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 

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