The Go Green Galloway Taskforce for Sustainability and the South Jersey Fair Trade Alliance (SJFTA) will present reasons why they believe Galloway Township should become a Fair Trade Town before Galloway Council at its meeting tonight at 5:30 at the municipal complex.
The meeting begins at 5:30 because of the 9/11 ceremony that will take place at Patriot Lake Park at 7 p.m.
Penny Klein, who Is part of both Go Green Galloway and the SJFTA, emphasizes that being a Fair Trade Town is all about groups of people working together and getting a fair price.
“It presents opportunities for people that might not otherwise have an opportunity,” Klein said.
Fair Trade focuses on a fair wage for laborers, direct trade between groups and eliminating the middleman, and promoting safe and healthy conditions for workers in developing countries through a grassroots movement. Companies that create Fair Trade products don’t take advantage of child labor.
According to Fair Trade Towns USA, Fair Trade Towns “seek to empower communities to organize a local grassroots movement” and “bring together schools, places of worship, retailers and community organizations in their towns and cities and provides special recognition for their efforts.”
The Fair Trade Town designation provides a “permanent platform for continued outreach and education to build a Fair Trade movement locally and deepen each community’s commitment to international justice.”
According to Klein and Michele Bellinger, who is also active with the SJTFA, Galloway has met the requirements to be designated a Fair Trade Town. These requirements include:
- the formation of a local Fair Trade Steering Committee. One has been formed in Galloway, and both Klein and Bellinger are part of it. The steering committee put forth the petition to make Galloway a Fair Trade Town, and they collected 200 signatures. They’ve also participated in a number of events to help spread the word locally over the past two years;
- the local campaign attracts and visible public support, including press and radio; and
- a range of Fair Trade products is available in local stores, cafes and other venues/Fair Trade products are used by a number of local organizations, including places of worship, schools, hospitals and offices. In Galloway, there are 11 locations that sell Fair Trade products, including: Unitarian Universalist Church; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Friends of Forsythe Refuge; ; ; and Gourmet Liquor Store.
The final step is to have council approve a resolution. Klein and Bellinger pointed out that being a Fair Trade Town comes at no cost to the taxpayer and it doesn’t mean those who don’t make or sell Fair Trade products can’t continue to sell their products in the township and the rest of the country.
“It doesn’t hurt people in this country,” Klein said. “It’s about giving people a choice. It helps third world countries sustain themselves.”
Fair Trade products are often more expensive than their counterparts, but Klein and Bellinger say that extra cost goes back into the communities in need to help them develop.
“It helps lift people out of poverty, and not just to the point where they’re barely getting by,” Klein said. “People are making money and it’s a benefit to the community.”
Klein said Galloway has the potential to be a community that cares about the environment, and pointed to the township’s from Sustainable New Jersey. As a Fair Trade Town, Galloway would receive a certificate, and recognition, but no financial compensation.
“When people see a Fair Trade Town, they want to know what it’s all about,” Klein said. “ … The town would be seen as a leader. People would recognize Galloway as a sustainable town and a role model.”
While there are four Fair Trade Towns in northern New Jersey, Galloway would be the first in the southern portion of the state.