Fair Trade Soirée Équitable – a real succès!

Picture this: May 10th, 2014. World Fair Trade Day. More than 100 people in one beautiful Fair Trade venue: Bridgehead Roastery

Folks in the region of Canada’s capital have done it again! We could not have hoped for a better crowd of people with whom to spend the evening of World Fair Trade Day.  The Crystal Coasts band started the evening off with their fine tunes while the bidding war on the silent auction was already seeing some action and negotiation. Jen Hunter, founder of The Learning Catalyst shared with us some motivational words. Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada encouraged us to be more bold and to consume less. Roastery tours, a powerful thematic photo booth, smiling FTOÉ volunteers and tasty food. All of this made possible thanks to our very generous sponsors.

Quoi demander de plus?

La Soirée, ayant pour but de non seulement aider à sensibiliser la communauté au commerce équitable, était aussi une façon d’amasser des sous afin d’appuyer FTOÉ dans ses démarches au cours de l’année. Grâce à ses fonds, nous pourrons continuer à maintenir notre site internet, à imprimer des produits de promotion, à participer à des évènements et à surtout continuer de solliciter les conseillers de la ville d’Ottawa afin d’obtenir le statut de ville équitable.

If you haven’t done so already, join us on social media!

See you all for #FTSE2015! Until then, let’s keep the Fair Trade movement growing strong! #PowerOfYou #TonMondeTonChoix!

October 2013 newsletter


A clean slate for fall. Harvesting Fair Trade Karma.

We mean business

FTOÉ is ready to make waves in the nation’s capital with its newly-minted Steering Committee. On August 25, Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable held its first-ever Annual General Meeting, complete with elections for Chair and Directors. Congratulations and welcome to:

IMG_4309Chair: Lia Walsh
Treasurer: Julia Rosewarne
Director of Community Outreach: Dan Ironmonger
Director of School Outreach: Meghan McIntyre
Director of Event Planning: Ella Heyder
Director of Communications: Mélissa Dubé
Director of Business Outreach: Valerie Choo-Foo
Director of Municipal Outreach: Ana Tavares
Director of Volunteer Coordination: Kelly Banks

With this leadership team in place, FTOÉ has met yet another requirement set by Fairtrade Canada for achieving Fair Trade Town status. Steering Committees must be active in towns once they have gained this status, to keep up the momentum and grow awareness among businesses and the community at large. The best is yet to come!

Relay for Freedom

Yet another reason that Fair Trade is so awesome: producers treat their workers with dignity and respect. And we at FTOÉ wanted to pass along the good karma by joining forces with runners and walkers at the annual Freedom Relay held by Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking in Humans (PACT) on September 14. FTOÉ volunteers were there to let participants know that buying Fair Trade supports a system that promotes the development and well-being of hired labourers in occupations where exploitation is the norm.

To Market, To Market!

With autumn in the air, it’s time to savour the harvest. On September 15, FTOÉ team members were at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Brewer Park, one of the largest in the city, to encourage visitors to buy local produce. Besides being fresher, buying local gets you closer to the people who produce what you eat. There’s room for both Fair Trade and local in the ethical buyer’s basket.

13Our other upcoming events:

Halloween campaign (October)watch for our volunteers encouraging you to think Fair Trade when you’re buying chocolate treats for the little tricksters!

Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale (November 30) – visit our table while you’re stocking up on festive buys and you may get a surprise. Did someone say “caroling bananas”?

Visit the events page for up-to-date event information.

Jump on board.

A last look at summer

While supplies last, pick up the summer edition of the Canadian Fair Trade Network’s FREE magazine at a Bridgehead Coffee location near you. You will learn all about Fair Trade happenings in Canada and worldwide! You can also read it online, or let us know If you would like additional copies.

