Fair Trade Month Kicks Off

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Building on the success of last year's inaugural Fair Trade Month program launch, TransFair USA, the independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products, Saturday launched Fair Trade Month 2005.

Themed "Do You Fair Trade?" and organized to promote awareness of fair trade and Fair Trade Certified products, this year's celebration offers events throughout the country, such as conferences, educational sessions, farmers visits, food tastings, concerts, and film festivals.

TransFair is focusing its resources on seven cities in particular: New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Boulder, and San Francisco. Marquee events include a Fair Trade Fiesta at the All Asia Restaurant in Boston, a coffee and a food tasting at the United Nations and Savoy Restaurant respectively in New York, a food tasting at Rioja restaurant in Denver, and the Fair Trade Futures Conference in Chicago.

Also planned is an educational session on Fair Trade -- titled "Bioneers Conference" -- in San Rafael, Calif., featuring Global Exchange co-founder Kevin Danaher and Thanksgiving Coffee co-founder and c.e.o. Paul Katzeff as presenters.

Seven Fair Trade farmers from around the world are participating in this year's Fair Trade Month activities. Among them are cocoa producer Justino Peck, Chairman of the Toledo Cocoa Grower's Association in Belize; Fatima Ismael Espinoza, representing the SOPPEXCCA coffee cooperative in Nicaragua; and banana grower Jovanny Coronel, representing the Asociacion de Pequenos Productores Bananeros in Ecuador.

"At the heart of TransFair's mission is the belief that the benefits of global trade ought to be shared more equitably, and that doing so advances the interests of businesses, consumers, and producers," said Paul Rice, president and c.e.o. of TransFair USA. "Fair Trade Month -- with so many groups working together to spread the word about Fair Trade Certified products -- is a huge step in that direction."

Since 1998, TransFair USA, Inc. has certified more than 90 million pounds of Fair Trade products -- including coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, and fruits -- channeling more than $67 million in additional income to farmers and farm workers throughout the world. Farmers typically use the additional income earned to provide education and healthcare for their children and to improve communities.
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