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: www.FairTradeTownsUSA.org