsible goodies.  Odds are good that you will find that unique and purposeful gift for the person who already has everything this holiday season.

Saturday, November 5th
United Methodist Church Alternative Gift Fair
Julian Town Hall
2129 Main St
Julian, CA 92036
phone: 760-803-4359

Saturday, November 5th
Justice Day
4pm – 6pm
Kit Carson Park Amphitheater
3339 Bear Valley Pkwy
Escondido CA 92025

Saturday, November 12th – 13th
Work of Human Hands Sale
Gift Fair will be open after masses:
Saturday - 5:30pm
Sunday  - 7am, 9am, 11am, 5pm
St. Brigid Parish
4735 Cass Street
San Diego, CA  92109

Saturday, November 19th – 20th
Fair Trade Holiday Sale
10am-4pm – Nov 19th
United Church of Christ of La Mesa
between church services – Nov 20th
940 Kelton Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91942

Sunday, November 20th
Alternative Christmas Market
Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
120 Stevens Ave
Solana Beach, CA 92075
phone: 858-509-2580

Sunday, November 20th
Alternative Gifts Expo
8:30am – 2pm
St. Paul’s Cathedral
2728 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA  92103

Sunday, November 27th
Alternative Christmas Market
St. David’s Episcopal Church
5050 Milton St.
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 276-4567

Saturday, December 10th
San Diego’s Peace Bazaar
Mid-City Gym
43rd and Landis St.
San Diego, CA  92105

Please let us know if there are any Alternative Gift Fairs in San Diego county that we are missing!  We'd love to include them on our list.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UPDATE: La Mesa Fair Trade Resolution

During the past few months we have been bringing you news of the ongoing campaign to make La Mesa a Fair Trade Town. The campaign continues and is learning weekly from the process. At the urging of some city council members, perhaps too soon, La Mesa Fair Trade got itself on the agenda for the October 11th city council meeting to vote on passage of a council resolution in support of Fair Trade Town status. Despite strong support from two council members, other city council members were not yet ready to support passage of the resolution.

Fair Trade Proponents at La Mesa City Council Meeting

Even though the vote before the La Mesa City Council did not result in the passage of a Fair Trade Town resolution, La Mesa Fair Trade and Fair Trade San Diego are further energized to continue our efforts of working in partnership with La Mesa City Council to pass a resolution in support of La Mesa being declared a Fair Trade Town as well to continue our broader efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of Fair Trade certified products.

Since October 11th, the La Mesa Fair Trade steering committee has been meeting one on one with La Mesa city council members to further clarify what it means to pass a city resolution in favor of Fair Trade Town status.

In addition, committee members continue to meet with local merchants who currently sell Fair Trade products as well as those who are interested in beginning to do so.  As a result of the city council vote, the campaign received media attention from the East County Magazine, the La Mesa Patch and the Union Tribune. During October, Fair Trade San Diego was able to have a letter to the editor published in all three media outlets so as to let the community know that the efforts to make La Mesa a Fair Trade Town have not slowed.

According to Fair Trade Towns USA, "The Fair Trade Towns designation provides a platform for continued outreach and education to build the Fair Trade movement locally and deepen each community's commitment to international justice". Passing a city council resolution is one of the last stages in the process of becoming a Fair Trade Town and is a recognition of support for organizations such as La Mesa Fair Trade to promote consumption of Fair Trade certified products and educate on their impact. A city council resolution is not an endorsement of any particular local business.

Links to read letters to editor:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Planning a Fair Trade Halloween?

Fair Trade minis from
If the horrors of child slavery that riddle the cocoa industry spook you year round, then Halloween must be a truly frightful time of year for you!  You don’t feel right about giving out chocolate involving child labor to little trick-or-treaters, but hiding out in the bedroom on the night of the 31st with all the house lights out  to avoid the situation doesn’t seem much better.

To avoid this dilemma, you might want to take a few pointers from about planning ahead to find Fair Trade candy for those cute little goblins that will be haunting your doorstep in a couple weeks.  YOU STILL HAVE TIME!  They have a few great recommendations.
"Let me start by telling you that the key to a fair trade Halloween is to prepare well in advance. In fact, now is the time. You cannot simply choose at the very last minute to do a fair trade Halloween because you will not find fun-sized chocolate and individually wrapped fair trade candy at a reasonable price.
However, don’t fear. The solution is literally at your fingertips. Shop online at,, or now and place your order in time to have your fair trade Halloween candy for trick or treating or for the fall festival you are planning. Choosing to offer a slave free option at Halloween is a great way to spread awareness about fair trade."

