Fair Trade LA brought together nearly 200 people on Sunday, October 4th at the USC Caruso Catholic Center to celebrate its accomplishments and engage people in its work today. Guests had opportunities to sample Fair Trade drinks and food, enjoy Peruvian musicians and see the work and hear stories of artisans from Mexico and Kyrgyzstan.                

Fair Trade LA began ten years ago with five people gathered around a kitchen table, all committed to broadening and deepening the awareness of Fair Trade in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Their dream focused on consumers understanding the importance of socially responsible purchasing decisions to directly improve the lives of farmers, workers and artisans around the world.

Through the years their work has been supported by grants from Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Fair Trade Fund, which helps the organization reach out to parishes and schools in the archdiocese. CRS’ work in this area can be found at http://www.crsfairtrade.org/

The five founding members were recognized for their work. They are Cambria Tortorelli, parish life director at Holy Family Church, South Pasadena; Allis Druffel, outreach director for California Interfaith Power & Light; Shachar Erez, an English teacher in Israel; Siel Ju, professor at Santa Monica City College; and Joan Harper, FTLA’s executive director and a member of the Archdiocesan Global Solidarity Action Team of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace. Additionally, Hunger Action LA was recognized as their early fiscal sponsor.

Fair Trade LA’s work focuses on making cities, colleges, universities, congregations and schools Fair Trade. Pomona College and Loyola Marymount University are Fair Trade campuses and more are pursuing the designation, including Marymount California University.

There are five congregations, including American Martyrs, St. Timothy’s, Holy Family (South Pasadena) and Our Lady of the Assumption (Claremont) and FTLA is working to identify high schools and elementary schools that will take on the challenge.  If you are part of a school or church in the archdiocese and want to learn how to become Fair Trade, please contact FTLA at [email protected] or visit their website at www.fairtradela.org.