Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Support for Fair Trade Grows

This Year’s World Fair Trade Day Features More Churches, Schools, and Families Promoting Products that help the poor

April 19, 2005

Washington D.C. – Co-op America is calling on Americans to plan and participate in World Fair Trade Day on May 14 with events across the country. World Fair Trade Day is an international celebration of the work of people worldwide to create a global economy based on justice, dignity, and sustainability through the growth of fair trade. The Fair Trade Program at Co-op America has developed a free guide (available at www.GreenAmericaToday.org) to help people plan events to help celebrate World Fair Trade.

Fair trade is a growing movement to pay farmers and artisans a living wage for their work. This year’s World Fair Trade Day theme is “Fair Trade is Peace,” and Fair Trade supporters are planning local events in 60 countries to celebrate the many ways Fair Trade promotes global peace by creating economic opportunity and development for people and communities most disadvantaged by conventional trade Fair trade makes a huge difference in poor communities. Coffee farmers are paid over four times as much for their coffee through fair trade than on the open market.

“Many countries in the developing world are facing increasing poverty. Fair trade provides a way for farmers and artisans to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty,” said Erin Gorman, Director of Co-op America’s Fair Trade Program. “By sponsoring Fair Trade Day Events, Americans can raise awareness of great products that pay people around the world a fair wage. They can introduce their friends and neighbors to the growing range of fair trade products including coffee, chocolate, tea, jewelry, clothing and crafts.”

Purchasing Fair Trade products ensures farmers and women living wages so that they can care for themselves and their families, provide better food and educational opportunities to their children. These wages allow farmers and artisans to move beyond caring for their family’s immediate needs to caring for the environment and their communities. Fair Trade producers and artisans are encouraged to engage in sustainable practices. Fair Trade empowers farmers and artisans by promoting community-based and egalitarian organization. For example, all Fair Trade coffee producers belong to democratically controlled and transparent cooperatives or associations.

Co-op America’s guide for World Fair Trade Day includes tips for hosting events as well as resources about Fair Trade and its impact on the environment, women, and community development worldwide. Local events planned this year include in home parties, work gatherings, at school educational programs, community outreach, and faith congregation celebrations. Events will focus on educating people about Fair Trade while having fun and making it accessible to all.

People can download a copy of Co-op America’s Guide to World Fair Trade Day at www.GreenAmericaToday.org/programs/fairtrade/ or call 1-800-58GREEN for a free copy.

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