How to Become a Fair Trade University: UPDATE

Start a Campaign. Change the World.

SUNY Geneseo’s Fair Trade Campaign Update

Curious about what a fair trade campaign is and what it consists of? Check out our previous blog post about how to start a campaign and earn fair trade status for your university.

SUNY Geneseo has made great strides with its fair trade campaign since its start in the Fall of 2013.  We checked in with Ben who has joined the national steering committee for Fair Trade Colleges & Universities and is on their student leadership team.  Here’s what Ben has been up to at Geneseo.

We built our team:

  • We have an incredible backing of students, faculty, and staff behind our fair trade endeavors. We started a Fair Trade Club that will head the campaign and we have a handful of professors and staff who support and advise our club.
  • Next semester, Fair Trade Club will (hopefully) become a recognized student organization. Once recognized by our university, we will have access to campus facilities and a variety of benefits to help integrate our practices into the campus.
  • Fair Trade Club will meet once a week to plan events and fundraisers and expand our movement to others on campus through education and awareness.

We’re reaching out to campus outlets and working closely with our dining services:

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  • We meet with our dining services (CAS – Campus Auxiliary Services) about twice a month to discuss potential new fair trade products on campus and work on promoting and advertising the products already available.
  • So far, we have Breakfast in the Fingerlakes fair trade coffee, Honest Tea, Larabars (the chocolate flavor is made with fair trade cocoa!), Glee Gum (made with fair trade sugar), Numi Organic Tea, and our Starbucks on campus offers their fair trade Italian Roast coffee. Available at our bookstore on campus is Badger Lip Balm (fair trade cocoa butter).
  • We’ll need a few more products to reach the minimum of 2 products per outlet to earn fair trade status – but we’re getting there!

We’re educating about fair trade in the classroom:

  • We have reached out to several professors on campus asking if we can present about fair trade in their class.
  • We’ve presented in Ethical Issues in Business (a philosophy class) and we will be presenting in Intro to Global Social Change (a sociology class) and Intro to International Politics (a political science class).
  • Additionally, we were pleased to hear that fair trade is already taught in Cultural Anthropology. The requirement for this section to earn fair trade status is 2 educational sessions per semester.
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We’re integrating fair trade into events:

  •  We’re working toward changing over the coffees at various offices around campus to fair trade options.
  • This month Fair Trade Club will be hosting a fair trade bake-off for World Fair Trade Day using a plethora of fair trade ingredients provided by Fair Trade Campaigns! Yum!
  • May 1st, we’ll have a table alongside many vendors showcasing food samples of potential new products to sell on campus. We’re incredibly happy to have a table where we’ll be sampling FREE fair trade Divine Chocolate!

We’re working on passing a fair trade resolution:

  • This will be the final step in earning fair trade status for SUNY Geneseo. Fair Trade Club will approach administration with the request that Geneseo, in writing, promises to continue its fair trade efforts on campus.
  • One of SUNY Geneseo’s seven stated values is to promote “…the development of ethical citizens.” To be an ethical citizen, one must realize the importance in fair business practices. SUNY Geneseo is also committed to working together “…to develop socially responsible citizens”. If we can stand by products that we consume daily (coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, chocolate) with confidence, we have become just that – a socially responsible citizen.

Suny Geneseo**Check out our Fair Trade Colleges & Universities profile page to see our progress, photos and upcoming events!

**While you’re at it, check out and “like” our Facebook page!

Interested in starting your own campaign?  Drop Ben a line in the comments.  He’d love to help you get started or answer any questions you have!

Where else can you start a Fair Trade Campaign?  At your school, place of worship, or in your town!  Check out for more info.

Start a campaign. Change the world.



Shop Pantone’s Color of the Year: 6 Fair Trade Picks in Radiant Orchid

Each year Pantone picks its color of the year, inspiring decor, fashion, and creative work around the world. We are excited about the Radiant Orchid we see reflected in some of our favorite fair trade products as we welcome the spring season. The pop of color is captivating!

radiant orchid
  1. Must-have this season: the Tasseled Chevron Square Scarf. This light and flowy woven cotton scarf can be worn many ways–twist and knot around your neck to show off the threaded tassels.
  2. Tagua Quill Earrings: These long and lean earrings are glam enough for a night on the town or casual and light enough for daytime. Tagua is sustainably collected from the rainforest in the Andes, carved and shaped by talented artisans, and tinted with colorfast fabric dye to showcase the brilliant grain of the nut.
  3. A field of lupine flowers, flowing in the soft breeze…the sun reflected in this beautiful
    Glass Sun Catcher dangling in our window is what summer dreams are made of! Handmade in Ecuador.
  4. Talented batikers + seamstresses come together to weave these trivets from recycled batik scraps in Ashaiman, Ghana. Each is unique due to the variety of fabrics used. This eco-friendly, practical kitchen accessory is washable and versatile. Read more about the group of women who create these.
  5. The brightly colored flowers on these belts add spunk to wardrobe staples. Wear with your
    favorite t-shirt and jeans or loop around a chambray shirt dress. The coolest part? Each one is lovingly handmade by women in Peru.
  6. Say goodbye to winter with Wisteria Blossom table linens. The hand block-printed flowers create an intricate pattern that brings the promise of spring to your table. Made by talented artisans in India using a technique that is centuries old, passed on to generation after generation.

