Reservations about Fair Trade: The Invitation

Thanksgiving has come and gone and with it Black Friday and a handful of spin offs and organized responses: Buy Nothing Day, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and Fair Tuesday.  While (as my last blog post reveals) I flew the flag of the Buy Nothing Day, a friend of mine, who I lovingly call “Crash,” took up the cause of Fair Tuesday.

I have what I would characterize as an above average knowledge of the fair trade movement and it’s certification process, but I am by no means an expert and I have never gone out of my way to purchase Fair Trade products.  This, I will admit, is because I have always viewed Fair Trade with a healthily skepticism.  Skepticism, however, isn’t particularly productive and ideally, I’d like to either confirm or alleviate my concerns so that I might more intelligently contribute to conversations regarding fair trade.  As a scholar who does cultural studies of food, this is something I should have done long ago.

Crash is an invested participant in the fair trade movement and was recently part of the successful effort to obtain designation for Chapel Hill, NC as a Fair Trade City.  I can’t think of a better person to start a conversation with about the movement, to better educate myself in dialogue with, and to help vet some of my somewhat nebulous concerns.

So… I’m inviting Crash to have a blog-to-blog conversation with me about Fair Trade.  I’ll begin by posting here with a line of questioning or a particular concern and ask her to post replies, ask questions, and raise issues by posting on her blog Listen Girlfriends.

I’m crossing my fingers she accepts my invitation.