Fair Trade Town for Chico is an initiative that began with the Chico Peace & Justice Center and now the Chico Fair Trade Town Coalition. The City of Chico adopted the Fair Trade Town Resolution and will officially become a Fair Trade Town on February 14, 2009. Fair Trade Town simply means that a number of businesses including stores and cafes sell fair trade goods and that the municipal government itself endorses fair trade and uses fair trade goods at meetings (such as coffee). The coalition has stressed that people should always try to buy locally produced products first, but if that isn't possible, think about buying fair trade.
The Chico Fair Trade Coalition is now converting into a Fair Trade Steering Committee and they are looking for members supportive and knowledgeable of the cause. The steering committee will ensure that Fair Trade Town certification will be successful and to encourage local businesses to adopt fair trade products. Mayor Ann Schwab is currently the Fair Trade Town liaison to the city council and may officiate at special events.
The city council on the 16th of September had a short discussion about the Fair Trade Town initiative. At opposition at the meeting were a group of people that claimed fair trade is "communist" and a means to introduce price fixing into the market. Those claims are dubious at best since fair trade is a way to bring equitable capitalism to developing countries that generally lack real capital (due to little infrastructure, having to import goods, etc).
Mayor Andrew Holcombe managed to to keep it on the agenda for consideration for the October 21st, 2008 meeting.
On October 21st, 2008, all but Larry Wahl and Steve Bertagna voted to have the city prepare an official resolution for the council to consider. The two councilmen that voted against pursuing such a resolution believed that Fair Trade Town is not a productive endeavor. If the resolution is adopted, the city must serve fair trade products, such as coffee, during council meetings. They may even consider posting a fair trade logo on the Welcome to Chico sign. Another major development at this meeting was adopting a General Plan amendment to allow the expansion of Chico Volkswagen.
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