Shopping with a conscience at the Fair Trade Market

May 14 / 136

Not just coffee: students browse ethically-sourced products at the Fair Trade Market.
Not just coffee: students browse ethically-sourced products at the Fair Trade Market.

On Wednesday, 14 May, the University celebrated Fair Trade Fortnight by hosting its first Fair Trade Market.

On Wednesday, 14 May, the University celebrated Fair Trade Fortnight by hosting its first Fair Trade Market.

Fair Trade Fortnight celebrates and raises awareness of fair trade, an alternative approach to commerce that encourages people to consider the interests of growers and producers.

By offering producers fair prices, improved terms of trade and decent working conditions, fair trade gives farmers, workers and their families in the developing world greater control over their own lives.

For consumers, fair trade offers a powerful way to reduce poverty through the basic act of everyday shopping. Free samples of Fair Trade coffee and chocolate products were available among the stalls selling and showcasing Fair Trade products.

This year, the event included stalls showcasing edible fair trade products from Heart of Chocolate and Oxfam Australia, in addition to many clothing and merchandising companies such as Etiko.

Chair of the Fair Trade Steering Committee Philip Batterham said the event had an excellent range of booths and an impressive number of attendees.

“It was gratifying to see how many of the attendees really engaged with the stall holders, conversing with them for long periods of time,” he said

“The most pleasing aspect of all was that so much of the work, behind the scenes and on the stalls, was done by students.”

Fair Trade at the University stems from a student initiative that was supported by Oxfam and World Vision in 2012.

Seven passionate student volunteer members of the Fair Trade Steering Committee played an important role organising the event.

Among these was Emma Crane, who said the market showed there was an increasing variety of fair trade products on offer.

“I'm motivated by the fact every dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of global trade system that we want – one where we don't exploit third world producers and deny them their rights,” she said.

“Our hope is to create an ethical consumer culture within the university and, more broadly, within society.”

A map of cafes in the Parkville campus that sell fair trade coffee is available here.

Melbourne was accredited as a Fair Trade University by Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

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