The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 6, 2014

MAFTTI to celebrate 5th anniversary

MANKATO — The inspiration for the start of the Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative came from the visit of Peruvian cooperative workers, Eva Pizarro and Ayde Riveros, who talked with Mankato-area folks about fair trade in 2009.

So it’s only fitting, said MAFTTI chair Paul Renshaw, that the fifth anniversary celebration of the group focus again on Peru. The event is Tuesday night at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Joyce Bucklin, who runs Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store in Mountain Lake, will talk about a two-week trip she took in February to Peru, where she visited partner co-ops. Renshaw also will give an update on Pizarro and Riveros, including photographs.

“Peru is a kind of book end,” Renshaw said of the group rounding out its fifth year.

Fair trade is a method of paying farmers, artisans and other producers a fair wage for their products. MAFTTI reached its initial goal in October 2011 for Mankato to become the first Fair Trade Town in Minnesota. Then in May 2012 Loyola Catholic School became the first Fair Trade K-12 School in the country.

The group’s work these days consists of spreading the fair trade message and encouraging more schools, organizations, businesses and other entities to purchase and use more fair trade products.

“Getting people to change their habits of purchasing is quite a long-term thing, actually,” Renshaw said. “... We are all consumers, and how we spend our money has a huge impact on other people’s lives.”

The event also will feature Peruvian desserts and fair trade products.

If you go What Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative fifth anniversary celebration When 7 p.m. Tuesday Where First Congregational United Church of Christ, 150 Stadium Court, Mankato Tickets $10 for adults and $5 for students Information 387-5329

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