Fair Trade Towns USA is a national campaign uniting community activists from across the country who are dedicated to the principles of Fair Trade. By organizing our communities at the local level we are able to make a tangible impact on the US market, creating the demand for justice and equity for producers, artisans, farmers, and workers around the world.

The campaign is made up of a diverse group of inspired activists, engaged community groups and organizations, and socially responsible members of the business community. We are committed to raising awareness in our fellow citizens that decisions about where we spend our dollars have ramifications that echo across communities, countries and continents.

To be recognized as a Fair Trade Town, City, or Community in the U.S., the following criteria need to be fulfilled:

• Formation of a steering committee that meets regularly and manages the campaign
• Outreach to area retailers to increase Fair Trade product availability on a per capita basis
• Demonstrated support from local organizations, schools, and places of worship
• Local media attention for the campaign to increase awareness
• Passage of a resolution supporting Fair Trade by the local governing body

Contact Pasadena here.
Contact South Pasadena here.
Contact Long Beach here.



Fair Trade LA has had active campaigns to create Fair Trade Towns in the greater L.A.
area and so we are excited that on April 2012 Claremont became the first southern
California Fair Trade Town, followed on January 14, 2013 by Pasadena. Fair Trade LA
is actively working on other cities to follow suit.

Billy Linstead Goldsmith
National Coordinator
Fair Trade Towns USA


Media, PA (July 06)
Brattleboro, VT (June 07)
Milwaukee, WI (October 07)
Amherst, MA (November 07)
Taos, NM (March 08)
Northampton, MA (April 08)
San Francisco, CA (May 08)
Montclair, NJ (October 08)
Ballston Spa, NY (December 08)
Chico, CA (February 09)
Bluffton, OH (May 09)
Burlington, VT (August 09)
Highland Park, NJ (September 09)
Buena Vista, CO (March 10)
Red Bank, NJ (April 10)
Madison, WI (May 10)
Norman, OK (May 10)
Conway, MA (June 10)
Berkeley, CA (August 10)
Boston, MA (August 10)


On April 24, 2012 the Claremont City Council adopted a Resolution in Support of Fair Trade and with that action Claremont joined with 1,000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide and became the first Fair Trade Town in Southern California.
The effort began when a small group met in January of 2011 and committed to make Fair Trade an integral part of everyday life in the community. Using the strategic plan of Fair Trade Towns USA the committee reached out to retailers and engaged the community at every opportunity, from small house gatherings, to large group presentations, to information and dialogue at community wide celebrations. Strategic alliances with Environmental and Anti-Trafficking movements brought new groups of activists on board to support Fair Trade.
One of the Fair Trade Claremont committee joined a delegation to the Dominican Republic, visited Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and banana cooperatives and returned with stories of Fair Trade and the people. The buzz and energy for a Fair Trade Town peaked.
Conversations, emails, and meetings with local government staff and each City Council member proved critical to explain Fair Trade and clarify misunderstandings. It all came together when at its public meeting the Council agreed that Fair Trade was a win for small producers, for children, for the environment and for the city of Claremont and then approved a Resolution in Support of Fair Trade. The Council gave notice that Claremont is a community on the move to make the world a better place for everyone.

Pasadena on Valentine’s Day 2013 became the third Fair Trade Town in southern
California, joining with 1,500 others worldwide.

“It’s something, we as a city, can be really proud of,” said Diana Percival, lead organizer
for Fair Trade Pasadena, on the steps of City Hall, following a ribbon cutting ceremony
and the unveiling of the new “Fair Trade Pasadena” logo.

“It (the designation) says we’re a socially-conscious purchasing community that uses
our purchasing power to benefit communities around the world and to benefit our
community here,” Percival said. “Fair Trade means we are purchasing, that are made in
fair conditions. They use sustainable practices in growing and producing the products.”

So in keeping with that sentiment and following their ribbon cutting ceremony, a
reception was held that featured a variety of Fair Trade chocolate, peppers, and other
items courtesy of Whole Foods. Coffee was provided by Jones Coffee.

And, also in attendance, were Mayor Bill Bogaard, City Councilmember Jacque
Robinson and Norm Thomas of the Pasadena-based Ten Thousand Villages fair trade

“Fair Trade was not known very well seven years ago when we started the Ten
Thousand Villages store here in Pasadena. Few people knew of it,” Thomas said. “Now,
seven years later, we find people coming to our store increasingly aware of Fair Trade,
increasingly wanting to find Fair Trade products.”

Pasadena became the 31st Fair Trade in America, joining cities like San Francisco,
Milwaukee, Chicago and Boston, according to a statement read at the ribbon cutting

“By keeping the movement alive, your efforts are drastically changing the lives of
farmers, workers and artisans in emerging countries and giving them the opportunity to
lift themselves out of poverty and secure a more promising future for their families,” read
the statement.

“We’re bringing a new dimension to the economy of Pasadena. All of us here today
are committed to that and many, many others,” added Bogaard. “I think it should be
recognized as a very important and valuable opportunity for good values and good
business to be pursued in Pasadena.

2 responses »

  1. Anthony, many apologies for not seeing this note from you and responding. You have graduated by now, I’m sure. If there is someone else at Chaminade who we can talk to about the Fair Trade city please let us know. Your Higher Grounds Cafe and project are fantastic and a real trend setter. Feel free to reply to our gmail account (fairtradela@gmail.com) to insure we get back to you.

    Joan Harper

  2. Hello, I am Anthony Blander. I am 17, a senior at Chaminade College Preparatory and I represent Higher Grounds Cafe. We are wholesale coffee business based out of my high school. The basis for this business is to integrate our 3 business classes into a real world enviornment. Higher Grounds Cafe’s motto is Higher Quality, Higher Cause and we are a Fair Trade business. It is one of our goals for the year to, at the very least, start on the road to making West Hills, CA into a fair trade city. We would like some help, if there is any, in going down this path. What can we do to make this happen? Thank you.

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