By NADIA MARIA SMITH
CS&T Staff Writer
MEDIA – Although the fair trade movement has existed in the United States for nearly 70 years, Media became what an industry group called the first “Fair Trade Town” in the United States two years ago. Now the town is giving Catholics an opportunity to learn more about fair trade by hosting a free “Fair Trade Live Concert” on Sunday, Sept. 14 from noon to 8 p.m.
The all-day concert and street festival in the heart of downtown Media will feature multicultural offerings on three different stages. The African Children’s Choir, Chinese Opera and the Fair Trade Band are scheduled to perform musical sets, and traditional Cambodian dancers, Mexican folkloric ballet and South Indian classical dancers will showcase world dance.
The performers are all from nations that are helped by the fair trade efforts and advocacy of Catholic Relief Services and other partner organizations.
Fair trade is a business practice that guarantees family farmers and workers will receive fair wages for their harvests and is a comprehensive social-economic tool strong enough to raise the standard of living for millions of people, thus providing a real solution to global poverty.
“In upholding the dignity of every inspanidual, Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Church are concerned that the economy ‘works for people’ and not the other way around,” said Anne Ayella, the archdiocesan director for CRS. “The CRS fair trade effort brings the values of our faith to the marketplace. It is a great model of solidarity in action.”
For Jackie Dooley, a parishioner of St. Mary Magdalene in Media, fair trade is “part of our stewardship,” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t think purchasing fair trade items means’ being a good steward, but it is the easiest way to be a ‘neighbor’ and help a person to become the fullness of what God wants them to become.”
Dooley has introduced fair trade coffee, teas and chocolate to the parish’s social events and has helped parishioners gain awareness of fair trade’s grounding in Catholic social teaching.
She answers the valid concern that buying fair trade coffee is more expensive than conventional coffee by noting, “it can teach us to be a little bit more judicious about how much coffee we drink and to think about it in terms of fasting from one or two cups of coffee a day for those people suffering in these countries. It turns it into such a spiritual opportunity of growth and grace for us to be a part of fair trade. It seems to me like the most natural Christian thing to do.”
The concert and festival is being organized by Media to raise public awareness and support for the growing fair trade movement, according to officials. They will be on hand to share information with interested business people and consumers.
In addition to musical performances, there will be fair trade foods and handcrafted items available for purchase, as well as hands-on fun and educational activities.
Media was able to declare itself “America’s First Fair Trade Town” on July 8, 2006 because it met requirements established by the British Fair Trade Federation, including a requirement that the majority of the stores in Media sell some fair trade products. To date Brattleboro, Vt. and Milwaukee, Wisc. have followed suit.
Admission to the concert and festival is free. For more information, visit www.visitmediapa.com/fairtrade.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 965-4614.