2012 – 2013 Funding application proposal – Short Synopsis – Fair Trade & Organic: Choices for a Better World An Exhibition and Media Event

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  • November 6, 2012 8:06 pm

Fair Trade & Organic: Choices for a Better World An Exhibition and Media Event by Global Fair Trade GlobalFairTrade is a Canadian NOT-FOR-PROFIT organisation

Introduction Many consumers are increasingly aware of both fair trade and organic products as an alternative purchasing option but few know how it works or that it works for producing communities.  As well, there is much confusion surrounding alternative labelling such as ‘organic,’ ‘green’ and ‘fair trade.’  Some people assume that all alternatives are the same (all are fair or all are organic, for example) while others are reasonably sceptical about such branding by large companies and chains and still others may want to support fair trade and organic without knowing how to access the products or what companies can be trusted.

Global Fair Trade, in partnership with ethical businesses and producers, will create a travelling exhibit and educational tool to reach out to sceptical, confused and committed consumers with informative and compelling stories and images that explain fair trade and organics and most importantly, celebrate the successes enjoyed by beneficiaries around the world and here in Canada.  The goal is to inform the confused, convince the sceptics and re-affirm the commitment of converts.  The media event will highlight legitimate Canadian companies offering these products locally and nationally.

We at Global Fair Trade believe that ethical consumption must be holistic and integrated and that consumers need to see the connections across the spectrum of ethical choices.  In other words, the point needs to be made that choosing organic produce from local farmers, for example, is a comparable decision to choosing fair trade coffee from abroad – both products promote a healthy environment, both promote strong communities, both are sustainable over the long term, and both are part of an agenda to promote human rights.  As environmental and social justice is intimately related (one is impossible without the other), so too are ethical consumption choices.  In making this connection explicit, consumers of organics will cross over to include fair trade in their shopping baskets and vice versa so that both sides benefit from the partnership.

Curatorial Vision The core idea of the exhibit is to use the 7 principles of fair trade as a guideline for selection of content.  Each of the 7 principles will be portrayed in a collage of several images forming 7 sections.

1. FAIR PRICE/LIVING WAGE:  Images of sweatshop workers and negative images of farm labour juxtaposed with happy, contented fair trade owner-producers.

2. COOPERATIVE/DEMOCRATIC WORK PLACES:  Images of a contented community of workers juxtaposed with images of unfair labour practices in action (eg. child labour, underpaid immigrant workers etc.).

3. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Images of crop spraying, tree cutting and deforestation alongside images showing the positive effects of organic and fair trade solutions.

4. FINANCIAL SUPPORT:  Images of the business side of both fair trade and organics: farmers selling their wares directly; indigenous communities producing their products for export; money changing hands; the results of secure markets like new schools etc.

5. CONSUMER EDUCATION:  A collage of images that show the farmers’ market / fair trade vendor exchanging information and educating/informing clients juxtaposed with images of frustrated shoppers in busy big box stores emphasizing the personal contact aspect.

6. TECHNICAL SUPPORT:  Images of minority groups, indigenous peoples passing technical know-how of their cultural knowledge and also farmers north or south learning how to farm without pesticides and passing on the information.

7. CULTURAL RESPECT:  Images of minority groups, indigenous peoples producing traditional handicraft products and/or local farmers growing heritage crops.

The 7 sections above will be moulded into a cohesive exploration of ethical consumption focusing on and connecting organic and fair trade methods of doing business.

Results • An educational tool comprising web material, posters as well as the exhibition for use by community groups, schools and interested parties.

• A body of photographic images for media purposes and use by the PR and communications teams of the partner organizations.

• Proof of partner organizations’ commitment to the fairness principle of public education.

• Memorable and compelling illustrations of the definition of fair trade that will promote consumer awareness and help to eliminate labelling confusion and scepticism.

• Proof that local and global connections do work to improve lives and that change is possible.

What this project offers • A portrayal of southern world problems that highlights the proactive and hardworking character of southern producers rather than their passive vulnerability.

• A portrait of local farms and farmers that demonstrates the positive role played by organic family farming in their respective areas.

• Education that combines human connections with product, label and brand recognition.

• A platform to encourage consumer activism to get fair trade organic farmer’s markets into more venues.

• Empowerment of consumers, proof that they can and do make a difference.

Direct Benefits to Contributors • Direct sales at all exhibit showings across the country that you can attend or pamphlet distribution at those you cannot.

• An exhibition and educational material to assist with your own shows and events as and when you need them including for your business premises.

• Media exposure and publication of articles relating to how fair trade and organics work and the connection between consumers and producers.

Timing and Longevity The exhibition will be ready for International Fair Trade Day.  The material will be available for partners to nominate a location for the upcoming fair trade weeks.  Two simultaneous exhibitions will be made available in major centres across the country. The exhibition will then continue circulating to groups and communities that request it.

Global Fair Trade will coordinate a tour of Ontario with the help of partners that includes the possibility of sales and information tables for partners. Speakers and related events will be encouraged.  This tour can continue through the fall when universities are back in session and can be used for as long as needed as there is nothing to ‘date’ it except exposure.

Funding Global Fair Trade with the support of the Canadian ethical business community will finance this extensive and far reaching project.  We are asking partners to initiate the project with a financial contribution of $5000.  The total cost of the project will be somewhere around $90 000 CDN.  If Global Fair Trade can raise  $30,000 in contributions from the fair trade and organic community we believe we can make this work.

The Next Step Global Fair Trade invites Canadian merchants of fair trade, Transfair Canada and organic organizations to take part in this project by committing money and sending a letter of commitment so that we may proceed to a larger funding appeal.


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