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JCU to host the Ohio Fair Trade Expo

September 10th, 2009

 On Sept. 26, JCU will host the Ohio Fair Trade Expo, which will feature speakers, workshops and a fair trade market with over 20 vendors from across Ohio. There will be a variety of fair trade gifts, clothing, food and drinks. 

The expo is an educational event aimed to impassion people to become advocates for fair trade, in order to build a larger fair trade movement in Ohio.

“The Ohio Fair Trade Expo is the place to learn what you can do politically, socially, and personally to expand fair trade values locally and across world,” said senior Maggie Antonelli, a JCU fair trade advocate.

According to the JCU fair trade Web site, “The movement towards fair trade certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.” 

This statewide event is focused toward members of faith communities, high school and college students and fair trade advocates. But mainly it is an opportunity for anyone who wants to learn about the fair trade movement in Ohio, to do so.

High school students, college students and advocates from all over the state as well as those from Western Pennsylvania and Michigan are invited to John Carroll’s campus for the event. 

“There’s been a lot of movement about fair trade on JCU campus in the past three years and I think having an expo like this at JCU is going to create even more energy,” said Natalie Terry a senior at JCU and a member of the fair trade planning committee. 

Planning for the expo began this June. The large gathering required a committee of students, faculty, fair trade advocates and vendors from the Cleveland area to come together to plan the event. 

Beside JCU, the planning committee includes Revive (a fair trade clothing boutique in Cleveland Heights), the Interreligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), and Illuminating Nations Through Offering and Opportunity (INTOO). 

These vendors participated in Gifts That Give Twice Holiday Sale and have helped plan fair trade events in Northeast Ohio.

The Expo will include multiple workshops and breakout sessions led by experts in the fair trade industry. The sessions cover a wide range of subjects. 

Peter Buck, the Program Representative for Equal Exchange Interfaith Program, will lead a workshop entitled “Equal Exchange’s Interfaith Program: Supporting Your Ministry!” 

John Ryan, the state director in the Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, will also be attending the expo and presenting on how people can become advocates of fair trade through legislation.

“It’s really rare to have representatives of all of these organizations in the same place at the same time,” said Andy Trares, a senior student member of the planning committee. 

“The diverse groups will bring a lot of different discussions relating to trade and fair trade, be it the business end of fair trade or organizing fair trade on college campuses,” said Trares.

 You can learn more about the expo and pre-register at ohiofairtrade.com.

Online registration is available now. Pre-registration for students is $5 and day-of registration for students is $9. You can also follow The Fair Trade Expo on Facebook and Twitter. 

Contact Natalie Terry at natalie.a.terry@gmail.com or (518) 396-0702 with any questions. 

If you are interested in volunteering for this event there will be a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Murphy Room.