Fair Trade at Trent just wants you to think

Co-written with Hannah McCormack.

Fair Trade Trent is a small club at the University, but don’t let our size misrepresent our passion and drive to promote equitable and just consumer practices.

Have you ever thought about the person who picked the tomatoes found in your salad? Or the individual who tended to the coffee beans that your daily coffee is made with?

What about your favourite pair of jeans, have you ever considered the conditions that the person making them were under?

At Fair Trade Trent, we have realized the importance of being a true ‘conscious consumer,’ and thinking about the social and environmental practices that are used in making products we use on a daily basis.

We try to promote ethical purchasing through our low-scale events and encourage students to think critically about how products are made and distributed.

One of our aims is to acknowledge that there is a significant distance between the consumer and the producer, both emotionally and physically, and try to decrease this distance by supplying information about Fair Trade as well as offering samples of fairly traded food products.

We live in a world where consumption is very much a part of our daily lives, so we at Fair Trade Trent encourage you to think critically about the food you eat, the clothes you buy, and aim to support a movement that encourages social and environmental well being for the producers.

Overconsumption is quite a reality in our culture, so we invite you to engage in a regimen that promotes needs over wants to ultimately question these products called ‘necessities.’
Us gals at Fair Trade Trent understand that distancing yourself from this consumer culture is not so easy sometimes!

Many people don’t have the time to go out of their way to find these products (because they are indeed harder to find), but to deny yourself from simply thinking about these significant global issues is really uncool.

It isn’t just about being fair and giving producers the right amount for their work—it’s a world debt being paid off.

We have trapped ourselves in this web of debt and our “rational” bureaucratic systems. Instead of underpaying workers and giving them loans to compensate for “their” poverty (which banks/money providers have imposed on them), why not just right away and straight up pay them equal exchange for their product?

After all, you wouldn’t allow a stranger to run off with a product made from your own hands without going through an equal exchange!

Fair trade products aren’t cool and trendy because a celebrity advocates for it; Fair Trade is fashionable due to its morality.

It’s a fight for an alternative trading system that benefits actual individual producers and not transnational, multibillion-dollar distributor companies.

So, next time you’re getting ready for the day, try to be conscious of the individuals who are indirectly involved in your daily life, from the person who grew that avocado you had for breakfast, to the individual who made your winter boots. By doing so as a society, we can come to appreciate and respect these producers to a point where we can encourage change and demand political action for more economically fair prices. Before we dig ourselves even deeper into a pit of social debt, an overall shift in our consuming patterns is necessary in order to reach a state of appreciation for the products we consume as well as for the individuals who produce them.

Upcoming events from Fair Trade Trent:

Look for us during the week of Feb. 10. We will be spreading the love around campus by handing out fair trade chocolate to people!

The Annual Fair Trade Event this year will be a coffeehouse happening on Feb. 13.

Movie night: Birdsong and Coffee: A Wake-up Call, with an exact date in March TBA.

Stay tuned for more details about Fair Trade Trent by following OPIRG Peterborough updates on Facebook!