Friday, October 14, 2011

October is Fair Trade Month!

This October is the 8th annual Fair Trade Month in the United States. Fair Trade month was started by Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade Federation and Fair Trade Resource Network to raise awareness of the positive impact purchasing fair trade products has. The main reasons why fair trade is important, is the opportunities it offers to producers (mainly in developing countries) to earn a sustainable wage and invest in the social development of their communities while decreasing the environmental harm caused by other production methods.

Generally throughout the month, fair trade and ethically minded consumers and  fair trade vendors join forces to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. Numerous education events, and other product focused activities proliferate during the month to help increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, with the end goal of improved livelihoods for farmers and workers in developing countries.

One of the biggest events that takes place during Fair Trade Month is Reverse Trick or Treating, headed by San Francisco based Global Exchange. Instead of the usual Halloween routine, tables are turned and trick-or-treaters will be handing Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution. To participate, order your FREE kit by the upcoming deadline of Oct 17th!

Just launched this month by Fair Trade USA, the US certifier for fair trade importers, is the Fair Trade Finder which is the first-of-its-kind crowd-sourced directory that lets you find, add, tag and photograph Fair Trade Certified products wherever you are. The new “Fair Trade FinderFacebook and mobile (iPhone and Android) application is FREE and can be downloaded at Android and iTunes. We hope you will join Fair Trade San Diego in raising local awareness for fair trade by adding your favorite San Diego fair trade hot spots.

Also don’t forget to stop by this Sunday, October 16th at the La Mesa Fair Trade Gift Faire at St Martin of Tours Catholic Church at 7710 El Cajon Blvd, La Mesa between 8am and 1pm to celebrate local fair trade vendors and continue the celebration of Fair Trade Month here in San Diego.

Monday, October 10, 2011

La Mesa Fair Trade Towns campaign in action!

Denise and Anne at the Sustain La Mesa Enviro Festival
The La Mesa Fair Trade Towns campaign is really gaining momentum!  They are on track to reach their goal of becoming California’s 5th Fair Trade Town by February of 2012, if not sooner!  They have achieved three of the five necessary badges required to become an official “Fair Trade Town” and will be presenting a Resolution to the City of La Mesa tomorrow in hopes of receive their 4th badge which signifies gaining local government’s support.

Their Team badge was earned by forming their very effective and passionate Steering Committee, their Media badge was attained by attracting media attention and visible public support and their Retailers badge was secured by ensuring there are a designated number of Fair Trade retailers in La Mesa.  For an interactive map of these Fair Trade vendors, click here.

With the organizational support they have been receiving, they are making great strides towards their Town  badge which requires that Fair Trade products are used by a number of local organizations, such as places of worship, schools, hospitals and offices. It’s exciting to see the growing awareness of Fair Trade which is anticipated to build a demand for Fair Trade products in La Mesa, thereby providing increased benefits for farmers, workers and artisans in developing countries. 

Please join us tomorrow, October 11, 2011, to show your support as the La Mesa Fair Trade Towns steering committee presents their Fair Trade resolution to the La Mesa City Council.

City Council Chambers La Mesa City Hall
8130 Allison Avenue
La Mesa, CA

Thursday, October 6, 2011

LISTEN UP! Coffee as a Virtue podcast

To celebrate Fair Trade month, an enlightening and genuine conversation with Stephan von Kolkow and Laurie Britton of Café Virtuoso is featured on The Common Good podcast with host Lee Van Ham!  The co-owners of this organic and fair trade coffee company in San Diego discuss how Fair Trade looks to them as businesspeople with a bottom line to mind.

Stephen and Laurie each give personal accounts of how they started Cafe Virtuoso, how they educate customers on the products, the pros and cons of Fair Trade’s certification and the trends in the industry.

It turns out to be a bit more expensive, yes, but it was hard to turn down since their experience at farmer’s markets taught them that individual customers were asking more and more for Fair Trade product. Seeing the demand, they in turn led the way with their wholesale customers, a victory for Fair Trade as more and more vendors will be moving FT product at an increasing scale that bodes well for FT to be a sustainable model.

Listen to free podcast here: Episode 18: Coffee as a Virtue

The Common Good postcasts, a project of Jubilee Economic Ministries, profile aspects of sustainable economic practices that move us toward a model that is in compliance with Earth’s abundance.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Fair Trade Bike Ride

Day 29, Bay Area Fair Trade

Back in July, Fair Trade San Diego received word of a biker dedicated to fair trade who was making his way down the coast from Vancouver, British Columbia.  While we weren’t able to meet up with Kieran during his time in San Diego, we wanted to be sure and share his message with all of you.  Below is a message from Kieran.  Keep in mind that this message is over a month old.  He has since traveled over 3,400 miles and is now in Mexico en route to Chile!

