Norman becomes Oklahoma's first Fair Trade Town
A resolution passed by the Norman City Council on Tuesday has completed the final step to make Norman the first official Fair Trade Town in Oklahoma and the 17th in the United States.
The resolution expresses support for purchasing goods that are produced locally or, if produced abroad, meet Fair Trade standards that focus on improving quality of life for developing country producers and ensuring environmental sustainability.
“The City of Norman has a responsibility to ensure that city funds are spent in an ethical manner that promotes local economies both domestically and abroad,” the resolution stated.
Communities earn recognition as Fair Trade Towns by making a special commitment to Fair Trade. To qualify, a city must meet five criteria, including support from local businesses, activists, community groups, media outlets, and the city government.
“By becoming a Fair Trade Town Norman has reinforced its leadership role in the areas of sustainability, social responsibility and strengthening of the local economy,” said Ajit Bhand, an organizer with Norman Fair Trade. “Not only does it help local and small businesses, it also positively affects the lives of thousands of farmers and workers in other parts of the world.”
Norman’s achievement of Fair Trade Town status is the result of a two year campaign by Norman Fair Trade. NFT is a volunteer group including Norman citizens of all ages and backgrounds, from retirees to high school and middle school students. They teamed up with local businesses and community groups, the city council, and the Human Rights Commission to spread awareness about Fair Trade and meet the FTT criteria.
“This has been a product that has been worked on by the Human Rights Commission and many activists in our community interested in the issue of ‘buy local and buy fair,’” said Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal.
Bhand said the achievement has far-reaching significance because only a handful of towns in the U.S. have taken the initiative to become Fair Trade Towns.
Internationally there are over 300 Fair Trade Towns, but the movement is just getting started in the United States. Other U.S. Fair Trade towns include Taos, NM, San Francisco, CA, and Madison, WI.
Fair Trade products, including coffee, tea, body care products, clothing, and sports equipment, are available at many businesses in Norman. Norman Fair Trade has compiled a Fair Trade map and products listing at their website, http://www.normanfairtrade.org/.
Norman Fair Trade will host a reception to celebrate the achievement today, Friday, May 14th, from 6pm to 7pm at Native Roots Market, 132 West Main St. The reception will also feature photos from the Fair Trade My Norman photo contest, sponsored by Native Roots and Main Street Photo Video.
Posted by NFT at 2:24 PM