Help us out

As we reported last month, we’ve nearly achieved our goal for identifying businesses that offer Fair Trade products. But there’s always a chance we missed your favourite place. So please let us know of any place, particularly cafés or restaurants, that offer at least two different varieties of Fair Trade merchandise. It will make our case for Fair Trade Town status that much stronger!

Sign your name

Show your support for Ottawa becoming a Fair Trade Town by signing our petition. While you are at it, support the use of conflict-free minerals by signing up here.

team_smallerJoin our Fabulous Team!

FTOÉ is looking for Fair Trade enthusiasts to help us out with outreach, communications (including social media) and other activities such as fundraising and blogging. Join the FTOÉ family by donating a few hours a week or month. For more info, go here and join us at an Orientation Session.

CHUO fm Interview – “Take a Sip”

May 8, 2013 on CHUO fm’s “Click Radio” with Mitchell Caplan

FTOÉ’s Lia Walsh and Crystal Coasts’ Ioana Arbone are interviewed by Mitchell Caplan of CHUO fm (University of Ottawa). Mitchell talks to Lia about the upcoming “Take a Sip for Fair Trade” wine and cheese event in celebration of World Fair Trade Day, while he also gets the scoop on our very talented violinist and her indie band, Crystal Coasts.

You can also listen to the whole interview on our YouTube channel!

CTV Morning Live feature – Fair Trade Shopping

December 5, 2012 on CTV Morning Live
Our own Lia Walsh talks with Jeff Hopper about some products available for purchase in Ottawa, leading up to our event at Ten Thousand Villages:

“Lia Walsh of Fair Trade Ottawa Equitable dropped by CTV Morning Live to preview its Shop and Share night. On December 12, Fair Trade Ottawa is partnering with Ten Thousand Villages to showcase Fair Trade products, music and more.”

EMC Ottawa West – “Westboro gets wicked with zombie walk”

 Yes, even inaminate fruits and vegetables can turn into the walking undead. Representitives from Fair Trade Ottawa donned zombie banana livery during the Wickedly Westboro Family Zombie Walk held Saturday morning. From left, Jason Chalmers, Adrienne Harding, Janice Ashworth and Alex Graham.OTTAWA, November 1, 2012 – The downtown core wasn’t the only part of Ottawa getting in on the zombie action on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Westboro claimed ownership of its own legion of ambling “undead” with its second annual Family Zombie Walk, part of the Westboro Village Business Improvement Area’s Wickedly Westboro event.

The zombie walk got underway at the Real Canadian Superstore, shuffling and groaning its way down Richmond Road towards All Saints Church.

The family-friendly event brought out skillfully costumed adults and children alike.

A community-wide scavenger hunt organized by 15 BIA merchants added to the day’s fun, with prizes donated by local merchants.

If dressing like the walking undead wasn’t your kind of fun, the last weekend of the community’s farmers market was open in the park at Richmond Road and Golden Avenue, offering a variety of fresh, late-season produce.

What tempts people to join a zombie walk? The reasons are many, but all who participate will agree it’s just a “bloody” good time.

“I think in a way it is socially subversive,” said Jason Chalmers of [Fair] Trade Ottawa, who, along with a group of his colleagues, was dressed as a zombie banana.

Together, the individual bananas formed a bunch, adding some much-needed colour to a dark, drizzly morning.

“It’s also fun,” said Adrienne Harding, also of [Fair] Trade Ottawa.

The Family Zombie Walk was sponsored by the CIBC Banking Centre at 103 Richmond Rd., where staff happily decked themselves out in true Halloween fashion.

“It’s our first time doing this, so it’s pretty exciting,” said branch manager Jennifer Holmes.

Later that day a collection of nearly 2,000 zombies – possible containing some from the Westboro walk – slowly made their way through the streets of downtown Ottawa for the increasingly popular annual Ottawa Zombie Walk.



Read the full article on the EMC Ottawa West website here.

