Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition

Dedicated to raising awareness and building demand for Fair Trade in the Bay Area.
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Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition Minutes

BAFTC activists discuss strategy for building the local Fair Trade movement.

So we had a great Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition meeting the other day with a lot of exciting ideas for new campaigns, events, roles, structures and strategies. The goal of our meeting was to devise a strategy for more effectively engaging our growing base of volunteers and to devolve more leadership and responsibility to our members.

We had a really strong turnout, with representation from our burgeoning Oakland and Berkeley Fair Trade Towns campaigns and activists and supporters from a range of Fair Trade businesses, communities and organizations.

In attendance were:

Jeanne Cloutier of Alter Eco
Wes Selke of Good Capital
MariPaz Garcia of De La Paz Coffee
Kimberley Potts of Ten Thousand Villages
Dagne Tucker of Fair Trade Boulder
David Funkhouser of TransFair USA
Billy Linstead Goldsmith of Fair Trade Towns
Alicia Grimes of TransFair USA
Maureen Moody of the Fair Trade Resource Network
Tex Dworkin of Global Exchange
Zarah Patria of Global Exchange
Katie Barrow of TransFair USA
Catarina Bronstein of University of the Pacific
Lauren Van Ham of Fair Trade Berkeley
Dave Schwerin of Clean Water Action
and Zach Carson from the Sustainable Living Roadshow.

After a brief overview of the history of the group and an update on the Fair Trade Towns movement nationally, we launched in to a discussion about how best to structure the campaign in a way which integrates new team members and campaigns from the East Bay. David suggested that we continue to keep in mind the need to recruit prominent members of the broader community for our steering committees and it was proposed that we perhaps do this as part of recruitment for an umbrella steering committee composed of representatives from each of the local campaigns at a later date.

Based upon the turnout and enthusiasm in the room, we decided that we had sufficient commitment and momentum to undertake three campaigns at once, Fair Trade San Francisco, Fair Trade Oakland and Fair Trade Berkeley. Katie and Catarina expressed a desire to start campaigns in other East Bay cities like Albany, El Cerrito and Alameda, but it was decided that our resources might be spread too thin if we expanded further at the present time. Billy suggested that the group focus on these first three cities and then upon completion of the Fair Trade Towns guidelines in Oakland or Berkeley, further East Bay campaigns could be taken on as part of a mentoring campaign relationship.

It was decided that the three groups would have separate steering committees to ensure scalability, local investment and control. The three groups would have independent decision making structures but coordinate on campaigns and strategies and continue to organize and promote events jointly under the Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition name. Once these three groups were established with steering committees we would revisit the issue of creating an overarching steering committee with representatives of all three.

It took all of the white boards in the room to contain these notes.

The discussion then turned to the best way to share roles and responsibilities among the group and the possibility of future subcommittees or teams. We briefly discussed the organizing model used by the Obama campaign and how that might be applied in the context of the Fair Trade movement. There was some interest in the idea of creating neighborhood teams below the steering committee level, but no decisions were made as to their composition or focus and the group seemed comfortable deferring that decision to the town steering committees.

There was a lively discussion of steering committee roles as a way of sharing responsibility and leadership. Some proposed roles included coordinators for community outreach, retail outreach, campus outreach, faith outreach, event planning, online communications, research and analysis, media outreach, business outreach, fundraising, and education.

It was decided that the best way to break up the responsibilities was according to the Fair Trade Towns goals and the group settled on six roles to be filled by each steering committee member:

Team Leader / Steering Committee Chair
Retail Outreach Coordinator
Community Outreach Coordinator
Fundraising and Events
Social Media and Communications
and Government Liason

These were conceived of as recommended roles and further roles and responsibilities could be assigned and developed based on availability and need by the steering committee groups. The responsibilities of these roles would also be further defined by the steering committee groups at future meetings.

We then brainstormed some potential actions that might support the growth of the group towards each of the five Fair Trade Towns goals.

For retail engagement we suggested delivering more point of purchase materials to stores, an updated where to buy list available online, organizing a Fair Trade Crawl event, and maintaining a presence at large consumer events like gift shows.

For community outreach it was suggested we might plan a film night, a thank you campaign to retailers, tabling at farmers markets, a fair trade halloween event, a fair trade coffee house bike tour, a buy local, buy fair event or a panel discussion series at local schools.

For fundraising some ideas included a benefit concert, a raffle or an online auction.

For media participants suggested a cooperative ad buy, a celebrity endorsement campaign, outreach on social networks, organizing a flash mob or a support campaign on yelp.

For government engagement we suggested lobbying local supervisors, neighborhood association leaders and city officials for legislation and broader campaign support both programatically and in the media.

We then broke out into three groups to plan our next meetings, one for Oakland, one for Berkeley and one for San Francisco. At these meetings we will determine our Fair Trade Month goals for each group and assign steering committee roles to each member in attendance.

For more information on how you can get involved in the Fair Trade San Francisco campaign please contact Jamie Guzzi, 510-663-5260 x309 or email

For more information on the Fair Trade Oakland campaign please contact Billy Linstead Goldsmith, 510-844-1414 or email

For more information on the Fair Trade Berkeley campaign please contact Lauren Van Ham, 510-665-8368 or email

More details to come on the dates and times of the meetings soon. And thanks to Adina World Beat Beverages for delivering a big bucket of ready to drink ice coffees to keep us awake through the meeting!