5 Tips for starting or growing the fair trade movement near you!

So you’ve found out about fair trade and fallen in love. Welcome! We’ve been there too. But you’ve realized that there’s not much of a fair trade movement or community near where you live. We’ve been there too! Fair Trade LA was started in a kitchen among five friends who knew the power of fair trade and wanted to see the city change because of it. Since then, we’ve grown to become the largest fair trade city in the US and fourth largest in the world. If we can do it, so can you! Here are some of our best tips and resources for starting or growing the fair trade movement in your area. 

Start a fair trade campaign. Fair Trade Campaigns has great resources for growing awareness and engagement with fair trade. Check out their thorough toolkits for organizing for fair trade towns, colleges or universities, schools, and congregations! You can also search their website to find a fair trade campaign near you. 

Grow your mailing list. It’s likely that there are others in your area who are also passionate about fair trade and want to see it grow. Keep the conversation going to build connections and stay inspired. You never know when a casual remark or chat over coffee will lead to something big. And every time you have an event, be sure to capture email addresses so you can keep in touch for the future. 

Host regular events. Everybody likes a good party! We’ve hosted beach bonfire nights, documentary screenings, pop-up events for fair trade vendors, and attended conferences like the Fair Trade Federation’s Conference and Expo. You could host a clothing swap (check out episode 17 of our Fair Talks podcast for helpful tips!) or plan a shopping day around the holidays dedicated to supporting ethical businesses. Hosting events is a great way to build community and momentum around fair trade. 

Build local connections. Is there a cafe near you that sources all local or organic ingredients? Or a student group on the nearby university campus about climate justice or human rights? Reach out to start a conversation! Schools, houses of worship, and cafes are often very excited to collaborate on events and share information with their own communities. You might be able to support work they’re already doing, co-host an event together, or help them learn about the importance of fair trade. 

Be the change you wish to see. Figuring out the next steps can feel scary and vulnerable. That’s ok! Most of us are creating the path forward as we walk it. The best way to make change in the world is to help create it. Your unique skills, talents, and situation can benefit the global fair trade movement while building local awareness and community. Get started where you are!

Any other tips or advice you’ve found helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

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