Buena Vista Becomes the First FT Town in Colorado!
By Guest Blogger Joel Benson
Our small community in central Colorado has been working rather hard to put its best foot forward, sustainably. In 2005 a group of forward thinking individuals started our region’s first and only New Urbanist subdivision. We have the longest whitewater park in Colorado, more fourteen thousand foot peaks than anywhere in the country, and Galdling has recently listed Buena Vista as the number one “Best Outdoor Destination with Everything”, alongside such places as Auckland New Zealand, Quito Ecuador, Vancouver BC and others.
Well, it only seems fit that our group of concerned and active citizens has worked with Fair Trade Towns USA to make Buena Vista the First Fair Trade Town in Colorado. What pride we have for our community of 2200 people!
In early 2010, a group of 10 or so citizens, including Town Trustees, the Chairwoman of Planning and Zoning, business owners and managers, realtors, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and community event planners started the campaign. Within a month, the Town Trustees passed a resolution supporting Fair Trade and a few weeks later, the Chaffee County Times picked up our first press release. We were official.
The campaign itself has evolved quickly from earning designation as a Fair Trade Town to education and expansion of the Fair Trade movement within town and its environs. With the Buena Vista Roastery already focused on Fair Trade and Organics supplying many places in town, along with a natural food store and a host of businesses, churches, banks, and other places that offer FT food and artisan products, the campaign has moved at lightening speed.
Brian England of the Eddyline Brewery and member of the steering committee says, “Our first priority is local production. Still, there are many things that we cannot grow here, and we need to be aware of how things like coffee and chocolate are grown, and support those farmers as best we can. It’s what we do.”
“Our town citizens have always been conscious of the impact of their local purchasing decisions. This designation is a welcome acknowledgement of what the people here do already without fanfare,” says Mayor Cara Russell.
We appreciate the opportunity to become a Fair Trade Town and we are incredibly proud to have this status. People in neighboring communities have asked for help to join the ranks and we look forward to raising awareness as to what Fair Trade means throughout our county. Our first official event will be on World Fair Trade Day, followed with participation in PaddleFest, the Collegiate Peaks Music Fest, and other summer activities.