Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition

Dedicated to raising awareness and building demand for Fair Trade in the Bay Area.
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Fair Trade Cafe Crawl-Polk

Cafe crawl participants (6 total): Greg Burton, Kelley Buhles, Jean Walsh, Lindsay Buhles, Jen Afdahl, Andy Blue

Summary: We broke into two groups of three people, and we reached 17 cafes, stores and restaurants. Our intentions were:
--To give cafes with FT products promotional materials for their windows and counter-tops.
--To give info packets to cafes who were unaware of FT
--To get followup information of managers.

Crawling through a neighborhood like Russian Hill was a good reality check. We saw that there is still a need for basic awareness in most places. For example, of the 17 places we approached and spoke with, only 5 had even heard of Fair Trade. The rest of the people were dumbfounded and often thought we were trying to sell something. By contrast, in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, 13/20 places had heard of Fair Trade.

Due to the fact that basic awareness is the most common necessity of an outreach, we should focus more on delivering a simple message to retailers rather than huge packets of articles and statistics. In most cases, the introductory brochure was the most useful. When we met retailers who had Fair Trade products, the more pragmatic marketing materials were useful.

A major challenge to address in future meetings: the language barrier that inhibits our ability to outreach to a large number of retailers. When a person is not comfortable with English, the become very cagey and intimidated, often agitated.

We all agree that the effectiveness of these outreaches depends upon the followup. As part of this, we now collect email addresses from every place that we visit (if available), and we record the context of the first visit, so that the followup visit is well-informed.