Together, We Are Stronger: The Fair Trade Federation Conference, 2018

34 years ago, my husband and I embarked on a vision that trade could really fundamentally change people’s lives if it was done with integrity, partnership and fairness. At that time there was no Fair Trade movement and we travelled selling our goods and talking to people about creating a different trading model. We called it Alternative Trade.  People looked at us as if we were from Mars and to be honest it was pretty lonely out there!

Fast-forward to March 2018, Denver Colorado, and the 360 degree Fair Trade Conference! What a difference 34 years makes. In March, Ganesh Himal Trading joined with 250 like-minded individuals and businesses at the FTF conference and re-dedicated ourselves to deepening our understanding of Fair Trade, to networking and supporting each other and to looking at the future of this amazing movement. The energy and inspiration was magical.

Now, in 2018, because people have joined together to create a common voice, we have a Fair Trade movement and a growing interest worldwide in Fair Trade. We are no longer the small single voices trying to change an unjust system of trade but a powerful group of combined voices and we are being heard!

As of 2018, according to FTF Executive Director, Chris Solt, FTF has:

  • 249 members (235 in 40 states and 14 in 4 provinces in Canada),
  • 50% who are wholesalers and 42% who are retailers and cafes.

The goal ahead is to continue to grow, educate and inspire others about a just economy so that we can make our collective Fair Trade voice more widely heard.

Today, unlike in 1984, I stand with the other 249 members of the Fair Trade Federation and know that I am not alone, that I am not a single voice in the wilderness. I feel empowered and part of a community bent on raising the bar and creating a just world. I see those around me who support & understand the value of transforming trade and I feel more confident that the small vision that we had so long ago can and is becoming our reality.

This month’s column is my plea to those of you who have not officially joined the FTF movement. We need you more than ever now. Together we are stronger and our voice will be louder. For that reason Ganesh Himal Trading is hosting a Q & A answer session with FTF ED Chris Solt. (see article below) If you have questions or concerns, now is your time to ask him directly.

For those of you who are not members of FTF, I urge you to take the plunge. I know it takes time and resources but the community, the dialogue, being a part of the movement is worth it one thousand times over.  Ganesh Himal has been a member of FTF since its founding in 1994 and honestly if people had not banded together to form FTF Ric and I would still be just a single voice in eastern Washington looking into the confused eyes of those trying to understand our vision. Luckily that is not the case and now we have a movement to hold us up and an amazing organization in FTF to help us transform the world. Join us!