WELCOME to the Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative
WELCOME to Mankato - the first Fair Trade Town in Minnesota (declared October 24, 2011)! - and to the work of the Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative.
MAFTTI has, since June 2009, promoted Fair Trade in our part of the Minnesota River Valley, about 83 miles south-west of the Twin Cities. Our main focus has been on the major retail center of Mankato (40,000). MAFTTI also tries to engage those interested in Fair Trade in North Mankato (13,000) and St.Peter (11,000).
Behind every luscious chocolate bar and treat we devour throughout the year, there are six million people globally who depend on growing cocoa for their livelihoods.
Cacao grows in a thin Equatorial band in places ranging from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea. The ideal climate for growing cocoa is hot, rainy, and tropical, with lush vegetation to provide shade for the cocoa trees. Over 60 percent of cacao, however, is grown in Ivory Coast and Ghana, cultivated by mostly smallholder farmers who grow the crop on plots of land averaging less than 5 hectares (12 acres) in size. Meet cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire to find out more.
Although demand has been high, the price of cocoa beans has fallen in recent years. On average, cocoa-growing households earn $0.78 a day, less than one third of what the Fairtrade International defines as a living income of $2.51. Poverty, and its many related issues,is the key challenge faced by cocoa growing communities. Poverty is the chief cause of child labour According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, a report by 15 European non-profit organizations, as many as 2.1 million child labourers are working in West Africa alone. Watch The Dark Side of Chocolate to learn more.
“Until we address the poverty issue and raise farmers out of poverty, then this will continue to be a problem,” says Timothy McCoy, vice president of the World Cocoa Foundation, an industry-backed membership body.
According to the International Cocoa Organization, the world’s chocolate factory is the United States, headed by companies such as Mars, Incorporated (manufacturers of favorites including M&M’s, Snickers, and Dove); Mondelēz International (makers of Cadbury and Toblerone); and the Hershey Company (kiss, kiss). Look at the Chocolate Scorecard to see if your favorite brand’s commitment to sustainability and eliminating child labor.
Fairtrade works to make cocoa farming a more sustainable way to earn a living so that farmers can better support themselves and their families.
With Fairtrade sales, farmer cooperatives receive the Fairtrade Premium which they spend on improving quality and productivity of their farms, to increase incomes. Fairtrade is contributing to greater sustainability for cocoa farming in countries like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire through payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and extra Fairtrade Premium.
See the Shopping List to see where you can buy Fair Trade Chocolate in Mankato. Around the country, here are brands to look for:
Alter Eco Foods
Endangered Species Chocolate
Early Bird Registration has been extended to January 4th!
Don't forget Fair Trade for your Christmas Shopping:
Ten Thousand Villages
Christmas comes but once a year - and so does the Ten Thousand Villages kiosk to River Hills Mall, Mankato (near Penneys).
Check it out for all manner of Christmas gifts. There are more pictures on Facebook to tempt you, but here are a few:
The scariest thing at Halloween should be the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins that come to your door asking for treats. Unfortunately, if you are handing out chocolates you picked up from the local grocery store, the treats you are giving out may be what’s truly scary. It’s possible that the chocolate you are handing out to a little kid comes from cocoa harvested by another child who is not much older. And, the cocoa trees were likely doused in pesticides, poisoning the land and the workers.
You can help change the face of the chocolate industry and promote a Halloween that supports fair wages, farmer-run businesses and sustainable agriculture. This year, give your neighbors a fairly traded treat: Celebrate the holiday by handing out chocolate that makes a statement in support of a healthy supply chain, and tell your neighbors why it matters to you. Download our 2-sided Trick or Treat Fair Trade chocolate card to hand out with your Fair Trade treats.
Look for these Fair Trade chocolate brands:
Equal Exchange Divine Chocolate Endangered Species
Green & Black's Theo Chocolove TCHO Sunspire
FAIR TRADE MONTH
Look for MAFTTI displays in the Blue Earth County Library and the Taylor Library in North Mankato. Thank you Deb Fitzloff for your creativity in these wonderful arrangements!
For a good read this month, check out Sewing Hope at the
Blue Earth County Library and Taylor Library.
Sewing Hope offers the first account of a bold challenge to apparel-industry sweatshops. The Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic is the anti-sweatshop.
This October is Fair Trade Month. Throughout the month, ethically-minded consumers, retailers and brands will unite to celebrate and promote Fair Trade.
Fair Trade is a market-based approach to fighting poverty. That means that it only works when you actually buy the stuff. So make sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain during October! Be a fair consumer one product at a time. Join the movement! #livefair
You can support Fair Trade one product at a time. From breakfast to dinner time, there are many ways you can include Fair Trade products in your daily consumption. Delight your day with a cup perfectly roasted Dominican coffee in the morning, or sport a finely crafted artisanal bracelet from Guatemala, or wear a floral skirt made by empowered women in India, or enjoy a bar of organic chocolate from Ghanaian cocoa farmers, or adorn your house with a masterfully handcrafted home decoration from Indonesia. For products available in the Mankato area, see our shopping guide.
