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Group wants Chico to be ‘Fair Trade Town’

Chico Enterprise Record

A local group hopes its efforts will lead to the certification of Chico as a “Fair Trade Town.”

The group is asking the Chico City Council to pass a resolution supporting fair trade and to commit to serving certified fair trade products at its meetings, one of five requirements to become a certified Fair Trade Town.

The request gained the notice of Chico Mayor Andy Holcombe, who will ask the council to consider discussing a resolution in support of fair trade at its Tuesday meeting.

“It’s a reflection, I think, and an acknow-ledgment that we do have a global economy and we should be aware of where our food and material come from,” Holcombe said.

Holcombe said he believed certification of the city as a “Fair Trade Town” would play into the city’s ongoing economic development efforts. He said a lot of people are seeking and are willing to pay more for fair trade goods and certification of the city would be an easy way to let other businesses tab into that marketing if they want to.

Fair trade refers to the practice of making sure farmers, oftentimes in developing countries, are receiving a living wage and humane working conditions, while also protecting the environment. Products such as coffee, cocoa, fresh fruit, rice, and sugar are all examples of products that can be certified as fair trade products.

The Chico Fair Trade Town team, a group working out of the Chico Peace and Justice Center, hopes to have Chico recognized as a Fair Trade Town by January. For the city to receive that designation, the group would need to meet other goals.

A range of fair trade products need to be available in at least 16 local stores or cafes, as well as used by a number of organizations including churches, schools, hospitals and offices. Holcombe said he believed nine businesses currently sold free trade products.

A local fair trade steering committee would also need to meet regularly.

Holcombe said he was not aware of any costs involved with the council passing a resolution. He said the only nominal cost might be if the city wanted to purchase a fair trade emblem to put on the city’s welcome sign.

If the council votes to consider the resolution on Tuesday, it will likely be scheduled for discussion Oct. 21.

Also Tuesday, the council will consider recommendations to improve the “transparency” of the city’s process of negotiating salaries and benefits of city employees.


Staff writer Jenn Klein can be reached at 896-7767 or jklein@chicoer.com.


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