Sunday, November 06, 2005

United Students for Fair Trade

USFT is a national network of student organizations advocating around Fair Trade products, policies, and principles. We have three main functions. First, we organize--we work to consolidate and coordinate the power of the over 100 active student Fair Trade organizations in the U.S. Second, we do leadership development and capacity building, primarily through intensive international exchanges and skill-building conferences. Last, we serve as a resource group for student-based affiliates looking for anything from a phone number to research materials to strategic advice to internship opportunities.

The core objective of USFT is to raise the awareness of and expand the demand for Fair Trade alternatives, both on campuses and in communities. Through this process, we redefine relationships between producer and consumer, and engage in the ongoing struggle to build people's power in the face of corporate-driven globalization.

We contextualize our work around Fair Trade alternatives in the context of our critique of neoliberal economics and global trade policy, and partner with trade justice organizations that lobby for progressive trade policy. On the domestic side, we think worker rights issues in the U.S. fall squarely on the Fair Trade playing field, and are actively building partnerships with both farmworker rights and anti-sweatshop groups. While we are plugging into national campaigns that are already underway, we're also exploring the potential for applying Fair Trade models to products such as tomatoes or apparel, and exploring other alternative economic models to improve the livelihood of farmworkers and their families in the U.S.

Put together, USFT is a comprehensive cross-sector, cross-ethnic global justice organization that is not only nurturing a new generation of Fair Trade leadership, but is contributing substantially to the Movement in real-time.


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