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.
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.
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.