Fair Trade Congregation

OLA has been designated a Fair Trade Congregation to indicate its support on multiple fronts. The Fair Trade Ministry was created to offer increased awareness and education about fair trade practices. 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. The ministry is available to share information in the form of a short video, question and answer discussion, and printed handouts. 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. OLA also uses Fair Trade sugar, as well as plates and utensils that cam be composted. The parish and school participate in the Green Waste pilot program through the City of Claremont. View a cost comparison of Fair Trade vs. conventional coffee. For more information, email Chris Caenapeel.



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.


"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


OLA’s Fair Trade Ministry has been busy raising its profile around Claremont on behalf of the working poor around the world.  For a list of Fair Trade vendors (restaurants, markets, and shops) in Claremont, click here.


"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


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