It's More Than A Campaign

As I walked past the coffee prep station at my local coffee shop in Los Angeles, I stared at the colorful packets of sugar with a keen eye, noting the lack of a specific Fair Trade seal, a wave of disappointment runs through me. I am on the hunt to find community organizations that serve Fair Trade products to help Los Angeles become classified as the largest Fair Trade City in the US. At first, my interest started out of curiosity, knowing the impact of the health & wellness industry on Angelenos' lifestyles, I wanted to know how easy it was to find places that chose to serve Fair Trade items. It is often the smaller items, like sugar, tea, or soap, that go missed in public spaces, so I checked the soap at my yoga studio, the sugar at my coffee shop, the free coffee, or tea samples at stores or hotels…and I have yet to come across any hidden gems personally. My search did not include me going out of my way to find places but to check my regular points of interest. The more places I went, the harder I looked for the circle or square symbols in the far corners of packaging or signage. Often seen with a figure of a human or hands, Fair Trade seals denote the product or company has been certified and made under specific ethical and environmental standards. These logos can often be missed, due to their small size, but what they represent has a significant impact. 

With every Fair Trade product that is purchased, consumers are supporting practices that improve people's lives by providing livable wages and funds that go back into the communities that harvest ingredients and make the products. Fair Trade certified means that those practices also work to protect land and waterways, and the companies are transparent about their manufacturing. As a consumer, buying Fair Trade certified products allows me to feel good about my purchases and contribute to a healthier global community.


That is why Fair Trade LA launched its current campaign to make Los Angeles the largest Fair Trade City in the US by March 18, 2020. To not only make it convenient for Angelenos and tourists to shop and consume local, green, and fair, but to also cultivate a conscious, sustainable community. The campaign first launched in 2014, requiring specific criteria to grow awareness through media events and education programs, as well as identifying businesses that sell and serve Fair Trade products. Now in the final few weeks of the campaign, an extra push is required from Angelenos to help identify only 28 more (Updated 2.24.20) community organizations i.e., cafes, studios, restaurants, etc., that SERVE Fair Trade products. Practices could include using Fair Trade soaps like Dr. Bronner's in restrooms, providing Fair Trade sweeteners like Wholesome sugar at coffee shops or restaurants, or even offering free, Fair Trade coffee, tea, or snacks to employees or customers.

The last steps of this campaign have become increasingly harder because we need to find places that provide these products for free, rather than sell them. And, while these decisions for product choice may seem small — because a Fair Trade sugar or chocolate may be just as delicious as a non-Fair Trade version — providing Fair Trade products denotes an added thoughtfulness and intention within daily business practices.

The campaign will close with a Press Conference at City Hall on March 18, 2020, at 9:00 AM, where a resolution will pass supporting Los Angeles as a Fair Trade City, followed by a celebration later that evening. All are welcome to attend the Press Conference and celebrate Los Angeles becoming the largest Fair Trade City in America!

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There is also an incentive program for those who participate in the campaign and help identify locations by March 1, 2020. People can send in their Fair Trade Finds by submitting a photo and location information to and using the hashtag #LAFairTradeFinds on Instagram.

Submit 1 location, and you win an awesome 'I Voted With My Dollar' enamel pin.

Submit 5 locations, and you win a Miir water bottle or coffee tumbler.

And finally, the winner with the most submissions gets a free ticket to the upcoming Fair Trade Campaign National Conference 2020, held on March 20-22 at The Westin Pasadena.

These prizes are only available until March 1, so you better get a move on it!

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The Fair Trade LA campaign is more than just an end goal, identifying these 100 businesses is just the beginning of cultivating a Los Angeles Fair Trade community that elevates the world through the ethical practices we stand for and the conscious products we buy. Los Angeles is an incredibly diverse city with people from all places of the globe and many different cultures. We are also a green and sustainable city that seeks to better our environment through our renewable energy sources, recycling programs, natural gas public transportation, and maintaining national parks and public spaces.

Part of honoring our Angeleno diversity is about remembering how interdependent we are as a global society. By using our purchasing power and putting money into companies that support ethical environmental and social production, we are supporting a greater cause and gaining an awareness of how we are all connected to the people and places that make the items we consume.

Here are some everyday Fair Trade products to look out for:

For more information about the campaign, please click here.

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Want to learn more about the Fair Trade Movement? You Can!

Attend the Fair Trade Press Conference at LA City Hall on March 18th, 2020 at 9:00 AM


Attend the annual Fair Trade Campaigns National Conference 2020, March 20-22 at The Westin Pasadena. For more information & registration, please visit:


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