Children’s Fair Trade Series at the Peace & Justice Center

Join the Peace and Justice Center this summer for fun with fair trade. Every Thursday at 10:00am through August 16.

Thursday, July 26
Theme: Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade Ice Cream, Peace and Acceptance
Place: Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake Street

Description: This fair trade event for children will be based around discussing Fair Trade ingredients and will include FREE Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream! We will also read some of Todd Parr’s stories, which highlight different kinds of people and families and promote peace and acceptance. Come join us!

Have questions? Contact Gaby Brenneman (802)863-2345 or visit

The Future of Fair Trade

The fair trade world is experiencing some growing pains. As your source of information on all things fair trade, we want to share with you some of the issues being discussed.

In April, many concerned parties in the fair trade movement gathered for the North American Fair Trade Stakeholders Council just met in Minneapolis. Sandy Wynne was proud to represent Fair Trade Burlington Network in this incredibly important debate/discussion about dealing with the challenges faced by the Fair Trade movement, at the national and international level.

This meeting was the beginning of strengthening the movement and clarifying the roles of certifiers. The goal is to raise the bar for everyone, to reinforce the Fair Trade principles, especially transparency and democratic ideals, and to include the voices of all the stakeholders, especially the small producers and workers in the supply chain. Since the Summit, articles have been popping up and we want to share some of the ones we have found to be most helpful in explaining the problem and encouraging dialogue.

Fair Trade Resource Network
The Fair Trade Resource Network offers a clear summary of the summit and the goals of the stakeholders.  You can find the most current updates on their activities at the Stakeholder Council Page.

Fair Trade International 
Fairtrade International, often still referred to as FLO, has created the Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Group for Fair Trade in the U.S. to help strengthen, solidify and grow the Fair Trade movement in the U.S. while staying true to the internationally recognized Fair Trade principles. This group represents a broad range of stakeholders equally participating in this process.

Fair World Project
Here is a summary from Fair World Project of what is happening in the  movement. While there are many concerns, there are also many opportunities as we move forward in our efforts to make Fair Trade stronger and more united in the effort to help alleviate global poverty.

The Sustainable Business Forum
“A Schism over Fair Trade” is an interesting article well worth reading and will hopefully motivate some in depth discussion and probing questions. The article presents a variety of opinions and issues we are currently facing in the Fair Trade movement.

This is only the beginning of change within the movement. We will continue to keep you informed  and we want you to know that we are available to discuss any of your concerns. Given the current crisis in the U.S. Fair Trade movement, we are hopeful that, in the end, we will have a stronger and healthier movement.

What are your questions? What are your concerns? Let’s keep the conversation going.

World Fair Trade Day Celebration

Please join us on Saturday, May 12th from 11:00am-1:00pm in City Hall Park, Burlington, VT for a World Fair Trade Day Celebration!

Senator Sanders and Mayor Kiss celebrated with us in 2009.

Festivities  include:
* Free samples from Ben & Jerry’s
* Delicious smoothies from City Market’s bike powered smoothie maker
* Beautiful fair trade crafts from Peace & Justice and Dolma
* Drumming by Jeh Kulu
* Children’s activities

Enjoy City Market’s Bike Powered Smoothies


Look for us on the south side of City Hall Park in Burlington (closer to Main St.). Our celebration will be happening at the same time as the Burlington Farmer’s Market. The event is free and open to the public.

World Fair Trade Day is a global event that celebrates fair trade and its positive impact by promoting local businesses and organizations committed to making trade fair.

Burlington is the 12th Fair Trade Town in the U.S.A. We aspire to educate our community about the benefits of fair trade in developing countries and to inspire everyone to choose fair trade when possible.

Sample Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade Flavors

World Fair Trade Day is organized by the Peace & Justice Center and the Fair Trade Burlington Network. For more information, please contact Gaby Brenneman: or by calling the Peace and Justice Center (802) 863-2345 ext. 3.

Front page story on Fair Trade and Saint Michael’s College

This story was a front page, above the fold, story in the Burlington Free Press on April 19, 2012 by Jordan Kilty. She interviewed numerous folks, asking lots of good questions which will hopefully encourage energetic discussions about Fair Trade – how it works, what works, what are some problems, etc. Here is the link to this story:

The need for both economic AND political empowerment

If we genuinely want to help reduce global poverty, small rural producers need to have control of the resources and regulatory bodies that affect their lives. Without political empowerment, the danger is “the increasing encroachment of corporate values and interests into the governance of fair trade”. Small producers deserve the opportunity to become more than just suppliers of raw materials for corporations in developed countries. Please read Peter Utting’s article The Challenge of Political Empowerment for an in depth understanding of this critical issue. Mr Utting is Deputy Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.


Fair Trade versus Fair Labor

Excellent discussion by World Fair Project , a campaign started in 2010 by OCA. Check it out:


Fairtrade International helps US with current certification crisis

As of 2012, Fair Trade USA pulled out of the international Fair Trade system. Here is a link to explain how Fairtrade International (also referred to as FLO) is working to help US companies secure the internationally recognized and respected logo certifying Fair Trade products. This link is dated March 2012.

Great article on Kerchner Chocolates

Today’s Burlington Free Press has a great article on Charles Kerchner and his chocolate company, Kerchner Artisan Chocolates. This company demonstrates the core principles that Fair Trade is based on and demonstrates that a logo is not what makes a product or company Fair Trade….it is the genuine actions of transparency and direct trade from the source to the shelf that matter. Thank you Charles and all your producers for a wonderful chocolate product.

VT’s First Fair Trade University/College

Saint Michael’s College is Vermont’s first school to earn the official title as a Fair Trade School. The students, faculty and staff supporting this effort all deserve a big applause! Many congratulations. SMC can lead the way with conversations, debates, academic research, and actions, both on and off campus,  about making trade fair through social, economic and environmental justice for workers and producers everywhere.

Fair Trade colleges and universities connecting around the globe

Be sure to check out this new site: to see an exciting effort to connect students in many countries.