Centretown Buzz – “Fair trade uses purchasing power for change”

OTTAWA, October 20, 2012 – Enjoying that delicious, fairly traded coffee, tantalizing your taste buds and raising your awareness levels as you flip through The BUZZ? Perfect. Do you know where those coffee beans came from, and what impact their production has had on the world, or the people that grew them? Would you be surprised to learn that proceeds from those specific beans helped a community build a school or hospital, or provide clean drinking water to its people? Do you like the idea of everyday purchases making a difference in impoverished and often marginalized countries?

Well they can, which makes our purchasing power undeniable! We can make the choice to dish out our hard-earned dollars to producers who value sustainability, the environment and human life over profits! And even though they are great examples of success, these product choices aren’t limited to coffee, tea and cocoa. There are many products you can select every day that have the Fair Trade logo on them. Every time you purchase Fair Trade, you are helping move toward a global change.

By closing the link between consumers and producers, Fair Trade items guarantee a product’s value is not manipulated by middle men, but standardized at a mutually sustainable level, with additional subsidies set aside to allow a community’s growth and forward progress. In return, consumers can enjoy a socially and environmentally responsible product that has given opportunity to people who have historically been exploited for profit. It’s as if with each purchase the suggestion can be offered: “We are with you!”

Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable is a local advocacy group designed to spread awareness about the global Fair Trade movement, at a grassroots level. Established in early 2011 and gaining momentum every day, we are an eclectic team of dedicated and enthusiastic citizens, working towards the goal of Ottawa being recognized as a Fair Trade Town, a tangible designation indicating a per capita involvement and awareness of this movement.

It’s our mission to make this happen! We have been meeting with City Council and local merchants to get them on board—but this goal requires your help! Through community action and fun awareness campaigns, we have hit the streets to spread the word collecting your signatures of support. You may have seen us at Westfest, Great Glebe Garage Sale, or Folkfest in our unmistakable Fair Trade Banana costumes sharing Fair Trade goodies. And as you could probably tell, we have a lot of fun getting the word out!

We are always glad to welcome new members, occasional volunteers, general inquiries, student support or, of course, messages of support. Please get in touch through our website (fairtradeottawa.ca) and please remember to always consider your power as a consumer.

Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable—A local movement for global change.
Volunteer opportunities available!
Twitter: @fairtradeottawa
Facebook: /fairtradeottawa


Read the full article on the Centretown Buzz website here.

“Take a Step for Fair Trade” creates Canadian opportunity for global change

OTTAWA, May 1, 2012 – Kicking off alongside Fairtrade Fortnight (May 1), the “Take a Step for Fair Trade” campaign provides an opportunity for Canadians to register their personal socially-conscious contributions towards a national effort. The project, spearheaded by Fairtrade Canada, is already working alongside businesses, organizations, community groups and passionate individuals to hit a goal of 150,000 steps taken across Canada by year’s end.

The campaign launch coincides not only with Fairtrade Fortnight, but also with a growing consciousness among consumers about the consequences of day-to-day purchases for producers across the globe. Each year, sales of Fair Trade products grow by about 30% globally, empowering more and more small-scale producers in the process.

The campaign invites the Canadian public to take its own step for Fair Trade this year. Whether it be to try a new Fair Trade product or to switch out the coffee served in their workplace, Canadians are already showing their enthusiasm by adding their voice to a growing number of supporters across the nation. “I’m already really passionate about Fair Trade, so for me, the campaign is a chance to challenge myself,” says University of Ottawa student, Lia Walsh. “But a lot of my friends don’t even know what Fair Trade is, and they’re getting involved just by learning more. The campaign has something for everyone.”

It’s not just individuals that are taking steps this year. Organizations, businesses, schools, and faith groups have begun planning “Take a Step” events across the country. Home-grown talent like The Dragon Den’s Arlene Dickinson and CBC’s George Stromboulopoulos have already voiced their support.

