Organizer Spotlight: Nicole Main – Bloomington, IN

Courtney Lang August 30, 2012

Fair Trade Bloomington members Dave Debikey, Nicole Main, Tana Hellwig, Mary Embry, and Hannah Fidler.

Here is a blog written by Fair Trade Bloomington’s Nicole Main.  Read on to discover where Bloomington is at in the process to becoming a Fair Trade Town and what kind of relationships have fueled their success!


My name is Nicole Main, and I work with the Fair Trade Bloomington campaign. Our committee’s main goal at this point is to complete the work to be designated as a Fair Trade Town. In order to complete this, we need to convince two more community organizations to dedicate themselves to supporting Fair Trade, and pass a city resolution declaring Bloomington a Fair Trade Town. My work with Fair Trade Bloomington is primarily focused on maintaining our Facebook page, our Twitter handle @fairtradebloom, and our website. I also try to keep Fair Trade Bloomington connected to other Fair Trade Towns by joining the conference calls and webinars. I have also been very pleased to participate in the first Fair Trade Towns Conference last September and the first Fair Trade Towns Trip to Origin to Costa Rica. Meeting sugar and coffee producers in Costa Rica was one of my favorite Fair Trade experiences.

In addition to being a member of the Fair Trade Bloomington board of directors, I am also an assistant manager at a Fair Trade retail store, Global Gifts in Bloomington. Although I know Fair Trade commodities are important, I am most passionate and excited about Fair Trade crafts. Artisan crafts are often produced by marginalized workers who might not have physical ability or land resources to farm. I am especially proud of the fact that women and people with disabilities are major players in Fair Trade crafts!

Ricardo, a farmer and agronomist with CoopeTarrazu in Costa Rica, told us Fair Trade allowed him to preserve his favorite tree and his family’s land.

Planning Fair Trade Events in Bloomington

The fact that several of Fair Trade Bloomington’s board members are involved at Global Gifts allows us to work closely together to plan Fair Trade events. I have especially enjoyed our last two World Fair Trade Day events. In order to educate community members about Fair Trade in an entertaining way, Fair Trade Bloomington has sampled Fair Trade chocolate and coffee outside of Global Gifts, and invited people to take a short and easy Fair Trade Quiz inside the store. Participants answered just 5 questions that they could answer by finding labeled cards with information about products around the store. After answering the questions, participants got to spin a wheel to win prizes, such as lip balm, mini chocolates, gift certificates donated by local restaurants, Fair Trade USA tote bags, and small items donated by Fair Trade Resource Network and other Fair Trade vendors. These events are great because both Fair Trade fans and novices learn more and leave smiling.

Importance of Building Partnerships

It would be very difficult to put on an event like this without strong partnerships, so I would advise anyone putting on an event for the first time to find a Fair Trade retailer to work with. In addition, utilizing Fair Trade Towns USA resources and information from Fair Trade Resource Network has helped us tremendously. Also, don’t be afraid to ask Fair Trade wholesalers for samples of their products to use at your event!  I would love to trade ideas about events with you, so please feel free to connect with Fair Trade Bloomington on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.