The Fair Trade movement in northeast Ohio has been grounded in the hard work of non-profit organizations and Fair Trade-only retailers for many years. Starting about 16 years ago, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) became engaged in the Fair Trade movement partnering with Equal Exchange for IRTF’s Café Salvador Project. Over the years, businesses (like Heinens) began selling fair trade products in their stores. Universities, like John Carroll University and Hiram College, along with some high schools started selling fair trade coffee and chocolate as fundraisers.
In September 2009, a group of Fair Trade retailers and advocates organized the first annual Ohio Fair Trade Expo. This day-long event consisted of educational workshops and a Fair Trade vendors’ fair, bringing together 200+ participants from the NE Ohio community including John Carroll University and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. This significant event provided a foundation for an initial step toward developing a Fair Trade network in Ohio. Our annual Expo is scheduled for October 25th, 2014.
In more recent times Fair Trade has been advanced by local and national retailers offering Fair Trade certified products and initiatives of local high schools and colleges promoting growth of the Fair Trade market through education and advocacy.
The most current project for the NEOFTN is to participate in the Fair Trade USA Fair Town Campaign for Cleveland Heights. Eventually, the plan is make all of NE Ohio designated as a Fair Trade Community. We are well on our way. Magnifcat High School is already designated as a Fair Trade School and John Carroll University is close to receiving their designation.
SAVE THE DATE!
NEXT NE OHIO
FAIR TRADE EXPO
OCTOBER 25TH, 2014
AT JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY IN UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS.