April 29 2013

The First Fairtrade Town in Colorado

What does ‘Fairtrade’ mean? Can an entire town really become fair in all senses of trade?

The basis of the Fairtrade movement is simple: help alleviate poverty in developing countries by paying premium for the goods we (‘developed’ countries) import.

Loback's Bakery along Main Street is the oldest business in Buena Vista - Established in 1945.

It’s the monitoring the ‘fairness’ within international business that is difficult to police. According to howstuffworks, the movement stemmed from the 1950s with various humanitarian groups. A main goal was to bring small coffee plantation owners to the global market. In the late 1980s, the Fairtrade label took off to convey a sense of trust to the consumer about where their goods originated. In 2011, Fairtrade USA split from Fairtrade International, in hopes of allowing large plantations (specifically coffee and cocoa plantations,) into the Fairtrade USA system. More importantly, Fairtrade USA & Fairtrade International both strive to educate small plantations about better growing techniques, elimination of harmful chemicals, and the most basic of product design.

Fairtrade Towns USA

A Fairtrade Town can range from a town, city, or country that supports the Fair Trade movement. Buena Vista became a Fairtrade town in March of 2010, the first in Colorado and fourteenth in the nation. With the strong desire in town to support local businesses, this newer Fairtrade status shows the rural community’s desire to support communities across the globe. Just by driving through Buena Vista, you will notice a lack of big-name, commercial businesses. Only four come to mind: Alco, City Market, Family Dollar, and Subway. The businesses residents and visitors to BV frequent are The Roastry, Evergreen Cafe, The Brown Dog Coffee Company, Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery, and The Asian Palate, to name a few, all of which promote the town’s fairtrade status and commitment to local ingredients. Many restaurants and coffee shops in BV support mostly local grown ingredients; this sometimes makes sustaining business a little tougher, as this option is not the cheapest route.

Would your city or town fit into the Fairtrade guidelines?

Credits: Images by Katie Poppel. Data Linked to sources.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 29th, 2013 at 9:04 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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