Brian Johnson, owner of in Smithville, has been in a Fair Trade frame of mind for four years. The way he sees it, Fair Trade falls in line with the idea of liberty and freedom America was founded on.
The Go Green Galloway Task Force for Sustainability agrees, and is endorsing a movement begun by the South Jersey Fair Trade Alliance to convert Galloway Township to a Fair Trade town.
“Go Green Galloway is into sustainability, and this would complement Go Green Galloway because Fair Trade is sustainability,” Go Green Galloway representative Penny Klein said. “It’s fairness in trade, it does not use child labor, it helps keep culture alive, like bead making, coffee growing that’s been in families for generations; it’s a way to share globally what people are doing in other countries, and how they make a living.”
It is considered safe because it promotes integrated farm management systems and limits the use of harmful argochemicals that present dangers to the farmer's health.
Generally, people in what are considered third world countries produce a product overseas and send it to America, where it is sold for a reasonable price and 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the product goes to the product’s creator.
Fair Trade products can be more expensive than their mainstream counterparts, but Klein feels that helping farmers in third world countries and saving the environment are worth the investment.
“You get a good product and the farmer gets a fair price for their product,” Klein said. “It’s a fair and living wage for laborers. It eliminates the middlemen. It means safe and healthy working conditions, and it’s environmentally sustainable because it involves using less chemicals.”
Anything can be a Fair Trade product. Go Green Galloway has a display case at the that showcases Fair Trade beads, coffee and chocolate, among other items.
That’s not the only place in Galloway to find Fair Trade products.
Klein said she was “pleasantly surprised” to learn that sells Fair Trade roses, Green Mountain Coffee, chocolate and tea.
Sugar, spices, dried fruits, chocolate, cocoa, rice, quinoa (grown in Columbia), fruit juices, honey, wine, bananas, cotton, cotton bags, flowers, art work and apparel are all Fair Trade products.
Media, PA, was the first Fair Trade town, and Teaneck, Red Bank and Montclair are already Fair Trade towns in New Jersey, Klein said. In 2006, Starbucks nationally sold 50 percent more Fair Trade products than it did in 2005.
In Galloway, Herban Legend, , , and the sell Fair Trade products, Klein said.
Klein pointed out that stores that sell Fair Trade products still have the choice to sell other products. Being designated a Fair Trade town doesn’t mean everything sold in the town has to come as a result of Fair Trade.
“PTAs, schools and churches like to use Fair Trade tea and coffee at their meetings,” Klein said. “ has been using Fair Trade products.”
She said the Catholic Relief Organization backs Fair Trade.
Galloway’s “green college” is even a part of the trend. Five years ago, Jason Simmons, a student at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey convinced the college to sell Fair Trade coffee on campus.
The International Gift Fair, annually held at Mainland Regional High School for four years, will be held at Stockton’s on Dec. 3.
“The more the word is out that it’s another choice for people, the more people are buying locally,” Klein said.
“If I know about it, it’s Fair Trade,” Johnson said.
He said he believes domestic products can fall under the “Fair Trade” label.
“All Fair Trade means is paying people fairly,” Johnson said.
It’s why Councilman Dennis Kleiner is open to the idea of Fair Trade, and why he thinks the rest of the council would have no problem passing a resolution to make Galloway a Fair Trade town.
“There’s no township investment,” Kleiner said. “It’s a socially accepted means for supporting businesses, farms and companies. … There would be no economic impact. If they came before council to put through a resolution, I would absolutely be in favor of it.”
However, residents shouldn't be looking for a resolution any time soon.
Before they reach that point, Go Green Galloway wants to spread the Fair Trade message throughout the township. Part of that effort included giving out Fair Trade chocolate at the Shredding Event in the spring.
All Fair Trade products are marked by a symbol.
“It lets you know it was bought and imported from a country that has no child and slave labor, the growers maintain a fair work force and they support human rights.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” Johnson said. “ … We are blessed to be in this country, and we this is one way of insisting that we do what is fair for all.”
Fair Trade is the name of the organization that certifies products, and sets the requirements and standards that have to be met in order to be considered Fair Trade.
“We are very passionate about letting people know about Fair Trade products,” Klein said.