Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WANTED: Locals Looking to Get Involved!

Moving into 2014, Boulder is only ONE endorsement away from being declared a Fair Trade city! With the new year, we are looking for new members to form our steering committee. Gaining some fresh perspectives on spreading Fair Trade awareness in our lovely city is currently one of our top goals. 

Do you want to be a part of the change?

Members of the steering committee decide which local actions are taken to promote Fair Trade knowledge and availability. This includes:

- Connecting with retailers who sell Fair Trade items
- Connecting with community organizations who support the Fair Trade movement
- Fostering media attention (social media and local news sources) around Fair Trade
- Planning Fair Trade educational and/or promotional events
- Getting the word out about Fair Trade in any way you choose!

As a part of the steering committee, you can gain volunteer experience in a variety of fields. Last year, committee member Natalie Sober even got to visit Fair Trade artisans and producers in Mexico.

CONTACT us at if you want to get involved!

Learn more about Fair Trade Campaigns USA here.
Read about the 10 Principles of Fair Trade here.

Natalie in Mexico with a Fair Trade weaver!

Fair Trade Gift Baskets - The Next Big Thing in Fair Trade!

What could be sweeter than receiving a gift basket from someone you hold dear? (Making it FAIR TRADE!)

This traditional offering of heartfelt well-wishes and welcoming is getting a touch-up via the introduction of new Fair Trade products. Not only will gift basket enthusiasts see items they've never seen before, they'll also have the chance to support a global movement that protects workers AND the environment while supporting community development. Another basic Fair Trade principle is respecting cultural identity - why not use your symbolic gift to support cultural preservation around the world?

Our newest campaign partner, Hometown Basket LLC, already has a line of Fair Trade baskets that you can check out here. For all you local business lovers, they also offer a selection of Colorado Proud baskets!

We're excited by this expansion of Fair Trade availability!

(image courtesy of Hometown Basket)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stories From Mexico - Majomut Coffee, Small Producers as the Heart of Fair Trade

This entry is a blog post written by Natalie Sober (Fair Trade Towns Boulder). It details a visit to the headquarters of a Mexican coffee cooperative during the 2013 Trip to Origin.

Listening to our taxi driver Guillermo melodically translate bits of Spanish into his native language of Tzotzil, we did not know the intensity of the conversation we were about to enter. Houses gave way to densely forested hills as we approached the headquarters of Majomut, Union of Organic Coffee Producers, on the edge of San Cristobal de las Casas in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

In Tzotzil, “Majomut” means the meeting place of the birds. Of the 969 cooperative members representing 35 distinct communities, 100% are of Tzotzil or Tzeltal descent. The entire cooperative is comprised of indigenous peoples. Founded in 1983, Majomut has been proudly organic since 1992. Fernando Rodríguez, the Head of Operations, was our guide for the evening as he talked us through the main logistical and philosophical points of the cooperative.

Left: Fernando Rodríguez (left) and another member of the administrative team
Right: The entrance to Unión Majomut

“No hay gerente” – there is no one director. Fernando was insistent on the collective nature of Majomut from the beginning.

Majomut formed out of a desire to foster a more direct relationship with the cafetaleros, those growing the coffee. In the past, coyotes (rugged middlemen roaming the Chiapan hills) took advantage of the farmers’ poor access to markets. They refused to pay prices that reflected what the farmers knew their coffee was worth. Under this system, it was impossible for the farmers to improve their quality of life. Majomut aimed to change this via collective effort.

As a cooperative, these indigenous cafetaleros have organized social support to help them craft a quality product while taking care of the environment. Part of their social premium is invested in organic trainings for the cafetaleros, while another part supports organic gardening projects run by women.  These trainings are not contracted out; leaders come from within the communities. This level of internal responsibility is also evident in el Microbanco Campesino (the workers’ bank), which was established to promote a culture of savings and provide access to pre-harvest financing. Majomut chooses to empower itself rather than seek external aid.

A photograph of some of the cooperative's cafetaleros

At this point, our conversation took a twist from the specifics of the co-op to Fair Trade as a philosophy.

 “El comercio justo no debe ser una moda, debe ser un modelo” (Fair Trade should not be a fad, it should be a model). Majomut already pays for multiple certifications to assure consumers of the quality of their product.  One concern Fernando expressed was that Fair Trade USA would decide to no longer accept FLO-CERT and that they would have to go through yet another certification channel (Billy, the national Fair Trade Campaigns Organizer, assured him otherwise). Fernando voiced another concern regarding the fate of true “small producers” as plantation pilot programs emerge on the Fair Trade scene. He worries that small producers, the traditional heart of Fair Trade, will be pushed out of the market as larger-scale operations gain momentum.

Fernando’s message to the U.S. consumer was simple: learn to differentiate between products crafted by small producers and those that come from plantations because “hay una gran diferencia” (there is a huge difference). Small producers “need a way to meet their basic needs,” and they “take care of the environment” in ways plantations do not.

The emergence of the Small Producer Symbol (el símbolo de pequeños productores), seen above, is a Latin American initiative aimed at helping distinguish products such as those coming from Majomut. It is one of the labels that Majomut is proud to carry. When asked what hired workers on plantations should do to receive fair compensation, Fernando’s answer was straightforward: organize. With twenty members, you can form a cooperative. Had there been more time, I am certain this discussion would have continued.

            Majomut defines itself as “un camino en construcción” (a path under construction). Certainly this is true, as it is for all human endeavors, but it seems that they are already well on their way.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back In Action

The campaign is back!

We have a new steering committee and exciting goals for the year to come. Expect to see us back in the media and around town!

In other news, Fair Trade Towns Boulder has been presented with an amazing opportunity. On July 12th, committee member Natalie Sober will travel to Mexico with Fair Trade Towns USA to experience Fair Trade in the field. Traveling between Oaxaca and Chiapas, she will meet Fair Trade weavers, carvers, coffee producers, and honey farmers! Pictures and stories will be posted.

Connect with us through this site, our Facebook (, or Twitter (@fttboulder)!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Competition to Win Caribbean Trip & Year’s Supply of Fair Trade Ice Cream

We're holding a competition to raise awareness of fair trade in Boulder and give away some awesome prizes...

Get the scoop on our competitions page and in the press release and poster below...
Fair Trade Boulder: Trip Competition Poster 2011 Fair Trade Boulder: Trip Competition Press Release 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What is a Fair Trade Town?

Media, PA is the first Fair Trade Town in the USA and their video gives an excellent introduction to what a Fair Trade Town can become...

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Guide for Congregations to Support Fair Trade in Boulder

A couple of months ago we sent out a letter (see below for template) to congregations in Boulder and included this guide to help them see what they can easily do to support fair trade.   Fair Trade Faith Groups Boulder Guide

The template letter is also included for other Fair Trade Towns to use...

Fair Trade Faith Groups Letter Template