Fair trade pops in prairies

FAIR DEALING: 30 days to try and buy fair trade products.Bono’s launched a clothing line. Thom Yorke’s been drenched in chocolate. Chris Martin has that "equals" sign on his hand. Celebs and rock stars have made a point to publicize the importance of fair trade in their own way, but the question remains as to what average Joes can do to take part in supporting fair trade. Enter Patrick Falconer, chair of Fair Trade Manitoba.

"Fair trade is something we don’t need political authorities and/or large institutions to make real progress on," says Falconer. And launching in Manitoba on Valentine’s Day is the One Month Challenge. The province-wide initiative (which those outside of the province are welcome to join as well) encourages citizens to sign a pledge vowing that the coffee, tea and chocolate they purchase will be fair trade products.

Falconer not only thinks the program can be a success, but that the One Month Challenge can help Manitoba approach the levels of progress that other provinces and centers have achieved.

"Market research indicates that folks are already pre-disposed to the concept," notes Falconer. "Sales are already growing but, at least in Manitoba, the actions lag well behind potential and patterns that are emerging on other parts of Canada."

Those interested in learning more about the program can visit Fair Trade Manitoba's online stop on the matter. On the site, readers can sign the pledge and learn more about purchasing fair trade items.

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