Top 3 items to always buy Fair Trade

MPACTE members with household donations to Solutions Center

There’s plenty to celebrate this month! Moraine Park Technical College was named the first Fair Trade technical college in the U.S in May 2015. So, we’ve now hit the one-year anniversary of this awesome honor! Also, World Fair Trade Day is coming up on May 14, and we encourage you to try to find your own ways to support the cause. Fair trade supports farmers and artisans in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized.

If you are interested in supporting these farmers but you’re not sure where to start,  perhaps considering the everyday items you purchase may be a good place to look!

Here’s three popular items many people purchase on a weekly basis that would be an awesome choice to buy from Fair Trade to show support:

1) Coffee: Coffee was the first Fair Trade product certified and has been on the market for decades. These days Fair Trade coffee is popping up EVERYWHERE! Our own MPTC cafeterias carry Fair Trade coffee.  Even coffee giants Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts carry some certified blends. But beyond the larger chains, there are countless independent and local, cafes that serve certified coffee. And if you are more of brew at home person, you can find pounds of Fair Trade coffee in natural food stores, co-ops, Whole Foods, and even major supermarkets. To find Fair Trade coffee near you, check Fair Trade USA.

2) Tea: Along with coffee, tea is readily available at MPTC cafeterias and in many supermarkets and cafes. Tea can be found in loose leaf form, tea bags, and even bottled form. The US tea market is growing and Fair Trade certified tea can be found almost anywhere! Check Green America’s guide to Fair Trade teas.

3) Chocolate: Next to coffee and tea, chocolate is the most common Fair Trade certified product.  Fair Trade chocolate is even used in many Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors! Fair Trade Chocolate can be found in most natural food stores, co-ops, Whole Foods, and even chain markets. Fair Trade cocoa is also available! Our MPTC bookstores carry delicious Divine Chocolate from Ghana. Look for more certified chocolate in our area.

Some of these items were also showcased recently at Moraine Park Fond du Lac campus thanks to Business Meeting and Event Planning students. These students honored these Fair Trade farmers and artisans for Earth Day on April 20, 2016.  Students created beautiful educational displays, showed the film “Small Farmers Cool the Planet,” hosted our local Fair Trade vendor, Just Fare Market, and served delicious Fair Trade chocolate-chip cookies.  All participants were able to take home seeds to plant and win a Fair Trade raffle prize!  This event was sponsored by the Student Senate and the Business Meeting and Event Planning Class of 2016.

Written by Anne Lemke
Student Community Impact Coordinator