Recap: Fair Trade Campaigns Conference
Recap: Fair Trade Campaigns Conference
Another successful conference!
Three days worth of workshops, speakers, panels and product demonstrations has energized the Fair Trade movement! Over 200 Fair Trade organizers brainstormed new ideas and begin building partnerships vital to advocacy efforts. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend please take a quick look at our Conference Summary below! In the coming weeks we will be posting reflections, outcomes and new resources (like the Toolkit!) that came out of the conference.
On Friday night, Kelsey Timmerman, a freelance writer and the author of Where Am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, opened up the conference with an energetic and practical appeal to increase consumer awareness across the board. Kelsey captivated attendees with an energetic and thought-provoking presentation parallelling his world-wide quest to meet the people producing the products we depend upon daily. You can find out more about Kelsey here!
On Saturday night our hosts, Chicago Fair Trade, presented on their experience becoming the world’s second largest Fair Trade city. Chicago’s Fair Trade story reflects the importance of diversity and inclusion; to create a truly sustainable movement Chicago Fair Trade actively worked to bring businnesses, faith-based organizations, non-profits, student groups and universities, and individual advocates all together to work towards a common goal. Chicago Fair Trade continues to work to ensure that Fair Trade remains an active and engaging conversation in the greater Chicago community.
Kirsten Moller, a founding member of Global Exchange, closed the conference. A leader in the effort to create a more just global society, Kirsten provided examples of times in her own life when advocacy required innovation and strength in the face of institutional opposition. Kirsten motivated the attendees to apply the resources, connections and experiences they gained from the conference both in their everyday lives and in their communities. Make sure to read more about Kirsten here!
Attendees focused on “Building Partnerships for a Stronger Movement” as the main theme for the conference. Saturday morning of the conference started out with a panel discussion that addressed how strong partnerships – primarily local, within our communities and institutions – can support our broader efforts to benefit international Fair Trade partners.
Fair Trade Farmers and Artisans
Fair Trade works to support and empower farmers, workers, and artisans around the world. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear directly from the people most impacted by Fair Trade as part of our Farmer and Artisan Panel. Conference attendees listened to farmers and artisans from Colombia, Ghana and Ecuador speak about the impact of Fair Trade, had the opportunity to ask questions and got to personally connect with our overseas counterparts throughout the conference. These interactions helps inspire us to be more conscious consumers and reminds all of us of the need to advocate for Fair Trade across the nation.
We would like to thank all the conference attendees who made this conference such a success by offering their insight, experiences and energy. We couldn’t have done this without you!
We also want to recognize our generous sponsors who provided funding for the conference, travel stipends for the attendees, and Fair Trade goodies for the weekend. The more demand we create for our partners through spreading awareness of Fair Trade the more impact we can provide to the farmers, workers and artisans who are in need!
Conference Sponsors – Thanks to our sponsors for helping us fulfill travel stipend requests and letting the attendees take home the best goodie bags ever!
Marketplace – Thank you to Fair Trade retailers and wholesalers from the Chicago area, as well as Fair Trade campaigns across the country who made it possible for conference attendees to start their holiday shopping early!
Women Craft Chicago
From October 26 to October 28, over 200 Fair Trade enthusiasts from around the country gathered at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center & Hotel near Chicago, IL to share experiences and resources, sharpen leadership skills, and build momentum for Fair Trade. This 3-day event brought together leaders and organizers from Fair Trade Town and Fair Trade College & University campaigns of all stages, as well as newcomers to the Fair Trade movement. At the conference, attendees were able to deepen the local grassroots commitment to Fair Trade around the US and build partnerships locally that help facilitate life-changing benefits for farmers, workers and artisans in Africa, Asia, and Latin America & the Caribbean.