Norman, OK – Fair Trade Town #17!!!
By Guest Blogger Gene Perry
Norman’s achievement of Fair Trade Town status is the result of a two year campaign by Norman Fair Trade. NFT is a volunteer group including Norman citizens of all ages and backgrounds, from retirees to high school and middle school students. They teamed up with local businesses and community groups, the city council, and the Human Rights Commission to spread awareness about Fair Trade and meet the FTT criteria.
“By becoming a Fair Trade Town Norman has reinforced its leadership role in the areas of sustainability, social responsibility and strengthening of the local economy,” said Ajit Bhand, an organizer with Norman Fair Trade. “Not only does it help local and small businesses, it also positively affects the lives of thousands of farmers and workers in other parts of the world.”
The campaign started in the Fall of 2008 with the aim of promoting Fair Trade in Norman by raising awareness and increasing the availability and demand for Fair Trade products by actively collaborating with local businesses, student organizations, faculty and staff associations, farmers, faith-based organizations, social and environmental justice groups, community leaders and city council members with the goal of making Norman a Fair Trade Town.
Through multiple community events like musical events, tastings, documentary screenings, and most recently, a Fair Trade Soccer Tournament, the campaign was able to connect with members of the community and grow their team significantly.
A resolution passed by the Norman City Council on Tuesday has completed the final step to make Norman the first official Fair Trade Town in Oklahoma and the 17th in the United States. The resolution expresses support for purchasing goods that are produced locally or, if produced abroad, meet Fair Trade standards that focus on improving quality of life for developing country producers and ensuring environmental sustainability.
“The City of Norman has a responsibility to ensure that city funds are spent in an ethical manner that promotes local economies both domestically and abroad,” the resolution stated.
“This has been a product that has been worked on by the Human Rights Commission and many activists in our community interested in the issue of ‘buy local and buy fair,’” said Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal.
Fair Trade products, including coffee, tea, body care products, clothing, and sports equipment, are available at many businesses in Norman. Norman Fair Trade has compiled a Fair Trade map and products listing at their website, http://www.normanfairtrade.org/.