Ten Thousand Villages helps Austin work toward becoming fair trade city

With the help of local business and community efforts, as well as some help from here at St. Edward’s University, Austin is working towards becoming a fair trade city by Jan. 1, 2012.

There are five steps to becoming a fair trade city, according to the Fair Trade Towns USA website. These steps include building a team, reaching out to retailers, engaging the town, getting attention from the media, and passing a fair trade city or town resolution.

Austin is one of only two Texas cities cited as working towards a fair trade resolution. Houston is also doing this, and currently only has a team established.

Currently, Austin has everything but a city resolution on its journey to becoming a fair trade city.

The first fair trade town in the world was in 2000 in Garstang, Lancashire in the U.K.

The first fair trade city in the U.S. was Media, Pa. in 2005. Since then, over 800 communities have become considered as fair trade communities.

Individuals and organizations promoting fair trade help the product providers set a selling price that will not compromise their livelihood or dignity.

“I started volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer, at the beginning of the fall 2010 semester,” said sophomore sociology and Spanish major Alyssa Haney. “Since then, I have become really interested in fair trade as a means for alleviating