is an information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement. together, we can create a market that values the people who make the food we eat and the goods we use.

« Back to News and Views
« Back to Fair Trade Towns USA News

Chicagoans working to put fair trade on the map

Medill Reports, Northwestern University

Megy Karydes, founder of the e-boutique, doesn’t have a conventional business philosophy.“Actually, I’d like to see my Web site go out of business—but for a good reason,” Karydes said.

“It’d be nice if people didn’t have to seek out a specific Web site to find Fair Trade products.” Her hope is that they would be widely available in neighborhood stores.

Karydes, a board member of Chicago Fair Trade, started selling Fair Trade products online three years ago to generate information rather than revenue, and is one of many Chicagoans taking the lead in Fair Trade awareness.

Fair Trade is a worldwide trading partnership that seeks to use business to create sustainable development and opportunity for economically disadvantaged artisans in developing countries.

In coordination with October’s Fair Trade Month, Chicago Fair Trade hopes to further its initiative to make Chicago the largest publicly declared Fair Trade City in the U.S.

While cities across the nation are trying to meet the five criteria to qualify as a Fair Trade Town, Chicago would be the largest city to publicly commit to Fair Trade products and practices.

The goals include the formation of a steering committee; availability of Fair Trade products in local stores, cafes and venues; use of certified products by a number of local organizations, such as places of worship, schools, hospitals and offices; and passage of a resolution supporting Fair Trade by City Council.

Media, Penn., was the first town in the U.S. to be named Fair Trade and was followed by Brattleboro, Vt., and most recently Milwaukee, Wis.

Executive Director of Fair Trade Federation Carmen K. Iezzi said October’s Fair Trade Month was created in 2004 as a U.S. complement to World Fair Trade Day in May. She said the monthlong campaign “seeks to educate consumers in ways to choose Fair Trade products and create sustainable, positive change in the community.”

One woman is planning to educate consumers by opening a store.

Katherine Bissell Cordova said she will open Chicago’s first eco-friendly Fair Trade retail store, Greenheart, later this month and recognizes the importance of purchasing fairly traded products, which support living wages for disadvantaged artisans.

“Fair Trade supports not only fair wages but also a good use of resources,” Cordova said. “People are hungry for this in Chicago.”


Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Fair Trade Resource Network

PO Box 12347 Philadelphia, PA 19119-0347