Author Archives: Fair Trade LA

LMU attains fair trade status and celebrates on April 24, 2014


LMU has officially attained fair trade status as of February 18, meeting the five requirements set forth by Fair Trade Campaigns. These five requirements include building a team, reaching out to campus outlets, sourcing fair trade at events and meetings, committing to fair trade education and passing a fair trade resolution. LMU is only the second university in California to achieve fair trade status, following the University of San Diego.

Fair trade aims to justly compensate workers for the products that they create. According to the Fair Trade Campaigns website, “When you choose to purchase fair trade products, you are endorsing an economic system that provides opportunities for international farmers, artisans and workers to lift themselves out of poverty. Fair trade ensures consumers that the products they purchase were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.”

The fair trade movement at LMU was primarily spearheaded by senior entrepreneurship major Darlene Fukuji and Tom King, director of the Center for Service and Action, beginning in the spring of 2013. Fukuji first found out about fair trade while in Washington D.C., where she saw a booth about fair trade and really admired the movement’s values. She was contacted by King, who had attended a conference, learned more about fair trade and was interested in making it known at LMU.

Fukuji and King formed a fair trade committee, comprised of a representative from each service organization, two representatives from the Loyolan and a representative from ASLMU. After forming, they held meetings to start working towards a fair trade status.

When the committee first started, they did many things to make fair trade known at LMU. This outreach included education about fair trade, putting on a Fair Trade Awareness Week, hosting a movie night and helping at a Regional Fair Trade gathering on their campus. A big success was that The Coffee Bean gave her a gift: their first blend of fair trade coffee, which will be the main blend on campus when they arrive.

The fair trade committee has worked hard since it formed to make sure LMU follows fair trade ideals. Because of the committee’s efforts, LMU now sells about 20 fair trade products in various places around campus, and the bookstore even carries fair trade clothing. In the future, the committee wants to get every department on campus to serve at least one fair trade product. They also want to get more clubs on campus to use fair trade T-shirts for their club shirts to increase the amount of fair trade products around campus and to increase awareness by holding one or two events a semester.

On April 24 from noon to 1:30pm, which is Earth Day, the fair trade committee will hold a celebration during Convocation for attaining fair trade certification. On this day, the committee plans to officially present the certificate to the University. They also plan to hand out information slips to spread awareness and simply inform people about fair trade. There will also be several food vendors, including Ben and Jerry’s and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, handing out food samples. Theo will be providing fair trade chocolate as well.

Alison Sackerson, a junior political science major who will take over the fair trade committee when Fukuji graduates, explained why she believes fair trade is so important.

“To me, fair trade is important because when you purchase a fair trade product you are saying, ‘Yes, I support this product, the business that produced it and the means by which it was created.’ Fair trade encompasses so many things that I feel strongly about, such as sustainable practices and fair wages for producers. If I am purchasing a product, I would like to make sure that it is supporting these things that I feel strongly about, and fair trade certified products can ensure that,” she said.


Do your Spring Shopping at these

upcoming FAIR TRADE LA boutiques

or locations where you will find us

Come support farmers and artisans around the world:


April 23, 2014 10am-2pm Fair Trade UCLA at the UCLA Earth Day

April 24, 2014 Earth and Fair Trade Week at Cal Lutheran, 60 West Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. Fair Trade LA

will be there for a Fair Trade Boutique on the Thursday!

April 26, 2014 Earth Day Concert and Celebration, Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach 11am-4pmTen Thousand

Villages will be there.

May 1, 2014 8:30am-1:30pm Metropolitan Water District Spring Green Expo, 700 N. Alameda, LA – Look for Fair

Trade LA’s table

May 3, 2014 11am-5pm Earth and Art Day Festival, Memorial Park, Raymond and Holly Ave, Pasadena. Fair

Trade Pasadena and Altadena will be there.

May 4, 2014 9am to 3pm St. Andrews Church Fair Trade Boutique, 42 Chestnut St., Pasadena. Fair Trade LA

vendors will be there.

May 10, 2014 9am-2pm World Fair Trade Day Global Holiday Market at Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters, 260 N.

Allen, Pasadena. Fair Trade LA vendors will be there.

Valentine’s Day Chocolate
Sets Slaves Free



Did you know that most chocolate consumed in the US is tainted with the labor of more than a quarter of a million child slaves in Africa?  Whether we have wanted it or not, over the years most of our purchases have supported slavery in the chocolate industry. Fair Trade certifies only chocolate products that demonstrate there is no slave labor in the supply chain

This Valentine’s Day you can be one of hundreds of thousands of people who will be giving Fair Trade chocolate to their Valentines.   Look for Fair Trade chocolate at your local supermarkets and specialty stores.   Make a difference in people’s lives.


