Year in Review: Top 10 Achievements of 2017
2017 was an exciting year for Fair Trade Campaigns!
Lets take a look back at the Top 10 Achievements of the year.
1) Texas A&M University took the title of largest Fair Trade University in the U.S.
Texas A&M is the 46th and largest university in the nation, and only the second in Texas, to earn official designation as a Fair Trade University from Fair Trade Campaigns. Read more.
2) Houston declared as the second largest Fair Trade Town in the U.S.
On October 19, 2017, Houston earned designation as the first Fair Trade Town in the state of Texas, and the second largest Fair Trade Town in the United States. Houston is also the first major city to announce a zero tolerance human trafficking policy in city service contracts. Read more.
3) Middlebury Institute of International Studies declared as the first Fair Trade graduate school in the U.S.
On April 6, 2017, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey celebrated declaration as the first Fair Trade graduate school in the country. The student team worked with campus stakeholders, including the Center for Social Impact Learning, the Sustainability Council, and the Student Council, to complete the requirements of the Fair Trade College & University designation program. Read more.
4) Four campaigns celebrated First in State declarations – in Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
First in state declarations become less common as our network continues to grow, and we’re thrilled to have celebrated this achievement multiple times in 2017. Join us in welcoming Emerald High School, the first Fair Trade School in South Carolina; UNC Asheville, the first Fair Trade University in North Carolina; Houston, the first Fair Trade Town in Texas; and Duke University Chapel, the first Fair Trade Congregation in North Carolina.
5) Fair Trade campaigners sent over 2,000 valentines to farmers and artisans.
Thanks to our amazing campaigners, and our program partners at Divine Chocolate, Mayan Hands, and One World Flowers, we were able to send thousands of valentines to farmers and artisans in Ghana, Guatemala, and Ecuador. Help us surpass that number next year – sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we launch our 2018 Valentine’s Day program in January!
6) We launched a fourth regional network in the Great Lakes.
Since 2014, Fair Trade Campaigns has developed and implemented regional networks across the U.S. to help campaigns and advocates feel connected to each other and the larger Fair Trade movement. Adding to established networks in the Mid Atlantic, Northeast, and Southwest, we welcomed the Great Lakes as our newest region in August. Read more.
7) We hosted three brand and advocate convenings.
This Fall, we brought Fair Trade advocates together with brand and NGO representatives to connect, learn, and explore new ideas to increase consumer engagement with Fair Trade. These gatherings, which took place in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Chicago, sparked new ideas that we will explore in more detail at the 2018 National Conference.
8) A record number of campuses participated in Fair Trade Finals.
140 campuses and schools participated in our Fair Trade Finals program at the end of the spring and fall semesters. Thanks to generous donations from our brand sponsors – Doi Chaang Coffee, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Numi Tea, HAE Now, Y’abal, Sun Coffee Roasters, Tony’s Chocolonely, Traditional Medicinals, Mayan Hands, and Wholesome Sweeteners – we reached thousands of students, staff, and faculty with the message of Fair Trade.
9) The international Fair Trade Towns movement surpassed 2,000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide.
Fair Trade Towns, an international, grassroots campaign to build solidarity between consumers and producers, raise awareness of Fair Trade, and drive institutional commitment to Fair Trade products, has reached a major milestone as there are now over 2,000 Fair Trade Towns in 29 countries on 6 continents. Read more.
10) We traveled with advocates to see Fair Trade on the ground in Ecuador.
In July, Fair Trade Campaigns staff traveled with campaign organizers and Fair Trade advocates to see Fair Trade on the ground in Ecuador. We visited three farms and cooperatives – Fortaleza del Valle cocoa cooperatives, Agrocoex flower farm, and Runatarpuna guayusa growers – and met with leaders of local Fair Trade Town campaigns in Quito and Riobamba. Read more in our two part trip report – Part I and Part II.
And a bonus highlight, because we couldn’t narrow this list down to just 10 – we started planning for a National Conference!
It’s been five years since we last hosted a national gathering, and we can’t wait to come together with this amazing network of Fair Trade advocates. The conference will take place March 23-25 in Washington, DC. We hope you’ll join us!
This list just scratches the surface of everything that happened in the past 12 months. Thank you to everyone who made this year such a success, from our fellows and volunteers, to our campaigners and partners. This work wouldn’t be possible without your energy, commitment, and ongoing support. We’re excited to see what 2018 has in store!