Drop 10 pounds, save money, get better grades, stay more organized at work... these are common New Year's Resolutions that are focused on self-improvement. In addition to a self-serving resolution, why not reach beyond yourself this year and resolve to do something that will not only benefit you, but will also benefit hundreds of thousands of farming families around the world? Make 2011 the year that you finally take a stand against global food inequities and give back to the farming community that grows the beans for your delicious cup of coffee or the cocoa for your delectable afternoon chocolate bar: Resolve to Buy Fair Trade. There are several different ways that you can create a resolution to support Fair Trade - some require a little bit of work on your part, while others can be more easily incorporated into your life.
Make Every Cup Matter
We're the first to admit that it's not as easy to find Fair Trade Certified products as it should be (keep asking for them!), but Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea are readily available in almost every grocery store in the United States. These products can also be found in most coffee shops and in many restaurants. So, in 2011 can you resolve to make every cup of coffee and/or tea that you drink a Fair Trade Certified cup? Imagine the difference you could make throughout the world if you took such a bold stance on your daily pick-me-up? Another benefit? The more consumers ask for Fair Trade at grocery stores, restaurants and cafes, the more readily these products will be stocked. Store managers just need to know that Fair Trade is important to their customers!
Find One Item, Every Time
Here's an easy challenge: Every time you go to the grocery store, can you make at least one of your purchases a Fair Trade Certified product? You could try some new Fair Trade Certified teas, stock up on some delicious chocolate bars (you never know when you might need one!), or pick out a bunch of Fair Trade Certified bananas. Remember, there are many different products to choose from - here's a list of what's available . The more you buy Fair Trade Products, the more likely the store is to continue carrying them on the shelves. Remember, every purchase matters! Does your store only carry a couple of Fair Trade Certified products? Ask for a comment card or product request form at checkout and ask the store to consider stocking a couple more!
Make Fair Trade Fit
Because Fair Trade Certified fashion is so new, it'd be pretty ambitious to try and Fair Trade your entire wardrobe. So in 2011, why not resolve to make one Fair Trade Certified garment a regular part of your wardrobe? Our challenge to you is to tell someone new about Fair Trade Certified clothing every time you wear it - it's so important to get the word out to support the launch of this new product category. Check this link  to find out what products are available now, and continue to read this blog for news on the introduction of additional Fair Trade Certified clothing from other brands.
Fair Trade your Office, School or Church
Many offices, schools and churches already serve Fair Trade Certified products, but many still don't. Imagine the difference this small shift could make - these organizations serve hundreds of cups of coffee and tea every week! Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Talk to your office manager, your school's cafeteria or your church's manager about how important it is to serve Fair Trade. Not only will it support the farming families that grew the products, but converting to Fair Trade is a representation of your organization's values. If your organization already serves Fair Trade, make sure to acknowledge this positive action with a Thank You note to show your appreciation.
Make Your Town a Fair Trade Town
Fair Trade Towns USA  is a fun and engaging way to grow the Fair Trade movement in your community. As a comprehensive platform for growing awareness, availability and commitment to Fair Trade in United States, Fair Trade Towns provides the opportunity to build community in your town, as well as connect your community to those in the developing world. Just in time for the new year, Fair Trade Towns USA has a new website  that makes it even easier for you to find an existing campaign in your town or start a new one. You can also read about best practices in other Fair Trade Towns and get the latest Fair Trade news. Think your town has what it takes to be the next Fair Trade Town? Take a look at the five requirements  and then get the ball rolling !