Do your Holiday Shopping at these

upcoming FAIR TRADE LA boutiques

Dec. 7, 2013            First Unitarian Fellowship, 2936 W. 8th St., LA.   10am-3pm

Dec. 7 & 8, 2013   Holy Redeemer Church, 2411 Montrose Ave., Montrose, CA.  5pm Saturday and 11am Sunday

Dec. 8, 2013           New City Church of Los Angeles, 514 S. Spring St., LA.  11am-3pm

Dec. 14, 2013         Jameson Global Gift Market, 260 N. Allen, Pasadena.  9am-3pm

Dec. 15, 2013         Unitarian Universalist Church, 5450 E. Atherton St., Long Beach.   9am-1pm 

Next FTLA Meeting January 21, 2014!!


Please note that there will be no December 2013 meeting. And the January meeting will be on TUESDAY, January 21, 2014 due to the holiday

7-9pm at Hebrew Union College,

3077 University Ave.
Enter from eastside of Hoover St.
(between 30th and 32nd Avenues.)

Enter security gate to be buzzed in.

For more info, call Joan Harper (818) 406-9296

Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean


Please join Fair Trade Pasadena in seeing “Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean” on Wednesday, October 23rd at the Laemmle Playhouse in Pasadena. This film is about Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Ugandan coffee farmers who form a cooperative to build peace & economic prosperity and how Fair Trade US consumers are inspired by them and mirroring their model. The screening will be followed by a panel with the filmmakers. Fair Trade Pasadena, Ten Thousand Villages and Holy Family Church, South Pasadena are bringing the filmmaker and cinematographer out to speak to us after the screening.

When: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:10pm

Where: Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

For tickets, visit


A Fair Trade Ambassador Reflects on India


Sometimes one plane ride can change the course of your entire life. In 2006 my life changed after a vacation to India for two weeks over Thanksgiving.

From the moment I stepped off the plane in New Delhi, the smells, the sights, and the stark contrasts infiltrated my senses.

I saw so many things in those weeks: a sherbet colored sunset over the centuries-old castle at Fatehpur Skiri, beautifully crafted art at the Dilli Haat, people full of life and joy, and then, a dead body lying in the streets, a child beggar who danced when given only 20 rupees (50 cents), while I brushed my teeth with bottled water in a luxurious four bedroom, five bathroom apartment.

There, I told beggars, as is recommended, “I’m sorry; I only give to organizations.” I wanted to keep that promise, but in a way that would make real change, not just charity. By finding a way to help people that would transform their lives forever, not just that one dancing moment.

When I returned to the US, I scoured the internet and discovered the “Fair Trade” Movement.

Fair Trade is a way of doing business which connects producers to consumers while apportioning the producer a fair share of the purchase price.

Fair Trade evens the playing field for the poorest farmers by: requiring transparency from the entire supply chain, organizing producers into democratic cooperatives, using indigenous, modern and sustainable farming practices. Fair Trade is still business, but in a more ethical way; without exploitation, with democracy and subsidiary.

Slowly, the Fair Trade movement overtook my life. Through my work with Fair Trade Los Angeles I was blessed to become a CRS Fair Trade Ambassador. Eventually, I found myself praying for a merger between my work and my volunteer selves. By chance, I discovered a graduate program, at Columbia University, a Master of Science in Sustainability Management. Perfect! This would allow me reshape my business experience into a new job which included a social mission – I hoped.

Happily, I was accepted into the Fall 2012 cohort.

My educational experiences have strengthened my own beliefs, by connecting poverty and sustainability in a way that has inspired me and moved me, while reinforcing that the issues of sustainability, labor, and poverty are interconnected.

I was surprised to find that not everyone felt the same. Some of my colleagues find these challenges too overwhelming to be breached, a very few have even used phrases like “those” people.

There are certainly others, who feel as I do, that ending poverty is an important component of sustainability, and that things like clean water are a human right, not just an environmental issue. They believe, as I do, that until we take on the deep challenges of poverty, we cannot heal the planet.

Three semesters into my masters, I believe even more, that Fair Trade can provide solutions for pollution and poverty, by helping farmers stay on their own land, in the countryside. Besides increasing incomes, cooperative members democratically decide on how to use dues/fees: building latrines, a well, or a school, whatever is most needed.

One day I will return to India to visit a Fair Trade weaving cooperative which now makes many of the clothes in my closet. I have learned, through Fair Trade and graduate school, that each dollar spent votes for a better Earth and justice for her people. I’d like for others to learn this lesson too.

Guest Post by Elizabeth O’Neill, Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Ambassador and a member of Fair Trade Los Angeles

August 2013