Fair Trade

Fair Trade

We support the movement for a fair economy that values workers and benefits all

Our Fair Trade adventures began in the late 1990s when Hal, together with several other business leaders, visited Chiapas, Mexico, to arrange the purchase of a shipping container of Fair Trade coffee. The Mexican government did not welcome outsiders coming to assist farming cooperatives, so Hal and his co-travelers were left to deal with aggressive and threatening members of the military. On their return to Chiapas a year later, a paramilitary force abducted Hal and his travelers dropping them off in a field far from anyone. They thought they were going to be murdered, felt lucky to be alive, but refused to be intimidated going ahead with the purchase of more coffee. 

Since that time, the foundation has provided many loans to promote Fair Trade businesses, and also provided an early loan to Fair Trade USA, the major Fair Trade certifier in the US. 

In 2006, the foundation spearheaded Hal’s idea to make our hometown of Media, PA, the First Fair Trade Town in the US. That success was followed by 44 other towns and cities becoming “Fair Trade Towns,”, including Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. There are over 1,000 Fair Trade towns worldwide spanning 5 continents and 23 countries.

We look forward to one day not promoting Fair Trade – when trading fairly becomes business as usual.

What we like about Fair Trade:

  • It builds local, healthy communities and economies in the global south
  • There are no slaves or forced child workers involved in its production, unlike sources of some non-Fair Trade items, particularly cocoa and sugar.
  • Farmers children must go to school.
  • Women are on equal par with men in decision-making.
  • Land is farmed sustainably.
  • Animal habitats must be rebuilt.
  • Most Fair Trade products are Certified Organic or passive organic. 
  • No GMO plants may be used.
  • Premiums, which are bonuses paid at the end of the growing season, must be used by the communities as a whole, and are typically used to build schools and health clinics.
  • It is not charity, it’s business.
  • No trade or government agreements are needed. All that’s needed are conscious consumers, and it’s ready to go!

Learn more about Fair Trade!
Hal and Media Borough Councilwoman Monica Simpson .

Media, PA – First Fair Trade Town in the US

In 2005, Hal had the idea to make Media, PA, the Foundation’s hometown, the first Fair Trade town in the U.S., and Elizabeth carried that idea to fruition. Neither had any idea they were launching a national movement.  Today, over 32 U.S. towns and cities, including San Francisco and Chicago, have followed suit. Many more are in the pipeline. Learn more about US Fair Trade Towns.  

America’s First Fair Trade Town Committee  is now its own independent 501(c)3 organization that continues to educate people about Fair Trade here in Media, PA.

World-wide, there are over 1,100 Fair Trade towns spanning five continents and 23 countries. Learn more about international Fair Trade Towns.

In 2008, we helped host the first Fair Trade Live Concert, an amazing event attended by over 5,000 people.