What I'm doing is a personal initiative after being involved with Fair Trade Vancouver for the last 18 months I wanted to get some more in-depth knowledge of Fair Trade and how it's helping/affecting the actual producers. I have wanted to take time to travel and enjoy cycling so I put all of that together as inspiration for my trip. I'd love to get sponsorship/backing from interested groups but that's a bonus really.

In Vancouver I can see how the efforts of the group can pay off with increased sales/awareness of FT within the city, but finding out more for myself and hopefully then spreading that knowledge when I'm back is my minimum goal.

So far I've made it all the way from Vancouver [to Southern California], taking about 6 weeks to do 2,000 miles or so. To Santiago I'll probably do another 6.000 miles at least, depending on routes. So far I've had Fair Trade visits to Thanksgiving Coffee in Fort Bragg, FT USA and Alter Eco but it's likely I won't have much now until southern Mexico, but plenty of opportunities after that.

To learn more about Kieran’s ride and to read about what he has learned along the way visit his blog at

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Understanding Fair Trade Labels

I have engaged in many conversations about fair trade over the years and on more than one occasion questions about fair trade certification has come up. Since the topic of certification is such a large and involved topic I won’t spend time here trying to answer all of the questions that I have heard.  However, I would like to refer you to the Fair Trade Resource Network, which has several webinars on its website targeting the ins and outs of the Fair Trade Certifying process.

In this blog entry I would like to present the labels that consumers should keep an eye out for when looking for Fair Trade. While there may be many vendors selling fairly traded or direct trade items, Fair Trade San Diego is unable to hold those vendors accountable to the principles of Fair Trade.  Therefore, we promote items that are certified with the following organization and therefore held to the standards of fair trade put forth by each certifier. Fair Trade San Diego encourages vendors to consider having their fairly traded items certified with the following organizations as well.

Read more here for an explanation of labels.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Visit from Fair Trade Towns USA

On Sunday, July 31st several supporters of fair trade gathered at Café Virtuoso to meet with Courtney Lang of Fair Trade USA and Gilbert Ramirez of San Isidro, Costa Rica, which was the first Fair Trade Town in Latin America.  The group discussed Fair Trade San Diego’s efforts to make La Mesa a Fair Trade Town and also heard first hand the positive affects fair trade has had on Gilbert’s community.  He discussed the strides his coffee and sugar coop are taking to spread the word and benefits of fair trade in his community and in Costa Rica.  The afternoon lead to invigorating and educational conversations, which deepened San Diego’s commitment to fair trade and its commitment to making La Mesa a Fair Trade Town.

Friday, May 6, 2011


May 7th, 1pm-4pm

The Ideal Hotel, 542 3rd Ave, 92101 mapquest

On May 7th, in celebration of World Fair Trade Day, Fair Trade San Diego is hosting a free afternoon of Fair Trade desserts, drinks and a movie at the newly renovated Ideal Hotel, a project of The Red Lotus Society, in downtown San Diego.  The powerful documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate, investigates how human trafficking and child labor in the Ivory Coast fuels the worldwide chocolate industry.  After the movie, a discussion will be held with local leaders in Fair Trade and representatives from Global Exchange and Cal Poly.

Over a two week time span, Fair Trade San Diego will be joining people across North America to celebrate World Fair Trade Day and encouraging 100,000+ people to do the same at numerous events.  Coordinated by the Fair Trade Resource Network, World Fair Trade Day is a global celebration of Fair Trade held each year with hundreds of thousands of people in over 80 countries participating. In 2009, World Fair Trade Day in North America involved 65,020 people at 456 events.

This is an entirely free event with the purpose of raising greater awareness of Fair Trade, so that all trade becomes fair. Fair Trade helps producers in developing countries get paid a fair wage and work in healthy conditions.  U.S. consumers are currently supporting millions of farmers and artisans who make the goods we consume and enjoy buy purchasing over one billion dollars of Fair Trade products annually.  If fact, Fair Trade imports of coffee, vanilla, honey, tea, cocoa, sugar, and more have skyrocketed in the past 5 years even while sales of "green" household products decline. A new report out by Fair Trade USA shows that Fair Trade Certified™ organic imports skyrocketed in 2010 with more than 9,500 Fair Trade Certified consumer products offered by more than 700 industry partners at more than 60,000 retail locations.

