Be an Agent for Change is the 2016 theme for World Fair Trade Day. Initiated in 2001 by World Fair Trade Organization members, World Fair Trade Day is observed around the world this year on May 14. Fair Trade is an agent for change. It is a tangible solution to poverty eradication, a good tool for sustainable development, and importantly Fair Trade promotes social justice. The Fond du Lac Fair Trade Town steering committee acknowledges local businesses that can be found throughout the community who make Fair Trade products available so that Fond du Lac area residents can also Be Agents of Change.
Just Fare Market, at the Old Mill Plaza in Peebles, will feature selected artisan work from the Americas, Asia and Africa/Middle East beginning on May 9 and the entire week before World Fair Trade Day. In store displays will include information about the artisan groups and the impact that Fair Trade has on the lives of the producers.
Customers who visit Just Fare on May 14 will receive a free Fair Trade gift with a purchase of $25 or more. Some of Just Fare’s products most popular with customers are olive oils from Palestine, Starfish Project jewelry from Southeast Asia, which is made by women who survived human trafficking and organic cotton and wool socks with the organic fibers sourced in Nicaragua, Peru and Argentina. The socks are manufactured in the US in states where the textile industry has disappeared. Just Fare is a fully committed Fair Trade store which reached out to other retailers to either begin selling at least two Fair Trade products or to let the community know about their Fair Trade products through being identified as a member of Fond du Lac Fair Trade Town. Fond du Lac met the requirements for the designation as the 32nd Fair Trade Town in the US in January of 2013.
Urban Fuel Cafe, also located at Old Mill Plaza in Peebles, has registered for the World Fair Trade Challenge from May 13-15 with an aim to have the biggest Fair Trade coffee break on earth! Owner Terri Deanovich invites you to buy a cup of coffee and be counted in the number of cups of coffee consumed while being a supporter of Fair Trade family farmers and businesses that offer Fair Trade Coffee. Kyle Freund, Digital Content Manager with Fair Trade America visited Urban Fuel recently. His Madison office is also participating in the coffee break challenge. Urban Fuel is now the place to purchase Fair Trade wine. They are newly offering Six Hats certified Fair Trade wine from South Africa.
Festival Foods, at 1125 E Johnson continues of offer a wide variety of organic foods. Some of these foods also carry a Fair Trade Certification mark indicating fair prices, fair and safe labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development and environmental sustainability.
Blue Goose Coffee House, at the Horicon Bank 854 E Johnson is managed by Mary Weishapple. She said that bank and coffee house employees “understand and believe in the mission of Fair Trade and are happy to be doing their part in supporting small scale coffee farmers.” The Blue Goose will offer samples of fair trade coffee on May 13 and 14 to introduce customers to fair trade offerings.
Common Grounds Coffee Shop at Marian University, 45 S National, reports they are proud to offer Fair Trade products and to take part in supporting Fair Trade at Sodexo on Marian University Campus. Letting others know about Fair Trade and talking to our students about its importance in our world makes a difference in our future.
Living Light Studio, at 314 4th Street, a short drive from Marian University has a direct trading relationship with traditionally skilled pottery makers in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. Beginning in 2006, Howie Zanto, Liz Woodworth-Zanto and pottery partners Connie Ramthun and Bill Volkert traveled to Nicaragua to personally select the clay artwork and purchase the pieces directly from the artists. This relationship has helped the artisans in this little village greatly expand their market into the USA and beyond. This Fond du Lac team has found it gratifying to help preserve a cultural art form and know that the lives of the artisans have improved year after year as a result of this trading relationship.
Julie Balson, owner of Gallery and Frame Shop, LLC at 94 S Main Street, began offering some Fair Trade products in her store in support of Fond du Lac becoming a Fair Trade Town. She said “we were excited to get involved and stay involved because it has opened doors to welcoming international artists. We feature pottery from Mexico, steel drum art from Haiti, various types of metal art, and hand carved boxes. Pottery and metal art are some of our best selling items.” Julie, a wonderful supporter of many Fond du Lac initiatives, has lent her front window and talented window designer for displays of Fair Trade products in her expansive Main Street windows during October, Fair Trade Month
Village Market Specialty Foods, located at 806 S Main Street, is known for a vast array of organic foods and personal care products. A Fair Trade Certification label is frequently found on foods such as bananas, avocados, coffee, tea, chocolate and others that come from countries with a more temperate climate than the US. The Village Market produce manager has connected with wholesalers who consistently can supply the store with Fair Trade bananas, avocados in season, and other produce where the producer’s and growing and harvesting conditions are known. They also make an effort to find fairly traded personal care products like oils, popular grains like quinoa, and herbs or superfruits for supplements. Authentic Fair Trade is like a global farmers market where conscious consumers are able to get information about the producers and be assured of a fair deal all around.
Old Pioneer Road Gift Shop at Fond du Lac’s Historic Galloway House and Village at 336 Old Pioneer Road began offering some Fair Trade products in the 2015 season. A limited selection of Fair Trade goods will continue to be offered, recognizing the progressive outlook of Fond du Lac as a Fair Trade Town. Executive Director, Kymberley Pekrul, reports that the gift shop has been designated by the Convention Bureau as the official Fond du Lac County souvenir site. In addition the store offers a variety of local handcrafts and foods.
The Fond du Lac Fair Trade Town Steering Committee invites the community to support these locally owned businesses especially during the week of May 9-14 in celebration of World Fair Trade Day.