“This campaign is a chance for people to see the kind of impact even small steps can have,” says Sean McHugh, director of the Canadian Fair Trade Network. “Something as simple as buying one Fair Trade banana becomes significant when 150,000 other people are doing the exact same thing. It’s a step that could make a huge impact on the lives of producers and their families in the developing world, and this campaign is trying to help people to see that.”

For more information or to register steps, visit http://fairtrade.ca/step.

CFRA 580’s Lowell Green Show with Nick Vandergragt

Lia and Brian spreading the Fair Trade love

OTTAWA, January 23, 2012 – Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable gets its first bad press on account of a misunderstanding of what Fair Trade means. Many thanks to Amber and Michael for calling in to present their views and help the host understand what Fair Trade is all about!

View the video with full audio on our YouTube channel here!

The Ottawa Citizen – Team works hard to turn Ottawa into a Fair Trade Town

Lia and Brian spreading the Fair Trade love

OTTAWA, January 9, 2012 – Where exactly does that cup of coffee come from? That’s the question a group of volunteers from Ottawa hope you’ll ask the next time you make a purchase.

The Fair Trade Ottawa team is working to have Ottawa named a Fair Trade Town — a designation given to a city where fair trade products are accessible and the people living there know what they are.

“Fair trade is about looking closer at where your food comes from and where your things are made, and understanding the consequences that your purchasing has on people in developing countries,” says Michael Creighton, chair of Fair Trade Ottawa.

Since last spring, the group has been holding awareness campaigns around the city and compiling a thick report to show Fairtrade Canada that Ottawa is ready for the title.

Fair trade products come in a variety of forms — everything from coffees and teas to soccer balls and hockey pucks.

An international network of fair trade organizations puts farmers and producers through a rigorous process to ensure that every worker involved in the production of an item is treated and paid fairly. The goal is to help abolish child labour and worker abuse, and to encourage sustainable production methods.

Michael Zelmer, the communications director for Fairtrade Canada, says the main goal of the certification process is to ensure people have enough information to make decisions about what to buy.

“The purpose of fair trade is to provide a mechanism so that consumers can say, OK, we don’t agree with this. We want to make it so that people don’t have to put their kids to work, and then the kids can go to school.”

Products that meet the stringent criteria are given the Fairtrade certification, a little label on the box or package that tells consumers the product has met international demands.

To become a Fair Trade Town, Ottawa will have to meet several criteria. Fair trade products need to be accessible across the city, and the group has to have made several attempts at informing the public about the process. Support is also needed from the city council — both as a commitment to use fair trade products at city hall and by forming a committee to keep the standards high.

Jennie Videto, one of the founders of Fair Trade Ottawa, says the support has been strong in the city, but she still hopes to gain more as they move closer to earning the designation.

“We should be showing our leadership, and other cities and towns can follow,” she says. There are currently 15 Fair Trade Towns in Canada.

If Ottawa is successful it would join nearly 1,000 around the world, many of which are clustered in Britain where the concept began.

Videto says being a Fair Trade Town just means people can decide to spend their money with more information.

“For me, it’s just an opportunity for people to have a chance to have good health care, education, food on the table every night. Stuff that we might take for granted, just paying a couple of extra cents here and there or a dollar affords them those opportunities.”

At the University of Ottawa, stickers bearing the fair trade certification are scattered across the wall in the main shop, encircling a large display of fair trade coffees, teas, and chocolates.

The university is also in the process of applying for the title of a Fair Trade Campus. It’s a tough designation to earn, since it requires all the coffee purchased by the university and student union to be fair trade, as well as several tea options.

Ryan Ward, the head of the University of Ottawa’s fair trade group, says the university is well on its way to earning the title. The student union-run businesses have already switched to fair trade products, and the university has backed the project.

The first goal saw the university earning the title this month, but there have been delays while the administration works with suppliers to track down fair trade products. Ward says the submission will likely be made by the end of the academic year.

For more information go to www.fairtradeottawa.ca


Read the full article on the Ottawa Citizen website here.