What Can I Do?

What can I do…
to fight unfair trade?

QUESTION: “Is there nothing to do but scream in the streets until I’m hoarse? Or get into arguments with my Republican grandpa?”

ANSWER: NO! There are concrete steps that you can take to stop being part of the problem.


1. Shop at local shops that distribute fair trade products: coffee, tea, clothing, etc. See the list of local stores in San Diego that sell at least some Fair Trade products, inside this pamphlet.

2. Buy only locally grown, organic vegetables. You will know that no pregnant women or children were sprayed with pesticides in order for you to have a cheap, shiny tomato. Any day of the week, there is a Farmer’s Market held in San Diego, selling locally grown fruits and vegetables. See this website for a list of where and when they are held: http://www.sdfarmbureau.org/BuyLocal/Farmers-Markets.php

3. Visit a maquiladora sweatshop south of the Border. See the reality of why our products are so cheap and convenient. Contact the San Diego Maquiladora Workers’ Solidarity Network for more information, maquilatijuanasandiego@earthlink.net . For more info, see their website: http://www.sdmaquila.org/

4. Write a letter to the government. Ask President Obama to stand by his statements about (unfair) free trade agreements (such as the one we have with Colombia) that are unfair and increase poverty.

5. Buy used when you can. When in doubt, buy used if you can’t find something that’s Fair Trade-certified: shop for clothes at a Thrift Store, buy electronics and furniture on Craig’s List, etc.


6. Set up a lemonade stand-type booth with your friends, offer Fair Trade coffee / tea and “unfair trade coffee / tea”, labeled as such. Pass out pamphlets explaining the difference between them.

7. If there is a charter school in your neighborhood that uses uniforms, join community members to campaign for them to buy their uniforms from a certified Fair Trade co-op.

8. Pick a local Starbuck’s, and ask for a brewed cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee. (Most Starbucks do not brew Fair Trade coffee on site.) If they don’t have it available, walk out. (But be nice.) Do this every day at the same store for two weeks. Get five friends to do the same. They’re bound to notice.


9. Fight for San Diego City College to sell only Fair Trade coffee. Contact C.A.F.E. to find out how to get involved, cafeontheborder@gmail.com , phone (619) 487-1275.

10. Support a Mixtec indigenous women’s sewing cooperative in Tijuana. C.A.F.E. is in contact with a worker-owned coop business in the Tijuana neighborhood of Valle Verde. Ask us how you can help these women find new clients interested in purchasing the clothing they produce.


10. There is a growing movement to pressure the Obama administration to renegotiate unfair trade agreements like N.A.F.T.A. with stronger protections for workers’ rights. See the nationwide petition to renegotiate N.A.F.T.A. online: http://www.renegotiatenafta.org/ Sign it online, and print it off and collect signatures yourself!