Free Trade vs. Fair Trade

It’s a shame that “Fair Trade” and “Free Trade” sound so similar because they really have very little in common.  The biggest difference is that Free Trade agreements happen on a multi-national level, with very little concern for small farmers and artisans.  In contrast, “in Fair Trade, we don’t sell and buy.  We build long-term partnerships and friendship and commitment,” says Nasser Abufarha, Founder and Director of Canaan Fair Trade.  See what the founders of other Fair Trade organizations say about the harms of free trade agreements and the benefits of being able to put people before profits with Fair Trade:


This video was put out by an non-profit called Fair World Project.  They provide a ton of resources on the latest happenings in the Fair Trade movement, most notably in the form of their free quarterly publication, which is available at all of our stores.  You can access a PDF version here.  The most current issue includes information on how to engage in trade policy, the challenges of Fair Trade on a global scale and several articles on food labels.

There’s a particularly interesting article by the founder of Global Mamas, one of our great artisan partners.  They talk about the unique problems they’ve had as the company has grown from 6 original “Mamas” to nearly six hundred.  One of the constant struggles of Fair Trade is how to keep the “friendship and commitment” of their business at the forefront even while they grow and people take on different roles.  The original “Mamas” of Global Mamas were directly involved in the direction of the business and now each work with their own group of women, each under the same principles of Fair Trade.  This model of interconnected small, independently-owned businesses allows them to trade fairly and grow fairly, something that is new to the Fair Trade movement, but exciting nonetheless.  The most important thing to remember is to always stay informed.  Like they say in the video, there are fair trade products and then there are fair trade companies and it’s important to recognize the difference.  So always ask questions and see how much you can find out about a company’s overall mission.

Check out the Global Mamas article for yourself here.  Also check out our collection of Global Mamas products.

Spring at Fair Trade Winds

Here at Fair Trade Winds we love spring!  So many fun new products arriving everyday, from things to make your house brighter, things to adorn yourself with and cute little critters to play with.  Everything is bold and cheerful – what’s not to love!

**Spread the spring love.  Use code SPRING15 at checkout to save 15%**

(coupon good thru April 15th)


Hand-knit Cotton Chicks: Hand-knit little chicks in hats, what could be cuter! Handmade in Peru from soft cotton. Each chick has a unique hat. The income generated through this work allows the women to feed and clothe themselves and their children. By purchasing Fair Trade products you are helping the talented artisans who make them create sustainable income for themselves and their families.

Fiesta Capiz Chime: This bright and festive wind chime is handmade from painted capiz shells by artisans in a family workshop in Bali.    There cheerful colors are surpassed only by their wonderful twinkling sound.

Puente Leather Wrap Bracelet: On-trend braided leather wrap bracelet gives your look an easy bohemian style, while the intricate gold colored wire wrapped around the leather gives it a touch of class!

Cappuccino Cup: Handcrafted in Guatemala, this lovely cappuccino cup can also double as a soup cup. It is extra wide and has a nice handle and sits on a pedestal.

Kantha Fiesta Necklace: This fringed bib necklace features recycled kantha fabric which is woven through a brass link chain. Colorful glass beads hang alternating with brass discs which all makes for a lovely fiesta-worthy accessory.

Recycled “Can”imals: This adorable baby elephant can’t wait to break out of his box and play with you! He’s fun and environmentally friendly, made from recycled aluminum cans attached to a wire frame with telephone wire.

Flower House Felt Birdhouse: Covered with flowers and bees, our newest felt birdhouse – the Flower House – is perfect for spring.  The wool is naturally water-repellant making it a great place for tiny birds to make their home!

Fair Trade for Men: The Basics

Alternative Fair Trade options for classic, modern styles you know and love.  This list will help you outfit yourself with the basics for any look.  They’re all handmade by skillful artisans around the world who get paid a fair wage.  These basics respect the basics!Men

1) Sea Salt Hand in Hand SoapFair Trade Winds

2) Basic Tee – Prana

3) Cotton Trunks – PACT

4) Sport Low Cut Socks – Maggie’s Organics

5) Leather Boot - Oliberté

Oscar-inspired, star-studded fair trade fashion

Be red carpet-ready with these six fair trade, celebrity-inspired styles. Fashion can be ethical, affordable, and accessible to us all!

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The State of Fashion: Consumerism and Fair Trade – It’s Not all Bad.