This year’s World Fair Trade Day event will be located at 542 3rd Ave, at the Ideal Hotel in downtown San Diego from 1pm – 4pm. Guests will be treated to fair trade tastings of Theo Chocolate, Marcie Sweets Chocolate, Angell Organic Candy Bars, fair trade flavors of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Café Virtuoso’s coffee and tea. Door prizes also include unique fair trade gifts from The Purpose, Lucuma, Exotic World Gifts, Karma Market and Cafe Virtuoso.

Free 3 hour parking at Horton Plaza. No purchases necessary. Visit one of the self-validating machines.  The lot is just 1 block away (2 minute walk) at 3rd and G.

The Red Lotus Society’s mission is to promote peace through meditation by creating environments for the study and practice of mindfulness, community, and cultural awareness.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Change the world by changing your breakfast!

How? Have a Fair Trade breakfast and help Wake up the World by educating friends and family about the benefits of supporting Fair Trade. A Fair Trade breakfast is a shared morning meal that features as many Fair Trade Certified products as possible.  Fair Trade USA has listed a few ways you can get involved.

Fair Trade San Diego advisory committee members Woke Up The World this morning with delicious fair trade treats at Cafe Virtuoso. Fair Trade goodies included coffee and tea from Cafe Virtuoso and banana chocolate muffins and a fresh red quinoa salad both created with love from Carolyn and Becca. 

As committee members enjoyed their tasty fair trade breakfast, they put the final touches on their event plan for the World Fair Trade Day event taking place this Saturday, May 7th, in downtown San Diego.   An event not to be missed!

Becca's Fair Trade Quinoa Salad Recipe (serves 4)
1 cup Fair Trade red quinoa
1 cucumber cubed
2 tomotoes cubed
1/2 jar of olives
1/2 jar of artichoke hearts
1/2 round of cotija cheese
chopped cilantro to taste
1 lemon squeezed

Cook quinoa as directed on package and let it cool.
Cube all the veggies, mix them together and squeeze in lemon
Crumble the cheese into the mix
Mix in the quinoa, Chill and Enjoy!

Carolyn's Fair Trade Banana Chocolate Muffin Recipe (makes 18)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe Fair Trade bananas
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. Fair Trade vanilla extract
3/4 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 c. Fair Trade sugar
1/2 c. packed Fair Trade light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 c. Fair Trade chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 18 muffin pan wells with paper liners.

In a medium-size bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowel, use a fork to mash the bananas, then stir in the milk and vanilla extract
until well blended.

In  large bowl, use a mixer set on medium speed to beat together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Reduce mixer speed to low and blend in one-third of the flour mixture.  Add half the banana mixture and blend again.  Continue alternating between the flour and banana mixtures, until all the ingredients have been incorporated into the batter.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 - 25 minutes.  Let the muffin cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To freeze the muffins, wrap them in foil or freezer wrap or put them in freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place an unwrapped muffin  on a paper towel and microwave on high for 20 seconds.  Foil-wrapped muffins ca  be reheated in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fair is Fair is…Fashion

By Courtney Wantink - FASHIONING CHANGE

Eco-friendly fashion has suddenly made a leap into areas I never could have predicted or imagined. But for a girl whose closet is full of thrift-store deals, I tend to ignore this progress. Well…I used to. However, my passion for fair trade and the positive effect it can have in so many ways has ignited in me an irreversible interest in all things ethical and eco-friendly. The fair trade coffee? Check. Fair trade chocolate? All stocked up. When it comes to fashion however, I find my fair choices to be more limited.

A relatively recent step by Fair Trade USA (formerly Transfair USA), as of December 2010, was to announce an Ethical Fashion Certification Label. This, of course, requires members to meet standards regarding the environment, labor/wages, manufacturing, and more. As of yet, there are only four approved retailers. While this is a great beginning, I know there are many others out there making great efforts to be ethical in their production of clothing. Both within and outside of the US, designers and brands are working to localize production, meet environmental standards, pay fair wages, and even create clothing whose life cycle is limitless. Such steps as natural dyes, sustainably-grown fabrics, and cradle-to-cradle design are emerging rapidly in an industry infamous for its impact on the world.

Through the course of my work at Fashioning Change, I’m finding that many ‘green’ brands exist that haven’t achieved the fair trade status - largely because of certification costs. Yet often, non-certified brands are equally fair and transparent in showing the life cycle of their products. It’s important, then to keep an open mind when searching for ‘fair trade’ apparel - it may not have the label, but could very well be doing many things right.

