Fairly Traded: On our way to a fair trade congregation

At its November meeting the Cathedral Chapter passed a resolution to have St. Paul’s begin the process of becoming a Fair Trade Congregation. “What does this mean?” you might well ask.

A branch of the Fair Trade certifying body, FairTradeUSA, began the Fair Trade Towns and Universities campaigns a few years ago, and just this year added the Fair Trade Congregations campaign. This is not a new idea. In the UK there are 7,300 fair trade congregations. La Mesa is a fair trade town and UCSD and USD are fair trade universities. Point Loma Nazarene University is almost there, and the church on its campus is the first fair trade congregation in the San Diego area. There is a Fair Trade Episcopal Congregation in Minnesota.

To become a fair trade congregation St. Paul’s Cathedral pledges to use 2 Fair Trade products (we already use Justo Café, registered with Fair Trade Federation). We will also be offering 2 educational opportunities and 2 other events a year (like the Alternative Gift EXPO).

For our second Fair Trade product we might use Fair Trade sugar or tea for hospitality. See if you can spot the change when it happens! Of course you know we regularly offer Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate for sale. Simpler Living will show the film, “The Dark Side of Chocolate” in the winter. It is a moving film dealing with the use of child labor on cacao plantations.

Incorporating fair trade products into our lives is one way we can bring justice to bear in the businesses that so often exploit small farmers in the global south. Our purchases have the power to change lives! Show your support at the Alternative Gifts EXPO on November 23rd!!

Carolyn Lief

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