World Fair Trade Day: Time to learn and make an impact

| Katy Cantrell | April 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

World Fair Trade Day LogoThe Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade program is a proud sponsor of World Fair Trade Day on May 14. The CRS program works in partnership with other organizations to bring Fair Trade handcrafts, coffee and chocolate to communities across the United States.

Fair Trade is a system of trade based on the principle that people should earn a fair profit for the items they produce. It offers producers a just price for their products, safe and healthy work conditions, and long-term relationships with buyers.

CRS works with those in need in more than 100 countries and knows how important these conditions are to helping struggling producers build their businesses, plan for the future and eventually achieve a more secure living.

Catholic social teaching is filled with guidance on how people of faith can transform the world through acts of economic justice. This can be done through the daily decisions we make as consumers. Buying Fair Trade products is one simple way to live our faith and build an economy that fairly rewards the hard work of producers.

World Fair Trade Day presents us with an opportunity to learn more about what and who Fair Trade represents. Currently, more than 1 million producers around the world benefit from Fair Trade. In North America, advocates are challenging 100,000 people to take Fair Trade coffee breaks anytime from May 1 to 15.

Ways to celebrate

There are many ways to host Fair Trade events for World Fair Trade Day or at other times throughout the year. Guardian Angels in Oakdale, for example, will observe World Fair Trade Day on May 14 and 15 and encourage parishioners to “take a Fair Trade coffee break.” The parish will host a CRS Work of Human Hands craft sale, organize a documentary film festival and serve Fair Trade coffee and tea.

Bob Walz of Guardian Angels and Shelby Vaske of Paynesville in the St. Cloud diocese are CRS Fair Trade ambassadors who are trained to provide information about Fair Trade and support for organizing events throughout the year.

Walz worked with his parish to completely convert to Fair Trade coffee. During the search for a new coffee, the parish organized a coffee tasting and parishioners selected Peace Coffee, a Minneapolis-based coffee roaster offering Fair Trade and organic coffees. For information, call Walz at (651) 789-3181.

Two local partners

The CRS Fair Trade program partners locally with Peace Coffee and Providence Coffee in Faribault. Upon your request, both companies will make a donation to CRS when you place an order, so your purchases can have an even greater impact.

Peace Coffee is launching a new parish program highlighting coffees from CRS beneficiaries in Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua. The program will make it easier to order and sell Fair Trade coffee in your parish (and your home). For information, contact Stacy Adrianson at stacy@peacecoffee.com or (612) 367-8119.

There are many opportunities to become involved in Fair Trade. Let this coming World Fair Trade Day be your chance to learn more and make a positive impact in the lives of small-scale producers.

Katy Cantrell is a program advisor for the CRS Fair Trade program.

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Category: Spotlight, This Catholic Life