A New Year and New Resolutions
Given that my New Year always begins on Rosh Hashanah, I don’t often pay a lot of attention to the December 31-January 1 transition, but this blog from Fair Trade Vancouver identifies simple things each of us can do to strengthen fair trade, and support the farmers and artisans. I’ve made a few edits so that the piece is applicable to those of us living outside of Vancouver. And, don’t forget to think “Fair Trade” when you’re buying Judaica products!
12 Fair Trade resolutions for the New Year
By Bryce, Fair Trade Vancouver on January 01, 2012
It’s that time of the year again where the crazy rush of the winter holidays winds down, and all of us get to reflect on how we can make the next year a better one. This year, why not make Fair Trade part of your New Year’s resolutions? To make things easier, the team at Fair Trade Vancouver have put together a list of 12 ways in which you can get more involved in supporting the Fair Trade Movement.
1. Decide to switch one product in your kitchen to 100% fair trade. It can be overwhelming to do it all, but by choosing among the many food options (bananas, sugar, coffee, chocolate, spices) you help to support improved labor and environmental practices around the world.
2. Advertise! Wear a button with the Fair Trade logo.
3. Start a conversation: carry a bunch of Fair Trade bananas down the street or on the bus and if people are looking, tell them why the bananas are special.
4. Ask for it! This doesn’t necessarily mean asking the establishments you attend to carry Fair Trade, but simply asking “do you have a Fair Trade option?” helps to get Fair Trade on people’s radars. It’s great to have Fair Trade at home, but sourcing Fair Trade at a restaurant, office, school, or community event can help build a movement.
5. Pass it on: take a couple of Fair Trade chocolate bars as a gift when you go to a friend’s for dinner.
6. Start another conversation: In the checkout line, make a comment to the cashier or the person behind you about how much you love the Fair Trade chocolate bar/other items you’re purchasing.
7. Potluck it: Re-create your favorite Fair Trade dessert and share it at a potluck with a list of ingredients (except for that secret one!)
8. Be an ambassador. Many people haven’t heard of Fair Trade or don’t really understand what it’s about. Be an ambassador among your friends. Ask questions together and be willing to look up answers.
9. Make the switch to reusable shopping bags made from Fair Trade cotton — support cotton farmers and the environment!
10. Continue to engage in online dialogue and advocacy. At the Africa Fair Trade Convention, there was a large cry out to have stronger connections between producers in the developing world and consumers in developed countries. African producers are starting to jump on the social media bandwagon and are ready to have conversations with consumers to further tighten the value chain. The more we ‘Vancouverites’ can spread and engage in real conversations online with producers the more we can hope to create ‘digital noise’ and spread the conversations across a larger network of consumers.
11. Gift it: for those upcoming birthdays, consider a Fair Trade item like a soccer ball, a cake made of Fair Trade ingredients, textiles.
12. Get involved. Attend (local) Fair Trade meetings. Make up a list of your questions and have coffee with someone. Teach yourself! Knowledge is power and you are in control.