Look for Bananas on Free Trade Day' in Huronia 0
A group of local Free Trade supporters are going bananas' in Midland and Penetanguishene this Saturday -literally.
Sarah Robbins and members of Free Trade Huronia' will be out in full force this week handing out posters, buttons and free promotional information to the merchants of Midland. On World Free Trade Day, Saturday May 12, the group will be asking local businesses to get involved by showing their support.
"On Saturday volunteers are going to walk the Main Street of Midland and Penetanguishene dressed as Fair Trade bananas and ask shoppers to chalk their support to Fair Trade on the sidewalk. This ridiculous and fun event will definitely get a lot of attention," said Robbins.
Robbins said the group wants people to know that Fair Trade is a different way of doing business. It's about making principles of fairness and decency mean something in the market-p lace. It seeks to change the terms of trade for the products we buy -to ensure the farmers and artisans behind those products get a better deal. Most often this is understood to mean better prices for producers, but it often means longer-term and more meaningful trading relationships as well.
"There is a community here that is passionate about Global poverty issues and we are trying to promote a more fair and equitable world. We want to make sure that the products we buy are Fair Trade which means producers and farmers in the countr ies we trade with are being treated fairly and safely and receiving proper wages for what they do,`` said Robbins.
Fair Trade guarantees producers a minimum price to cover the costs of sustainable production. But it's about much more than just price. Producers receive Fair Trade premiums on top of the Fair Trade price, and democratically decide how to use them. They invest this money in education, healthcare, farm improvements or processing facilities, but this decision is entirely up to the producers. They know what their communi-t ies need, and invest these resources accordingly.
For consumers and businesses, it's also about information. Fair Trade is a way for people to identify products that meet values so they can make choices that have a positive impact on the world. Robbins and her group believe that getting the word out there will help to educate people and make them more aware of the issues.
"This is the first time we have done this. Basically we started Free Trade Huronia in October last year and so far there has been a great response to the group. We meet bi-weekly when we can and while we have been out doing smaller information meetings with businesses etc., this is really our first big event," said Robbins.
"We are surprised at how many businesses carry Free Trade products and know about Free Trade The Karma Market Place is one that is very supportive and other businesses in the area are using Free Trade coffee."
Fair Trade encourages farming and production practices that protect the natural environment. Many Fair Trade products are certified organic or are working towards meeting these stand a rd s. Producers are often organized into co-operatives or associations with a democratic structure and a transparent administration. Some Fair Trade goods (such as tea, fresh fruit, and sports balls) are also produced by hired labour workers in factories or on plantations. Both groups have representatives on a committee that decides on the use of the Fair Trade premiums.
For more information about Fair Trade Huronia visit the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/282104048549573/ or Fair Trade Canada's website ( www.fairtrade.ca).