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: