Monday, October 8, 2012

SMC Celebrates Fair Trade Month

Did you know that October is Fair Trade Month?  Did you also know that last Spring, Saint Michael’s College joined a small number of colleges that have been given Fair Trade designation?

Thanks to a lot of wonderful hard work and persistence by the student Food Justice Club, their advisor Professor Jeffrey Ayres and the Fair Trade Committee, Saint Michael’s College became the first college in Vermont to be acknowledged as Fair Trade on February 23, 2012 (by the organization Fair Trade Colleges and Universities: http://www.fairtradeuniversities.org/ .)

Fair Trade Universities states that “When you choose to purchase Fair Trade products, you are endorsing an economic system that provides opportunities for producers to lift themselves out of poverty. Fair Trade provides assurances to consumers that producers are paid fair prices for their products and labor. It gives them more direct market access which removes many of the “middle-men” who traditionally have absorbed the majority of the profits. In addition, Fair Trade provides a set of requirements that assure consumers that strict standards have been met to protect the environment, build economic sustainability, empower women, and allow opportunities for education, poverty alleviation, and health care.”

Criteria to be a Fair Trade College:
1)      Establish a Fair Trade Committee
2)      Make Fair Trade products available in campus dining venues
3)      Use fair trade products at campus meetings & events
4)      Commit to fair trade education each semester
5)      Pass a resolution outlining the above requirements by Student Association, Faculty Assembly and Administration

Fair Trade Products in the Dining Hall and Campus Cafes
In support of this campaign, Sodexo has the following fair trade products on campus: coffee, tea, sugar, and bananas (when available).  You can also request these fair trade products through catering!

Accomplishments and Upcoming Events
This Fall marks the first full semester as a Fair Trade college and already the Food Justice Club is hard at work on Fair Trade initiatives:
(1)   Helped with the 3rd Annual Forum on Fair Trade Business on 9/29 in Burlington: http://fairtradeburlington.wordpress.com/
(2)   Organizing the upcoming Fair Trade Market on campus!  Thursday 10/18, 11:45- 1:15 in the Farrell Room.  There will be speakers and many vendors with Fair Trade products.  Be on the lookout for more details.
(3) Looking for opportunities to increase fair trade products on campus!
 
Want to get involved and/or learn more?  Join the Food Justice Club or become part of the Fair Trade Committee, contact Jeffrey Ayres (jayres@smcvt.edu) for info.