The Fair Trade Ministry was created to offer increased awareness and education about fair trade practices by selling fair trade coffee and chocolate. Through fair trade, small farmers in developing countries join in cooperatives. They are guaranteed a fair wage for their work and benefits to their community, including medical care and education for their families. Our Lady of the Assumption Parish has been supporting the fair trade concept for several years by buying coffee from Higher Grounds, a fair trade roaster and supplier, for use at OLA functions. The ministry sells coffee and chocolate on the patio twice a month on the second and fourth Sundays after the morning Masses at 7, 9, 11 a.m., and also after the Spanish-language Mass at 1:00 p.m. The cost of the coffee is currently $9.00 per one-pound package, which is competitive with other quality coffees. Several varieties of coffee are offered in ground and whole bean, decaf and regular. View a cost comparison of Fair Trade vs. conventional coffee.
In addition to the second and fourth Sunday coffee sales, the ministry is available to share information in the form of a short video, question and answer discussion, and printed handouts. The vision is to make other fair trade items available for sale along with educational materials about these fair trade products and producers.
We welcome adults interested in staffing the fair trade sales table to inform others about fair trade practices. The Fair Trade Ministry was formed in the summer of 2010 as a result of a Just Faith program completed in the spring. The Just Faith group had studied the Catholic social justice teachings through prayer, reading, reflection, discussion, listening to speakers, and visiting area locations to encounter those dealing with poverty or injustice. Members of the group decided on an action related to fair trade.
Information and support has been provided by the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace (www.la-archdioces.org/ojp) . Fair Trade coffee has been sold to the ministry by Higher Grounds Trading Company, Traverse City, Michigan (www.highergroundstrading.com)
For more information, contact Jean Menton at (909) 626-7849 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the video "Santiago's Story" which puts a human face on the issues of fair trade.
FAIR TRADE and FAITH
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade is an economic initiative that promotes sustainable development for small producers throughout the world. Characteristics include:
+ Fair price for products
+Democratically organized cooperatives
+ Direct links between producers and businesses: fewer middlemen
+ Community projects: schools, health clinics.
+ Environmentally friendly practices
+No child labor
FAIR TRADE vs. FREE TRADE: Free trade is a market model in which goods and services flow between countries without government restrictions. Profit, with little regard for persons or the planet, is most often the overriding concern. Fair Trade is a variant of free trade that also takes into consideration the small producer and the environment. Fair Trade brings life values to free trade ... it's free trade with a conscience.
PRODUCTS: Coffee is at the vanguard of the movement as the second largest traded commodity after oil (twenty five million small coffee farmers in an 80 billion dollar industry) The fair trade market currently offers 200 additional products including tea, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, wine bananas and a whole host of handicrafts.
HOW DO I KNOW IT'S FAIR TRADE? For commodities such as coffee, chocolate and tea look for the "Fair Trade Certified" or "Fair Trade Federation" seal on the package ( photos below) The recently introduced "Fair For Life" label also identifies a Fair Trade product.
There is no certification label available for handcrafts. The credibility of the seller is the assurance that the product is within the Fair Trade market. Catalogues from Catholic Relief Services and Ten Thousand Villages and local businesses such as Fair Trade Express of Long Beach are examples of reliable fair trade merchants.
SHOPPING and the GOSPEL
"Therefore treat others as you would have them treat you. This is the whole meaning of the Law and the prophets." Matthew 12:9
"We all have to go shopping. Fair Trade is just shopping with respect (for others)"
Kwabena Ohmeng-Tinyase, Managing Director of Kuapa Koko, a Fair Trade cocoa cooperative in Ghana
WHERE TO BUY FAIR TRADE ITEMS IN CLAREMONT
OLA’s Fair Trade Ministry has been busy raising its profile around Claremont on behalf of the working poor around the world. Fair Trade coffee and chocolate are available on the 2nd and 4th Sunday mornings on the OLA patio. For a list of Fair Trade vendors (restaurants, markets, and shops) in Claremont, click here.
SIGNS of the TIMES
"We begin with the premise that people should have the option to remain in their homelands with economic opportunities to support their families ..... Both countries should address the root causes of immigration.
A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States
"..it's amazing to see how migration has decreased almost to zero! The social impact of the fair trade market is incredible for us."
Jeronimo Bollen, President, Manos Campesinos, Loma Linda, Guatemala
3 billion persons live on 2 dollars or less per day.
30,000 children die every day because of malnutrition or lack of basic medicine.
In a speech marking the start of the 21st century John Paul ll proclaimed that the poverty of billions of men and women is "the one issue that most challenges our human and collective conscience."
"This is the time not for just words or mere talk but for active and genuine commitment by Catholics in the United States to work with others to make a place at the table for all God's children."
A Place at the Table US Conference of Catholic Bishops (2002)
"The current economic system has generated discrimination and injustice. That's why we must change the system, beginning with ourselves, instead of waiting for the system to change."
Samuel Ruiz, former Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico and three time nominee for the Noble Peace Prize
"To buy is to vote. To buy is to vote for the kind of world that you want."
Father Franz Van der Hoff, Founder of the Fair Trade coffee movement
EVERY PURCHASE MATTERS
Fair Trade affords everyone the opportunity to align everyday shopping with the values of the Gospel, live in solidarity with people throughout the world , and join with millions of others in a movement to transform the global economy.
For more information:
Fair Trade USA: www.fairtradeusa.org
Catholic Relief Services: www.crsfairtrade.org
Fair Trade Resource Network: www.fairtraderesource.org
Fair Trade LA: www.fairtradela.org