The fashion industry today is fueled by constant change and dominated by huge conglomerates who dwarf the importance of independent designers and alternative fashion platforms like Fair Trade, thrifting and handmade apparel and accessories.

A neat blog called The Note Passer  had a post recently on the state of the fashion industry today and interviewed the author of a book called Stitched-Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion.  In the interview, Tansy E. Hoskins talks about how she wanted to educate herself about the issues in the fashion industry, “from workers’ rights and the environment to racism and cultural appropriation. From the eating disorders I have watched friends fight to the desire within people to consume clothes that is like a black hole that can never be filled.”

This video sums up the need for a book like Stitched-Up:

Fashion definitely has a lot of influence in our society and Hoskins aims to continue the conversation started by tragedies like the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, suggesting that the problems in the fashion industry are systemic of our culture run by consumerism.  Her parallels of the fashion industry to society in general may be a bit lofty.  She says there is no One solution to society’s problems, just as there is no One brand that offers a solution to all of fashion’s problems, but this doesn’t really offer a possible next step.  “I think that clothing not controlled by corporations would be amazing,” Hoskins says – but what does this look like?  It surely won’t happen over night, so why not explore the options currently available, like Fair Trade, and try to expand its reach.

Fair Trade fashion perhaps comes the closest to solving the fashion industry’s problems, or has the potential at least.  Fair Trade pays and treats workers fairly, respects the environment, is often handmade and made from recycled materials using traditional techniques.  Fair Trade runs on the idea that consumerism doesn’t have to be bad, that you can feel good about what your purchase means and most importantly that you CAN actually know what your purchase means to the individual who made it.  It means they don’t have to work 14 hours a day to make it, they don’t have to sacrifice being with their families to work in a crummy, unsafe factory, and they don’t have to work for a huge company that doesn’t care about them.

This transparency is what is truly lacking in the fashion industry today, with it’s exclusive fashion weeks, exclusive designer lines made by the have-nots for the have, have, haves and brazen disregard for the humanity of their products.  The fashion industry will continue to succeed as long as people continue to “unconsciously” consume, so we’ve got to wake up and keep asking questions.




Fair Trade Campaigns Now for K-12 Schools


On February 4th, Fair Trade Campaigns launched its newest campaign, Fair Trade Schools.  Fair Trade Campaigns already has initiatives for Colleges, Universities and Congregations, but now there can be K-12 schools committed to Fair Trade.  

So far, they have 15 active school campaigns around the country.  If you want to start a campaign in your school, college or congregation or want to see if there are any already in your area, check out - they even have a cool tracker of how many active campaigns there are so far.  

They have all kinds of handy resources to help you get started with a campaign and as you go, they give badges so you know you’re on the right track.  There are several steps for a school:

1) Build your team.

2) Reach out to Campus Outlets to offer Fair Trade products.

3) Engage Community Organizations to source Fair Trade at Events & Meetings.

4) Commit to Fair Trade Education

5) Develop a Fair Trade Resolution

It’s great to get people interested and informed, so share this YouTube video on your Facebook page or the impact infographic on Pinterest!


Fair Trade Chocolate Cherry Heart Scones

What’s better than chocolate?  Chocolate in flaky golden scones with chunks of tart cherry to balance the mix!


When we got in the new Theo Chocolate Valentine’s Day bars, we thought the My Cherry Baby sounded perfect to mix into a batch of Women’s Bean Project Scone Mix.  We love their baking mixes because they are so easy to use – you just have to add 2 eggs, cream and butter for the scones, and we recommended adding chocolate or dried fruit.  We broke up half a bar for this batch, but you could use a whole bar.


We added the chocolate chunks at the end and used a heart shaped cookie cutter to mold them into palm-sized hearts.


The dough was a bit sticky so we used plenty of flour on our hands and the cutting surface.  We also recommend putting parchment paper or a silpat down on the cookie tray.  They kept their shape pretty well, but they did stretch out a bit in baking.  We got about two dozen scones out of this batch.  So yummy, this is the perfect Valentine’s treat!  Enjoy!


DIY Finger Puppet Theater

Our finger puppets are one of our best sellers because they are so wonderfully crafted.  Artisans in Peru hand-knit each one from Alpaca or Organic cotton making them super soft and fun to play with for all ages (you’d be surprised how many adults buy them for themselves!)

The DIY finger puppet theater is a great project, sent to us by a customer who bought finger puppets for her 2 year old nephew, Henry.


She used cardboard for the theater frame and cut the curtain shape out of the front and painted in the details.  To use it, you just simply hold the finger puppets behind the theater and use your other fingers to support the frame.

It’s small enough that it’s portable so you can make the backdrop whatever you have around the house, like the painting shown here, or you could make your own backdrops.  You could even make a bigger theater that stood on its own that way more than one person could have finger puppets in the “show.”


Featured here are the monkey and kangaroo finger puppets, but our stores have hundreds of different animals to choose from!