Mankato First Fair Trade Town in Minnesota
Issue No.28, December 8, 2017
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Buying Fair Trade can be a daily choice, allowing each of us to make a difference every day.

This holiday season we are all more conscious of the values of the companies we support.  Shopping fair trade is just one way that we can live – and give – with purpose.

Fair trade in the U.S. traces its roots to 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler, a volunteer for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), visited an MCC sewing class in Puerto Rico where she discovered the talent the women had for creating beautiful lace and the extraordinary poverty in which they lived despite their hard work. She began carrying these pieces back to the United States to sell and returning the money back to these groups directly. Her work grew into Ten Thousand Villages, which opened its first fair trade shop in 1958 and is now the largest fair trade retailer in North America. In 1949, Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation (Serrv) began helping refugees in Europe recover from World War II. Today, they support artisans in more than 35 countries.

Fair Trade Federation companies are U.S. and Canadian businesses that make a commitment to respecting the environment, supporting small scale artisans and farmers, and celebrating cultural diversity.

 To shop socially and environmentally responsible companies this holiday season, shop Ten Thousand Villages Kiosk at River Hills Mall, The Fair Emporium in St. Peter and New Ulm's Own in New Ulm. Read more about these stores below.  You can also shop Fair Trade online: shop FTF verified companies online.

Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.  Anna Lappe
Unfortunately, our MAFTTI Fair Trade t-shirts will not be available until December 27.  Due to holiday shipping costs, we are unable to get them before Christmas.

This t-shirt is organic cotton with premium stitching, classic styling and superior quality. It makes an attractive, durable product that has a lower eco-impact over its lifespan. Printed on the front with a great Fair Trade message and on the back with the MAFTTI logo. The unisex t-shirt is available in sizes S-M-L-XL & XXL for $25.00.
Contact Jane Dow at or Margo Druschel at if you would like to purchase.

Ten Thousand Villages kiosk is at River Hills Mall again this holiday season. Look for it in a new location this year, near Target. Holiday gifts include household decor, toys, jewelry, scarves, Christmas decorations and candy.  The kiosk is open regular mall hours.



New Ulm's Own: Profits to Charity opened May 12, 2017.  They are located at 212 N. Minnesota St. in New Ulm.  Hours of operation are Thurs, Fri, and Sat. from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..  Additional holiday hours include Sundays from 12:00 to 3:00 on Dec. 3, 10 and 17 and  extended hours  til 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14.

 New Ulm's Own is a 501c3, operating entirely with volunteers and donating all profit to local charity.  The first year's profit is dedicated to NUMAS HAUS, the local women's shelter.  Their effort supports marginalized women locally and globally as  85% of fair trade product is created by women, and the profits to NUMAS HAUS support education, housing, and counseling for homeless women with young children. 


In addition to fair trade merchandise they have a variety of locally sourced art including pottery, jewelry, wall art in oil, watercolor, pencil, and metalpoint, photography, note cards, weaving and  books.  Fair trade merchandise includes home decor, baskets, jewelry, coffee, tea, Divine Chocolate, Christmas ornaments, handknit slipper socks from Azerbaijan, KliketyKlik boxes from South Africa, purses, wallets, bags, condiments, and much more.  

New Ulm's Own is the small shop with a big heart.  You can see more on Facebook and the webpage: 
New Ulm's Own


For unique holiday gifts that inspire the holiday spirit, the Fair Emporium is filled with Christmas ornaments and holiday decor.  Decorate your tree with handmade paper stars strung in a colorful  garland. Find joy in the little things, like recycled paper ornaments—each ornament is handmade and unique. Add bristly little creatures to your decor, naturally made from the twigs and fibers of the abaca plant, a species native to the Philippines and know you are helping the environment and supporting jobs. These handcrafted products will warm your home during the coldest time of the year.




On Saturday, June 4, 2011, MAFTTI activists Betty Winkworth, Arlene Renshaw and Paul Renshaw were on duty at the MAFTTI table at the Mankato Farmers’ Market. They told anyone who showed interest that the milestone of the 1000th Fair Trade Town had just been reached.  MAFTTI was, thus, joining individuals, organizations and other Fair Trade Towns in many countries in signing up to a statement calling on G20 leaders to ‘MAKE TRADE FAIR’The statement called for action to ensure “the current food system and agricultural trade flows contribute to, rather than hinder, sustainable agriculture and food security, in the South and in the North.”  

It had taken 11 years for this point to be reached since the Fair Trade Towns movement started in April 2000 in Garstang (pop. 5,000) in north-west England. During those years the Fair Trade Town vision spread to 21 other countries.  In fact, Fair Trade Towns fast became a new model of campaigning around the world for fair trade in the fields, in stores, in local schools, community groups and businesses.  

Only six years later, in October 2017, the global list of Fair Trade Towns reached 2,000! The number of countries where the idea of Fair Trade Town campaigning was taking root had, by then, reached 33 (Belgium/Flanders and Belgium/Wallonia being counted separately). The current list is here.

Suzi Hiza of Fair Trade Campaigns has written up this exciting story here.  

Suzi’s article also refers to and links to the recent (11th) International Fair Trade Towns Conference that took place in Saarbrucken, Germany under the theme, “Fair Trade Across Generations”.  Organized by the Fair Trade network that links Saarbrucken and Trier (Germany) with Metz (France) and Luxembourg (Luxembourg), this annual gathering brought together about 200 Fair Traders from 20 countries and five continents. Suzi represented the USA along with Billy Linstead Goldsmith, Director of Fair Trade Campaigns, who chairs the International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee.  

Billy commented that the Saarbrucken conference was “the most diverse international conference to date, with an impressive amount of representation from producer communities that have engaged with Fair Trade Town campaigns. It was inspiring to learn firsthand how communities of Fair Trade producers are adopting and adapting the Fair Trade Towns model, and to explore how we can best adapt our global movement to best include a much more diverse landscape of campaigners.”


Houston, TX (November 28, 2017)
 – Fair Trade Campaigns is proud to announce Houston’s designation as the first Fair Trade Town in the state of Texas, and the second largest Fair Trade Town in the United States. Houston is also the first major city to announce a zero tolerance human trafficking policy in city service contracts.

 The movement, which started in England in 2000, today encompasses over 2,000 Fair Trade Towns in 29 countries around the world.

The campaign to make Houston a Fair Trade Town has been underway since 2011, in an effort let by Kendra Penry, lead organizer for Fair Trade Houston. “The work that went into this took years, quite literally years,” said Penry, going on to say that it was “completely worth it because we know it is creating positive change in the world.”

Copyright © 2017 MAFTTI, All rights reserved.
MAFTTI Newsletter No.28, December 8, 2017
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Mankato Fair Trade Town · 228 Parkway Pl · Mankato, Mn 56001 · USA

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