Fashioning Change is working to bring visibility to eco-friendly and ethical brands that have not necessarily achieved fair trade status. Part of our vision is to recognize those consumers who seek to truly be green and fair, and connect them with information that will allow them to both live and shop as such. We seek to look after health, the earth, and human rights all at once; we strive to implement a systemic change in the way consumers shop and retailers provide. Everyday brings more information, more retailers anxious to have a positive impact (and not just on their own bank accounts). Through Fashioning Change’s green shopping intervention app we will make it easy for shoppers to easily find authentic ethical and eco-friendly clothing and products (sign-up now for a sneak peak).

Fashion has always been an evolving industry- season to season I have scarcely been able to wrap my head around new trends. Regardless of what color you’ll put in your wardrobe this spring, the good news is that it CAN be ethical.

Fair Trade San Diego asks consumers to look for the fair trade label when making their purchases.  However, since fair trade clothing is so limited in terms of certification, (click here to see which brands are fair trade certified in the US) we encourage shoppers to make ethical choices when purchasing clothing. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Maya Vinic – A Fair Trade Coffee Co-op in Chiapas

The University of San Diego and Catholic Relief Services (Mexico) have committed to an ongoing relationship with Maya Vinic, a fair trade coffee co-op in Chiapas, Mexico. This opportunity and process has been a unique journey for USD and CRS as partners for the purpose of educating university students and in creating a relationship built on the intention of solidarity with a specific fair trade coffee cooperative. 

Most recent developments will be the arrival of a cooperative member and CRS Mexico staff to San Diego on April 25th. USD, with the support of CRS West, have organized a cupping event through the gracious hosting of Cafe Virtuoso to explore the possibilities to diversify the market for Maya Vinic and to discuss the realities of trade and sales for fair trade cooperatives with local roasters and coffee shop owners. The trip will culminate with a presentation on the campus of USD given by the co-op member and CRS staff on April 26th at 6:30 pm in the University Center. All are welcome to attend.
For any info or questions, please email or visit Fair Trade San Diego on our Facebook page.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Craving Something Salty or Sweet?

Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade

Those of you who happened to be up at 12:30 am on March 3, 2011, may have seen the debut of Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, aptly named Late Night Snack.  It’s a euphoric flavor made with Fair Trade Certified vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chip clusters. Late Night Snack is the latest line of Fair Trade flavors by Ben & Jerry’s who is committed to transitioning all eligible ingredients in their ice cream to Fair Trade Certified. 

Why Fair Trade? Jerry Greenfield says, “Fair Trade is about making sure people get a fair share of the pie. The whole concept of fair trade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.” Ben, Jerry and the company as a whole, has continued to display this type of social leadership over the years, and was recognized in January with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center’s Annual Salute to Greatness Award. 

Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village is proud to share in the good values of Fair Trade. In September 2010, Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village raised awareness of its growing number of Fair Trade flavors by serving over 600 Fair Trade ice cream scoops in the Annual California Coastal Clean Up Day at Mission Bay High School. The goal of the Seaport Village Ben & Jerry’s is to have all flavors certified Fair Trade by the end of 2013, but in the meantime, Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village is committed to making San Diego a more Fair Trade city by working with offices, schools, community organizations, like Fair Trade San Diego and retailers promoting the values of fair trade. “Ben & Jerry’s is glad to be part of the growing movement, which allows socially conscious consumers to have a positive impact on the people and communities in the developing world.”

April 12, 2011, Ben & Jerry’s is having its annual Free Cone Day from 12:00 – 8:00 PM nationwide. It’s in honor of Ben & Jerry’s 33 years of being in business. However, more importantly, it’s a day we thank our valued customers for their continued support. In keeping with Ben & Jerry’s social mission, we have partnered with a non-profit organization to raise awareness and funds for their good work. So if you have a craving for ice cream the 2nd Tuesday in April, come down to Seaport Village and enjoy a scoop of Chocowlate Chip, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, Milk & Cookies, Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla or even the vaunted, Late Night Snack. It’s FREE and FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED. Don’t forget to take a picture with “Fair Trade Nellie.” 

Ben & Jerry’s Seaport Village, 859 A West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fair Trade San Diego 2011 Local Shopping Guide & Resources

Fair Trade San Diego is happy to announce its 2011 Local Fair Trade Shopping Guide.  This guide offers a long, though not exhaustive, list of places to buy Fair Trade goods in San Diego County. It is exciting to see the many different options concerned shoppers have when purchasing Fair Trade. The list features both vendors with storefronts and online, and also has a list of websites offering information and resources on Fair Trade. 

