Conference News: Program Details & Theme

Parker Townley September 26, 2012

Fair Trade Campaigns Conference

October 26 – 28 | Chicago, Illinois

Register Here!


Building off of the success of last year, the second national conference will be centered around the theme of “Building Partnerships for a Stronger Movement.” The goal of this conference is 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. This October, Fair Trade enthusiasts from all over the country will come together to share experiences and resources, sharpen leadership skills, and build momentum for Fair Trade. The program will include keynote speakers, producer panels, as well as plenary, breakout and networking sessions.

Break-out Sessions 

Leadership Development, Community Organizing  & Fair Trade 101

This year, we have divided up the conference into 3 tracks: Fair Trade Towns, Fair Trade Campuses, and Fair Trade Advocates.  We will have 4 break-out sessions in the span of the weekend and each track (town, campus and advocate), will have multiple sessions during each breakout.  For campus and town leaders sessions will focus on the following four areas: building effective partnerships, dealing with challenges, sustaining your campaign and setting goals and taking action.  The Fair Trade Advocate sessions will focus on educating newcomers about the history, scope and impact of Fair Trade and its systems, while also introducing techniques to a engage campus or community in Fair Trade.

Please note that all attendees have the opportunity to participate in any of the 3 tracks during these break-out sessions if they wish to learn more about the other tracks.

Panel Discussions

Partnerships & Producers

There will be two panels, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. In line with the theme, the first panel will consist of leaders from key areas of campuses and communities that Fair Trade campaigns have built or have shown strong interest in building partnerships with. The panel will have representatives from Local First Chicago, a food cooperative, Real Food Challenge, Sodexo, and more.

Then on Sunday, there will be a Fair Trade producer panel with an artisan from Ghana, a coffee farmer from Mexico, and two banana producers from Colombia.  It will be a great opportunity for attendees to learn and ask questions about Fair Trade from the producer’s perspective.

Keynote Speakers

Kelsey Timmerman & Kirsten Moller

We are excited to announce that we will have two very special keynote speakers at the conference this year: Kirsten Moller and Kelsey Timmerman. Kirsten Moller, a founding member of Global Exchange in 1988, has long been a leader in the effort to create a more just global society. Listen here for a quick 20 second reflection from Kirsten on the value Global Exchange provides! 

Fueled by passion and curiosity, Kelsey Timmerman tells the story of the items we often take for granted. He is the author of WHERE AM I WEARING? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, and is in the process of writing his next book, WHERE AM I EATING?, out in 2013. Watch this informative video here to learn more about his book, WHERE AM I WEARING?

Please stay tuned for more information as we announce the finalized schedule for the conference in the upcoming weeks.  We hope to see you at the conference!

Questions?  Please contact Courtney Lang at

Fair Trade Campaigns Conference
October 26 – 28 | Chicago, Illinois

Register Here!


  1. What time of day does the conference start on Friday, Oct 26th? Trying to determine what time of day we need to fly in to be there for the start of the conference.


    Ann Francis - 12 years ago
  2. Conference begins 5:00pm on Friday, Oct 26.
    Closes at 3pm Sunday, Oct 28.

    David Funkhouser - 12 years ago
  3. Hello, I have a couple of questions.

    1. What time does the conference start on Saturday and Sunday?
    2. What time does the conference end on Saturday?
    3. Is there a place where we can download the program already?

    Thank you,

    Emmanuelle Victor

    Emmanuelle Victor - 12 years ago
  4. Here you go:
    1. The conference starts at 9:15 AM on both Saturday and Sunday, though there is breakfast beforehand.
    2. End time on Saturday is 9 PM, though there are optional events from 8:30-9:00PM
    3. The program will be on the website tomorrow!

    billy - 12 years ago

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Parker Townley, National Organizer | Fair Trade Colleges & Universities

Parker Townley works for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to help connect students and faculty with the resources they need to effectively campaign for Fair Trade on campus. In his free time Parker explores the Sierra Nevadas with his trusty backpack, roams the Bay Area in search of the perfect cup of coffee, and cultivates a small veggie garden.