Encouraging fair consumption promotes conscientious purchasing of products based on functionality, necessity and usefulness. Fair consumers can help promote responsible production and save the planet from exploitation and further degradation. The balance between economic and ecological sustainability is the guiding motto of living fairly.
Take the time to teach a friend or family member about the importance of Fair Trade. Help them to understand why Every Purchase Matters and why farmers in the developing world need our support. Fair Trade can be a tricky concept to grasp, so the new Fair Trade Month PSA features a simple explanation from a 7-year-old who also happens to be an expert shopper. Share these two-minute videos to help explain the impact of Fair Trade, the environmental benefits of Fair Trade, and the power of the consumer.
Saturday, September 29th
International Coffee Day 2018 in the US
Americans drink more than 400 million cups of coffee per day. If tomorrow each one of us woke up and made just one cup Fair Trade, we would drive at least an additional $2 million dollars back to coffee farmers to help them address some serious challenges. In just one day. Because of one little choice. That’s pretty amazing.
In honor of National Coffee Day, September 29th, Fair Trade USA is challenging everyone to make #JustOneCup of their daily coffee Fair Trade Certified. This simple change will generate millions of additional dollars for coffee farmers throughout the world, helping them build sustainable livelihoods and ensuring a ready supply of coffee for generations to come.
You can buy Fair Trade coffee in Mankato at Hy-vee, Cub, Aldi, CVS, Target & Sams Club.
It’s time for all of us to wake up and smell the coffee.
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH FAIR TRADE
As students across the country get ready to return to campuses and classrooms, we’re sharing ideas for bringing Fair Trade back to school and celebrating how Fair Trade supports education in communities around the world. And if you or someone you know will be packing school lunches soon, here are printable lunchbox notes from Fair Trade USA!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela
Here are a few different ways that communities across the world are using these funds to invest in learning opportunities for themselves and future generations. These are your dollars at work.
• In Sinaloa, Mexico, where temperatures average 92 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest months, fishermen voted to use Fair Trade Community Development Funds to install air conditioning units in the classrooms at Altata Primary School where many of their children attend school.
• Cooperativa de los Andes, a Fair Trade Certified coffee co-op with roughly 3,500 members, voted to spend Community Development Funds to provide school kits to their children. These kits include a backpack, notebooks, and other school utensils.
• For tea growers in the Mpanga community of Uganda, paying for their children’s school fees is by far the biggest financial constraint. Fair Trade funds have helped pay those fees so that children can go to school and receive an education, leaving parents hopeful of one day sending their children to college.
MAFTTI hosted their semi-annual Fair Trade Tea, May 6th, 2018 at Messiah Lutheran Church in North Mankato. Guests enjoyed a number of delicious treats made with Fair Trade ingredients including cucumber sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream, brownies, lemon cookies and three kinds of Fair Trade tea. A fashion show featuring local Fair Trade fashions and recycled fashions from local thrift stores was and addition to this year's tea.
WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY 2018
May 12, 2018
The World Fair Trade Day is an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) that takes place on the second Saturday of May each year. May 12 2018 is the #FairTradeDay.
It is an inclusive worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to sustainable development, especially the economic empowerment of small producers, gender equality in workplaces and responsible production practices.
WFTO and its members believe that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers.
MAFTTI will have coffee-sampling at Cub East and Hilltop Hy-Vee, Mankato 11:00-3:00.
Barnes and Noble will have a small display of relevant books during the week. Look for a World Fair Trade Day sign.
Mankato coffee shops will have display boards featuring the merits of Fair Trade coffee.
FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK 23-29 APRIL 2018
Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much they’re paid, what their lives are like?
Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.
Fashion Revolution Week is our #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which happens at the time of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, where 1,138 people were killed and many more injured on 24th April 2013.
We use this week to encourage millions of people to ask brands ‘Who made my clothes’ and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. Use your voice and your power to change the fashion industry. Together we are stronger. Join the movement.
Fair Trade: The First Step (2016) is a short film by Patagonia which investigates why choosing Fair Trade Certified clothing is an important first step toward changing the garment industry. The run time is 12 minutes and it is available free on YouTube:
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is in the process of being renegotiated right now. This is a very important time to send a letter or email to your national legislators stating your concern that this trade agreement not be a corporate power grab. There is a section called Investor-State Dispute Settlement that gives corporations the power to sue the U.S. government in front of a tribunal of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order the U.S. taxpayers to pay corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits.
Corporations only need to convince the lawyers that a law protecting public health or the environment violates their special NAFTA rights. The corporate lawyers’ decisions are not subject to appeal.
Here is a sample letter and contact information for our Minnesota legislators
SCHOOL SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME AT GOOD COUNSEL
A DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT TO FAIR TRADE
THIS WILL GOVERN THE COMMUNITY'S POLICY
ABOUT THE USE OF FAIR TRADE ITEMS
IN FOOD SERVICE AND HOSPITALITY
HOW THE SISTERS UNDERSTAND FAIR TRADE
TO BE IN LINE WITH CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
This picture features Good Counsel and MAFTTI leadership
with a special commemorative certificate