To access this great list click on the ‘Resources’ button on our blog.

Do you know a shop selling Fair Trade that isn’t on our list? Let us know their information and we will be happy to add them!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hershey announces it will go 100% Fair Trade by 2012!


Hersey has not gone fair trade, let alone 100% fair trade…yet! can help make this dream a reality by supporting the Raise the Bar campaign to make Hersey fair trade!  There are many great ways that you can participate in and promote this very important campaign.  

Visit and click on ‘Take Action’ to learn what you can do to send the message to Hersey that you would like all of its chocolate to be fair trade.

According to the Raise the Bar campaign, Hersey chocolate accounts for 42.5% of the US market and countless people work for Hersey in abysmal conditions. Just imagine! If Hersey begins implementing fair trade principles innumerable people would see better working conditions and pay.

Thanks for being a good sport!  Now, will you please play this little prank on your friends and followers?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

World Fair Trade Day 2011 in San Diego

World Fair Trade Day is just around the corner. This is the day each year that supporters of Fair Trade around the global gather to spread the word about Fair Trade. Fair Trade San Diego has participated in this very fun event for the past several years, and we will again this year as well!

Join Fair Trade San Diego, Saturday, May 7th at the Red Lotus Society at The Ideal Hotel in downtown San Diego for an exciting afternoon filled with an array of Fair Trade activities. View the film “The Dark Side of Chocolate” to learn about the injustices in the chocolate industry. Hear from speakers who are working to change these unjust conditions for workers, and learn how you can help, too.  Meet local Fair Trade vendors, hear their stories and taste their delicious coffee, tea and chocolate.  This event should prove to prove to be a remarkable one, and we hope that you can join us.  More details will soon follow.

To learn more about World Fair Trade Day visit

Save the Date for World Fair Trade Day San Diego
Saturday, May 7th, 2011
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
at the Red Lotus Society

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Fair Trade St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day evokes very fond memories for me as a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.  In Cleveland, the streets of downtown are filled with people ranging in age from infant to senior citizen.  The green beer flows, Irish songs are sung loudly, St. Patrick’s Irish Catholic Church is packed, and the bagpipes ring out.  It is a special time for Clevelanders and many others.  But this year I am taking a different look at St. Patrick’s Day.

In honor of this green-filled day, I would like to reflect on fair trade and its contribution to the green movement.  One of the fair trade principles is to encourage better environmental practices.  This includes shade-grown coffee, which requires little-to-no chemical fertilizers and which provides a habitat for birds, thus promoting biodiversity.  And while all fair trade products are not organic, consumers have many choices that are, and fair trade farmers are given incentive to grow organic products.  For example, a pound of organic fair trade coffee is sold at a higher rate than non-organic.  In addition to ethical green practices, fair trade also fosters better working conditions for producers, including no child labor. It creates opportunities for economically disadvantaged communities and among other things, it supports fair prices for products being farmed and handmade, which follow the fair trade principles.

This St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps you could dye your Peaks Organic Fair Trade Espresso Amber Ale green, don a green Ethos Paris Sirene Organic Dress, eat some Theo’s mint dark fair trade chocolate or drink some of Choice Organics’ fair trade Irish Breakfast Tea in a green Prescraft’s evergreen mug? However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, we at Fair Trade San Diego hope that you have fair trade and its benefits on your mind! Sláinte!

Thank you to for all of their great St. Patrick’s Day fair trade ideas.

Dawn M. Stary Sweeney
President, Fair Trade San Diego 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fair Trade Towns USA & La Mesa, CA

The Fair Trade Towns USA movement began in July of 2006, and as of October of last year, 21 towns in the US have become Fair Trade Towns.  The first Fair Trade Towns USA designation was achieved by Media, Pennsylvania.  There are three Fair Trade Towns in California (Berkeley, Chico and San Francisco). In Southern California there are several campaigns already in progress and La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego, is excited to join the list of towns in this region working to achieve the outstanding Fair Trade Towns status.

But what is the Fair Trade Towns USA movement?
The Fair Trade Towns USA movement is described as “an innovative grassroots campaign to raise awareness of Fair Trade and build demand for Fair Trade products, thereby providing increased benefits for farmers, workers and artisans in Latin America, Africa and Asia.” There are certain criteria that a town must meet, including forming a steering committee, ensuring a certain percentage of fair trade is sold in the town, gaining media attention and the passage of a Fair Trade Towns Resolution by the local City Council.

What is happening with Fair Trade Towns USA and La Mesa?

