Fair Trade at Trent

It has been three years since the University of British Columbia became the first Fair Trade Campus in Canada.

Soon after, Simon Fraser University, Brock University, and McGill University followed. And then Trent!

That’s right, Trent University is among the first few to be a part of the growing movement of Canadian universities and colleges developing new ideas and making old ideas better around fair trade and consumption.

The aim of Fair Trade Campuses is for young students to join in on the movement to create a more sustainable and just system of trade for farmers around the world who have been structurally disadvantaged by the vastly unequal global system.

The Fair Trade Campus program is designed to acknowledge institutions that have shown leadership in this regard through their support of fair trade, and can only gain this status by meeting certain requirements.

These requirements include availability of products, visibility of information and standards, and a committee to bring together members of a fair trade campus community to ensure that the standards continue to be met.

One member of the Committee is the Fair Trade Trent Student group. The Student Group is a working group of OPIRG that works with the administration to continue to expand the fair trade options at campus cafeterias, provide education and awareness around the issue of fair trade, and initiate fair trade policies and practices on Trent’s campus.

As Trent is now a designated Fair Trade Campus, the fair trade working group is excited to continue hosting events on campus and in the community, and welcomes any new members who are interested in learning about fair trade issues.

On Jan. 29, author of Alternative Trade: Legacies for the Future, Gavin Fridell, will be visiting Trent University to have a discussion about his book, which discusses the neoliberal global food system, how fair trade fits into it, and alternative trade.

As a member of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance describes: “Meticulously researched and documented, this book is still accessible to the interested general reader, and that should include anyone who plans to eat food or cares about the future we are leaving to our children.”

As Trent is in the middle of switching food providers, hoping to gain more sustainability, affordability, and sovereignty for the campus food system, this promises to be a wonderful discussion that highlights how the neoliberal corporate food system has failed to create a fairer system.

Fridell provides a broader social and historical context to uncover lessons for a more cooperative, socially just world order, one which university campuses like Trent can and should be taking part in shaping.

The talk will be happening on Wednesday, Jan. 29 in the Living Learning Community Space above the Seasoned Spoon at 12pm!

Stay tuned for more information on fair trade in the next Arthur edition, “Fair Trade: A Part of the Bigger Picture.”