Organizer Spotlight: Ryan Midden, Fair Trade Boston

Courtney Lang February 14, 2012


Ryan, on the far left, attended the 5th International Fair Trade Towns Conference in Malmo Sweden last November where we visited the Fair Trade Denmark offices saw Ben & Jerry's pints on the shelf .

Ryan offers pointers for reaching out to your local Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop

My name is Ryan Midden and I am the General Manager for Ben & Jerry’s Boston.   I am also a proud member of the Fair Trade Boston & Fair Trade Cambridge campaigns.  Our coalition declared Boston a Fair Trade Town in the fall of 2010 and is currently working on achieving Fair Trade Town status in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Our group works throughout the year to educate as many students, community members and business’ as we can about Fair Trade.  We do a lot of our work by hosting and participating in as many events as possible.  We try to make all of our events unique and very informative so that we can really engage our target audience and try to get them to become an ambassador for Fair Trade in our community.

As a member of the Ben & Jerry’s family for over eight years, I take great pride in getting our scoop shops involved in educating our community and our consumers about our food & where it comes from.  Ben & Jerry’s has a long standing commitment to quality & transparency.  Ben & Jerry’s has always believed in using their purchasing power to buy the best possible ingredients knowing that it will make an ice cream that’s not just good for the belly, but good for the soul.  It is this very famous brand name, and its even more famous product, that we use a lot to help draw people out to our events.  One of our beloved co-founders Ben Cohen speaks fondly of this method of “bait & switch” to get people’s attention with free ice cream and get them to listen while you present your cause.

To sum it all up, ice cream makes a good event a great event, and free ice cream makes it spectacular.  I want to offer some tips, or dos and don’ts, for reaching out to your local Ben & Jerry’s Franchisee to get ice cream and support for your next event.  I hope these tips will help you.  I have also attached my email at the bottom and if there are any additional questions that I can answer for you I would be happy to.

  • The first step is the easiest; you just need to find the Ben & Jerry’s nearest you.  If you are in a big city there might be several franchisees operating in that city.  But you can generally be certain that they all communicate regularly and even do events together.  Our entire franchise community can be found from our scoop shops websites at
  • All franchise donation requests must be submitted in writing.  Additionally, all donated ice cream must be ordered specially, so please send in your request at least two weeks in advance to give them time to order the product.
  • Ben & Jerry’s scoopers love to get out in the community as well, make sure to also invite your local franchisee out to your events.  If they see how you operate and get a firsthand look at what you are doing in the community they might be more inclined to donate more often, they might also want to come and scoop for you themselves.
  • Please remember, May to September is the busiest time of year for ice cream shops.  For most of the shops in the US is the most integral part of the year where everyone is working the hardest to make up for the long and slow off season.  So be mindful of reaching out mid-summer.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response right away, just be persistent and make sure you’ve given your local franchisee plenty of advance notice.
  • Lastly, make sure to stay on top of what B&J’s is doing nationally.  From concerts, to social media contests to new Fair Trade flavor launches Ben & Jerry’s activity grows immensely in the summer season.  If there are events happening in your area with Ben & Jerry’s make sure to reach out and try to get involved.!/benandjerrys


Good Luck & Happy Scooping!!!

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Courtney Lang, National Organizer | Fair Trade Campaigns

Courtney Lang brings over 5 years of community organizing to Fair Trade Towns USA, building both the Local Food and Fair Trade networks in Vermont. As Local Food Coordinator with City Market/Onion River Cooperative, Courtney worked with local producers, institutions and consumers to grow the local food system and organize a strategic model for community engagement through farm tours, workshops, and local food challenges. Like many in the Fair Trade industry, Courtney was inspired to take action in Fair Trade when she witnessed child-labor first hand in Costa Rica. As a founding member of Fair Trade Burlington, she has worked with economic development organizations, businesses, and consumers to build awareness of Fair Trade among Vermonters. She also worked with a Fair Trade USA licensee, Vermont Coffee Company, as Friend Ambassador where she united the story of Fair Trade to every purchase of coffee.