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Galloway Council Tables Fair Trade Resolution

A discussion will take place at the Sept. 24 meeting.

Galloway Township Council voted to table an agenda item proposing the township become a at its meeting on Tuesday night, Sept. 11.

The issue was placed on the agenda as a Consent Agenda item, meaning it would be considered with several other items at once. Council votes on all Consent Agenda items simultaneously, but council members have the option of removing the item from the Consent Agenda for further discussion.

In this instance, Councilman Tom Bassford wanted to investigate the idea further.

“This is not a Galloway issue. It seems more like a national issue,” Bassford said.

The item was on the agenda the same night members of the Go Green Galloway Taskforce for Sustainability gave a presentation on the matter. Barbara Fiedler, Penny Klein and Mary Crawford presented the idea to council, emphasizing that being a Fair Trade Town didn’t cost the township anything, and it would enhance the township’s Silver Certification it earned from Sustainable New Jersey in 2010.

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.”

Becoming a Fair Trade Town doesn’t mean Galloway businesses can only deal in Fair Trade items. The contingent from Go Green Galloway emphasized it was a choice rather than a mandate.

“I believe in open trade, too, but I don’t see how this would adversely affect Galloway,” Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola told Bassford.

“A lot of material was provided,” Township Solicitor Mike Fitzgerald said. “It probably requires discussion.”

The item was pulled from the Consent Agenda and tabled. A discussion of the issue will now take place at the Sept. 24 council meeting.

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