Thus far, the La Mesa, California campaign has formed a steering committee and their enthusiasm is palpable. They have begun outreach to local vendors, both those already selling fair trade and those that they hope will soon be selling fair trade. They are working on reaching out to the faith community and other community groups, and have already begun cultivating relationships at La Mesa City Hall. Also, followers of Fair Trade San Diego should keep an eye out for social media focusing on the La Mesa Fair Trade Towns campaign.

This is an exciting endeavor that La Mesa is taking on. Fair Trade San Diego is thrilled to be working with the steering committee and looks forward to continuing to spread the word about the campaign as even more develops.

For information on Fair Trade Towns USA visit:

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Do Our Trade Policies Force People to Migrate?

By David Schmidt - Creating Alternative and Fair Enterprise (C.A.F.E.)

Comedian Dave Chappelle featured a skit once in which he played the President of the United States. In response to the problem of millions of Americans without health insurance, Chapelle’s character offered a simple solution: since Canada offers universal health care to its citizens, he proposed Canadian identification cards for all US citizens. Americans could receive their medical treatment in Canada, free of charge!

Many people view immigration to the United States in similar terms. “Why do they have to come and use our resources, take our jobs, deplete our public services? Why don’t they just fix their own country?” Immigration reform is often couched in similar terms: legalizing undocumented immigrants is described as “amnesty”, which is, by definition, forgiving a crime that has been committed. Immigrants’ rights are often described as charity for people who have “stolen” something or “entered illegally”.

The irony of the situation is that, in many cases, massive immigration to a particular country takes place precisely because of that country’s military, political and economic intervention in the nation sending the immigrants. The British Empire of the 19th Century drained many of its colonies of their resources—people now leave India and Pakistan to search for work in England. North Africans who grew up speaking French but with little hope of finding a job at home have moved to France. The former Soviet Republics to the south of Russia are now sending droves of migrants to Moscow in search of employment. Spain has witnessed an influx of migrants from Latin American countries.

The pattern is quite simple and predictable: the colonized country is bled of its resources, its political independence limited and economic development artificially stunted. When its people cannot raise a family at home, they move elsewhere—and international ties make it easiest to move to the colonizing country.

This is the case here at home as well. The two independent nations that have seen the highest percentage of their citizens migrate to the United States are countries where the U.S. has historically been the most involved: the Philippines and Mexico. (This is not counting the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which has more of its people per capita living in the continental U.S. than any other nation on earth.)

Over the past two hundred years, these two nations have been impacted by military, political and economic intervention from the United States in myriad forms. At various points in history, forces in the U.S. Congress were pushing to annex the countries entirely. Both have felt the force of U.S. military intervention on numerous occasions. To a greater or lesser extent, their economies have been locked into a neocolonial relationship in which U.S. companies used the Philippines and Mexico as sources of raw material and markets for manufactured goods, keeping them from developing their own national businesses. There is little irony in the Mexican folk saying, “Ay de México…tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos…” (“Woe is Mexico: so far from God, so near to the United States.)

U.S. intervention in Mexico began with a military intervention which deprived the nation of more than half its national territory, imposing the first of many foreign debts on Mexico. The pattern of intervention continued into the 20th Century; the annexation of Mexican industry by U.S. companies was encouraged by the government of dictator Porfirio Díaz. The most recent and most broad-reaching move taken by U.S. business to take control of Mexico’s economy, however, was the North American Free Trade Agreement, or “NAFTA”.

In the immigration debate, the right wing typically calls for heavier enforcement of existing immigration policy—“the law’s the law”. Meanwhile, the left wing is too often on the defensive, asking that the existing laws not be enforced as strictly. Far too little critique is offered about why the laws are fundamentally unfair, however. As long as we have trade policies that force migration and immigration laws that criminalize it, we will be left with a deeply hypocritical policy that is impossible to enforce.

Immigrants’ rights and the struggle for alternative trade must go hand in hand—you can’t have one without talking about the other.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 Challenge - Make Every Cup Matter!

