In 2015 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of Fair Trade San Diego. Organization began in earnest in November
2005. Prior to that time, students at
UCSD, under the leadership of Viraf Sorousian and others involved with the club
One Earth One Justice, had been talking with others in San Diego about Fair
Trade. Lee Van Ham of Jubilee Economics
Ministries, Jamie Gates from Point Loma Nazarene University, representatives of
the Environmental Health Coalition were in conversation with the University as
Carolyn Lief, a member of St.
Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, returned from a life-changing trip to visit coffee
farms in Nicaragua sponsored by TransfairUSA, and felt inspired to increase
Fair Trade awareness in San Diego. She,
Lee Van Ham, the One Earth One Justice students and a few others met and
decided to call our effort “San Diego Friends of Fair Trade”. Very soon, Café Moto offered its support, and
Rigo Hernandez from Café Moto joined our ranks.
UCSD professors April Linton
and Mary Blair-Loy supported the students’ work. Catholic Relief Services, which has a Fair
Trade component, became involved when their representative, Dawn Stary, joined
the group. CASA at USD also
participated. OB People’s Co-op has
provided meeting space and Fair Trade bananas for events. Christ Lutheran Church offered support when
Cyndi Rolleson became a member, as well as Open Door Books located on the
Christ Lutheran campus with Mary Alice Mueller, owner. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego and Kent
Peters of its Office of Social Ministry have provided financial and personal
support over many years featuring interviews on their radio programs. Café Virtuoso has been helpful in many ways.
In May of 2008 San Diego
Friends of Fair Trade held it’s first World Fair Trade Day event at Café Moto
on National Ave., under the sponsorship of their owner, Torrey Lee. Rebecca Berggren, who owned a small Fair
Trade business in Ocean Beach, was our publicity and tech person. Several new people became involved following
this event, especially Deanna Gullo, Maria Arroyo, Evangely Aliangan, Anne
Pacheco and Nancy Ryan of St. Martin of Tours Church in La Mesa.
As the UCSD students
graduated and moved on, Carolyn Lief assumed leadership, followed by Dawn
Stary, and most recently the duo from St. Martin’s Church, Anne and Nancy.
Fair Trade San Diego sent Deanna
Gullo and Dawn Stary to Boston for the Fair Trade Conference in 2010. Fair Trade Towns invited us to hold a
workshop with them on social media in LA because we were doing such a good job
with social media at the time. Some of
our most interesting programs have featured farmers from South America and
artisans from India so we could learn first hand, the benefits of Fair Trade.
Since 2008 we have held
several successful World Fair Trade Day events, made presentations to
university classes and church groups, tabled at community events in San Diego
and La Mesa. We publish a list of shops
and on-line sources for purchasing Fair Trade products which may be found on
our web page at fairtradesd.blogspot/.
There have been several
exciting and important milestones in our 10-year history. UCSD became a Fair Trade University, La Mesa
became a Fair Trade Town thanks to the tireless efforts of Anne and Nancy who
also spearheaded the effort for St. Martin of Tours to be the first San
Diego-area church to be a Fair Trade Congregation. USD and Pt. Loma Nazarene became Fair Trade
Universities, and Unity Church of San Diego and St. Paul’s Cathedral became
Fair Trade Congregations. San Diego
State University is in process.
San Diego is also the home of
Around the World Gifts in Old Town, Fair Trade Décor in Del Mar, Dr. Bronner’s
in Vista, and Partners Fair Trade Boutique at the Unity Center of SD. Seasonal kiosks with All Across Africa
products are at Westfield malls and Costo.
On line products may be found at San Diego companies: 7 Hopes United,
Vavavida, Lumily, and Gifts With a Cause.
Check out Fair Trade Coffee at Café Moto, Café Virtuoso, Ryan Bros.,
West Coast Coffee Roasters.
We anticipate more Fair Trade
towns, colleges, and churches in the next decade!