Taking Over the Globe One “Town” at a Time
Bluffton, Ohio, a town with a population of about four thousand, has managed to become the newest Fair Trade Town in the United States. As the eleventh town to be labeled as such, it joins rank with towns and cities like Amherst, Massachusetts and Chico, California. Free trade has become such a hip movement that it has managed to catch the attention of global capitals like San Francisco and London.
In order to be labeled as a Fair Trade Town, the city has to meet five criteria. The town must:
1. Have a committee, represented by businesses, non-profits, and academics, that promotes fair trade city wide.
2. Have a certain number of businesses which use Fair Trade Certified items.
3. Have a certain number of retailers which sell Fair Trade Certified items.
4. Create a media campaign to help promote the Fair Trade principles.
5. Pledge to pass a municipal resolution to support the Fair Trade movement.
Instead of working from grassroots levels, the Fair Trade Town initiative attacks from the top down by getting businesses, municipal governments, and educational institutions to work together. In Media, Pennsylvania, the community of businesses and residents hosted a Fair Trade Prom where fair trade products were advertised, sold, and auctioned off. Though fair trade is not institutionalized, these “towns” around the country are finding innovative ways to create markets for fair trade products.