"Before you've finished your breakfast this morning, you'll have relied on half the world"   - Martin Luther King Jr.
This is my favorite of the many Martin Luther King Jr. quotes that came raining down on my facebook wall last week.   It asks us to stop and ponder the relationship we have with the unseen producers, artisans and farmers across the globe - the people who sewed your shirt, picked your coffee beans, crafted your jewelry, cultivated your cocoa and picked your morning banana.  Do you think they received a fair wage, had the privilege of decent working conditions or could provide their children with an education?  Unfortunately, the answer in most cases is no. 
There are an estimated 1.4 billion people living in poverty and existing on less than $1.25 per day.  Did you know that 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 in the Ivory Coast alone have been sold into forced labor on conventional cotton, coffee, and cocoa plantations and that 284,000 children in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon are working in hazardous tasks on conventional cocoa farms?
Pretty awful right? But what can you do? Surely it's beyond your control. Not so!
You can buy Fair Trade products and vote with your dollars.
Fair Trade is a highly effective way to help producers help themselves. Fair trade is not about charity. It is a holistic approach to trade and development that aims to alter the ways in which commerce is conducted, so that trade can empower the poorest of the poor.
So where do you begin?  
How about with the 2011 Challenge: Make Every Cup Matter?
Can you pledge to make every cup of coffee or tea that you drink a Fair Trade Certified cup?  We know that finding fair trade can be somewhat of a scavenger hunt, so how about simply committing to converting your daily cup of coffee and tea this year? You can now find Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea in nearly every grocery chain, in most coffee shops and in many restaurants. 
Just remember that every purchase matters.  With fair trade products you get quality products that improve lives and protect the planet. What you spend on day-to-day goods changes an entire community’s day-to-day lives.
So let me leave you with this one last Martin Luther King Jr. quote:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Interview with David Funkhouser of FAIR TRADE USA

David talks about his attraction to and involvement in the movement, the origins of FT, the processes for certifying cooperatives that produce the goods, and how FT meets needs of smaller producers better than the so-called free trade market, ensuring that participating farmers and artisans can remain situated in their homelands, as dignified and productive citizens.
To listen to the interview podcast, click the link below:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Around the World Gifts: An All Fair Trade Vendor in San Diego!

Around the World Gifts owner, Evangely Aliangan, first learned about fair trade nearly four years ago through Catholic Relief Services.  Since her early college days, she had the dream to, one day, start a business.  While working with people and helping others has been such a part of her life, it had to be a crucial component of the type of business.  The goal was to start a small retail business just in time for the 2010 holiday season.  After countless hours of searching the web, browsing through library books, and engaging in conversations with friends and family, the business idea was developed.  It actually came in the middle of the night – almost in a dream!  And so it was…an all fair trade gift shop was soon to open in San Diego! 

The excitement was such that many late nights of research followed.  Finally, the location was leased, merchandise was ordered, a marketing strategy was lined up and the learning and exciting experience was started!  Being at Horton Plaza and being able to share the “good news” of fair trade, has been a rewarding experience.  Two months and the holiday rush have gone by and, like the New Year, new ideas are growing.  Around the World Gifts will try to remain at Horton Plaza while focusing on web sales and farmers’ markets and special events.  If the mountain won’t come to you….Around the World Gifts must come to you!

Please visit Around the World Gifts at Horton Plaza Mall in downtown San Diego, or visit our web site:
  This is another great way to support fair trade in San Diego.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Your New Year’s Resolution and Fair Trade

The New Year is a fun and vibrant time.  It is overflowing with new possibilities, and each year most of us resolve to better ourselves, often through a new system of organization or through a new, healthier exercise and diet regime.  Fair Trade San Diego would like to propose another way to both better us and better our world at the same time.

Fair trade is a relationship between consumers and producers. By purchasing fair trade the consumer supports farmers and artisans in the developing world and contributes to their livelihood, which is sustainable and which allows them to better their lives and the lives of those in their community. And the fair trade items that producers sell are high quality, often organic, created with natural materials and comes with a story - the story of the producer who harvested or created the item. Fair trade creates a closer link between the producer and consumer; it encourages the human spirit.  Through the human spirit we are called to reinvent ourselves in positive ways, we are called to re-envision our communities in positive ways, and while it may seem the New Year is the best time to do this, we are, in fact, challenged to embrace this renaissance spirit everyday throughout our lives. 

Tips on supporting and incorporating fair trade in your life this year:

  • Buy fair trade goods from local vendors; check out our vendor list and past newsletters to learn about local fair trade vendors.
  • Ask your supermarket to sell more fair trade; write a letter to the manager or have a conversation with him or her.
  • Host a fair trade event at your congregation or with your community groups; host a movie showing with discussion, sell fair trade goods through SERRV after congregational services, offer fair trade coffee at events.
  • Attend Fair Trade San Diego’s monthly meetings to learn more about the fair trade movement in San Diego; see our blog and Facebook page for date and time.
  • Sign up for FTSD’s e-newsletter; follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook to participate in contests and learn about fair trade both locally and nationally.
  • Visit Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade Federation and the Fair Trade Resource Network’s web pages to learn more about fair trade.