David Funkhouser on Fair Trade
David Funkhouser of Fair Trade USA is our featured guest for this episode which coincides with Fair Trade month (October). David is Strategic Relations coordinator for FTUSA in Oakland and just finished a day of presenting at three universities before coming to meet and talk with us. He talks about his attraction to and involvement in the movement, the origins of FT, the processes for certifying cooperatives that produce the goods, and how FT meets needs of smaller producers better than the so-called free trade market, ensuring that participating farmers and artisans can remain situated in their homelands, as dignified and productive citizens. The structure of Fair Trade cooperatives help foster democratic organization and solidarity when pitted against banks and a rough and tumble marketplace.
Back in America and the consuming societies, there are also increasing numbers of so-called Fair Trade Towns and Fair Trade Universities. David discusses this determination to embed FT into the institutional life, buying and using FT goods exclusively or nearly so. UCSD is one of the first FT Universities, hence his visit to San Diego. His addressing USD, a Catholic university, indicates how FT is an expression of how faith-based groups can be at the leading edge of this new economic practice that just seems too right to ignore."