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 CafĂ© 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.