In this special WORT Birthday Boost edition of the Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz on November 30, our host Jonathan Zarov spoke with John Peck and Carol Bracewell of the Domestic Fair Trade Association, to speak about Fair Trade and the 16th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival. Carol Bracewell is from Community Action Latin America, and John Peck is from InfoShop and Family Farm Defenders. They trace the roots of fair trade to the 1940s and 50’s, post-WWII; it was an effort by church groups to provide economic development opportunities to countries in Europe whose economies were ravaged by the war, importing traditional European handicrafts to the United States. An important component of the Fair Trade concept is the consumer’s right to know, John explains.
Carol distinguishes a Fair Trade product from a Fair Trade business, explaining that it is important to include Fair Trade into the business model itself. They also speak about the difficulty of labeling: “for example, what does ‘natural’ mean? What labels do you trust after a while? Fair Trade is mostly certified independently, so who are the certifiers?” They bring up the issue that is often encountered with Fair Trade Coffee, “do you certify fair trade coffee that has been grown on a giant plantation?” Carol says.
“I want fewer degrees of separation between me and the product;” Carol explains that in the Fair Trade Festival this is possible, where one does not need to worry about the authenticity of labeling. “We can’t necessarily buy coffee, olive oil, or cocoa from the Farmer’s Market because it is not grown locally. So the next best thing is one degree of separation. When you go to the festival you are going to meet a vendor who has probably met the artist, these are folks that travel to other countries, meet people, and buy things, and that’s why our theme this year is Gifts with a Story.” The theme signifies the personal stories that come with each product, to bridge the gap between the consumer, the product, and the artist.
16th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival
Saturday, December 1, 2012
9 – 4 PM, Monona Terrace
Read more about Community Action on Latin America here.
Read about the Madison Fair Trade Festival, including the full list of vendors and official press release here.
Visit the Madison Fair Trade Festival on Facebook.
Listen to the entire interview here: