You may have noticed that within our collection of USA-made, graphic tees, one tee is actually produced in India: our ‘Fair Trade’ tee — and you’ll see that through its impact on its workers and the environment, it certainly lives up to its name!

Our workers are treated respectfully: Our ‘Fair Trade’ tee is produced in conjunction with Hae Now, an organic, animal-friendly and Fair Trade manufacturer in southern India. In an industry that typically exploits its workers with meager wages and sweatshop-like conditions, Hae Now’s workers receive independently assessed fair living wages, safe working conditions, as well as medical, paid leave, retirement benefits, job training, and free education for their dependents. Additionally, our workers are paid pre-harvest with fair prices, which means reliable and steady income.

Organic cotton means no harmful chemicals: The cotton used to produce our ‘Fair Trade’ tee is farmed from a farmer-owned collective in central India. Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of pesticides — the pesticides used in cotton were originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War II! Therefore you can imagine how harmful they can be to farmers and the environment: poisoning farm workers, drifting into neighboring communities, contaminating ground and surface water, and kill beneficial insects. The cotton we use in our Fair Trade tee is entirely organic: no pesticides means no ill-effects on workers, farmers, and the environment.

Sustainable farming is practiced throughout: Sustainable techniques like hand-farming, botanical pest control, and crop-rotation are practiced at our farms in India. Besides being better for the environment, crop-rotation gets rid of many costs associated with disease and pest control. Oftentimes Indian farmers rely heavily on expensive pesticides, which easily drags them into spiraling debt. Practices like crop-rotation uses no pesticides and keeps soil enriched and healthy. Because organic, sustainable farming is more labor-intensive, it’s become a powerful vehicle in worker empowerment by creating job opportunities at all levels.

Proceeds support our local community: For every ‘Fair Trade’ tee sold, $5 goes to Fair Trade Resource Network and Fair Trade Boston to help them continue to promote Fair Trade and grow the movement!

And an additional fun fact: the design on our ‘Fair Trade’ tee came from a t-shirt design contest we held last year! High schooler Cathi Schwemin from Hanover, Massachusetts produced this design after learning about the common exploitation of workers and discovering Fair Trade.

**In celebration of World Fair Trade Day, we’re excited to share that our ‘Fair Trade’ tee is 50% off! It’s on sale at www.autonomieproject.com. Know that with this tee, you’re not just looking good, but you’re also supporting so a very important movement of ethical, safe, and fair treatment.

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Next week marks the beginning of World Fair Trade Day! It’s a day to celebrate and bring awareness to the issues of labor rights and Fair Trade. Only a few days after International Worker’s Rights Day, World Fair Trade Day is just as important when it comes to labor issues. It is a day to draw attention to a different way to do commerce, a responsible way.  Although there are many ways to support Fair Trade in your daily life, but to celebrate the movement in one day across the world is pretty exciting!

What’s more exciting is we are participating in Fair Trade Boston’s World Fair Trade Day Scavenger Hunt! We have teamed up with Fair Trade Boston and Cambridge’s Sudo Shoes to participate in this awesome fair trade party. The Scavenger Hunt will take place all over the cities of Boston, Cambridge and Brookline on Saturday May 12th from noon to 3pm.  People wanting to participate are encouraged to RSVP and download the free SCVNR app.

All day on Saturday, participants will be visiting many locations including Ten Thousand Villages, Ben & Jerry’s, and Sudo Shoes. The best part is you can win a Fair Trade prize at every location you visit! The more locations you visit, the more likely you will win one of the Grand Prizes from awesome Fair Trade companies including yours truly (Autonomie Project), Ten Thousand Villages, Equal Exchange, Haley House, Ben &
Jerry’s, and City Feed and Supply.

But the fun doesn’t end there! After the Scavenger Hunt ends, everyone is invited to a Fair Trade Ice Cream Social! All are asked to meet at the Equal Exchange Cafe to have delicious Fair Trade ice cream floats from Ben & Jerry’s, Maine Root, and Equal Exchange.

We are super excited to be participating in such a unique and fun event for Boston area residents! If you are in the area, please join us for the Fair Trade Scavenger Hunt on May 12th and win some awesome Fair Trade goodies. Why not go?

It is now officially September and it is back to the books! By now most universities are back in session or are beginning next week.  As you start your Fall Semester, you may be looking for a way to get involved in your school. Did you know there is a Fair Trade University movement? We knew about Fair Trade Towns (both Boston and San Francisco are one), but Fair Trade Universities are a super exciting new way to spread Fair Trade.

The first Fair Trade University in the US was the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh in 2008. Since then, many campuses are working to make their University a Fair Trade haven. What does it take to become a Fair Trade University? A committee must formed, the school must be selling Fair Trade products, Fair Trade products must be served at internal functions, a Fair Trade Policy must be instated, and a commitment to Fair Trade education. Easy enough, right?

If your University doesn’t have an active committee yet, start one! Fair Trade Towns & Universities site have a lot of great info to helo you get started, including a Student Action Guide and Intro Guide.  Also, if you are near Philadelphia, this year is the very first Fair Trade Towns & Universities National Conference next weekend.  Start this semester off right and get your Fair Trade education on! Good luck.

This Saturday, May 14th is World Fair Trade Day!! What does that mean, you ask? Well, the Second Sunday in May, that doesn’t fall on Mother’s Day is used to celebrate and raise awareness for Fair Trade.  Every year there is an overall theme, this year’s being “TRADE FOR PEOPLE – Fair Trade your world.”  This theme largely rests on the idea that there is a human factor to producing goods and the best way to support ethical working conditions is to be a consumer of fair trade goods.  There a number of great ways to celebrate World Fair Trade Day as well as all year long.

We at Autonomie Project hosted a World Fair Trade Day Tee Design Contest, where we asked artists to submit their best t-shirt design that portrays fair trade. We had a wonderful response and have come up with Top Three Finalists. We are asking everyone to go and vote for their favorite design. The one with the most votes by midnight on May 13th will be declared the winner on World Fair Trade Day and have their tee made by us! 25% of the profits of the shirt will be donated to Fair Trade Resource Network and Fair Trade Boston. Check it out today and go vote!

But if you didn’t get a chance to be a part of our contest, check out these other ways to celebrate fair trade! Happy World Fair Trade Day!

Best Ways to Celebrate World Fair Trade Day 

1) Events: All around the world, local communities will be putting on fun events this weekend ranging from Fair Trade breakfasts to wine tastings and even trunk shows.  Some great events include the Fair Trade USA’s Wake up the World Brunch in San Francisco, Boulder, CO will be putting on a Fair Trade Crawl, and Los Angeles will be hosting a Fair Trade Bazaar. Autonomie will be celebrating World Fair Trade Day in style at two bike rides 3,000 miles apart. We will be handing out free fair trade goodies along the stops for both Boston’s Fair Trade Bike Ride and Berkeley’s Tour de Fair.   For events in your neck of the woods, check out this handy World Fair Trade Day Events Search.

2) Host a Breakfast: Fair Trade USA is promoting the idea of supporting fair trade and starting with breakfast. If you can’t make it or afford to attend their brunch, why not host your own? You can put together a fair trade breakfast using only fair trade ingredients for your family, friends, co-workers, or even classmates. This is a great way to challenge your cooking skills, eat delicious foods, and educated those you love. Almost every ingredient for breakfast can be found fair trade including coffee and tea. For ideas and recipes check out Fair Trade USA’s Wake Up the World website.

3) Toast to Fair Trade:  Since it is a Saturday, why not toast your glass to the efforts of fair trade with some fair trade liquor! Luckily there is now fair trade wine and vodka on the market. There are a few bars out there that serve these ethical indulgences, but if you can’t find a place near you, stay in! Get a group of friends together, fill your glasses with fair trade spirits and toast to World Fair Trade Day! We have a great fair trade and organic cocktail recipe backlog.

4) Get Artsy: If you have little one’s in your life, use this as a teaching moment. You can ask them to sit down and create a drawing that best describes fair trade to them. Here’s your chance to explain what fair trade is and why it is

important to celebrate it. You can then help them create some adorable art while learning a life lesson!

3) Purchase Fair Trade: In honor of World Fair Trade Day, why not keep it simple? The best way to celebrate fair trade is to support it! There are now hundreds of fair trade products including clothing, sugar, coffee, flowers, and even vodka. You can show your solidarity with the workers of the world by making sure every purchase you make this Saturday is in fact fair trade.

Yes, it is official! We can finally say it!! BOSTON IS AN OFFICIAL FAIR TRADE CITY! The Autonomie Project team has been committee members and incredibly active in the Fair Trade Boston organization since its inception a few years ago. You may all remember our excitement and volunteer work surrounding the Kick Off Event last year and the signing of the Fair Trade Resolution back in May, but now we have completed the ultimate goal of declaring the city of Boston a Fair Trade City. Not only are we the first major city in New England to declare, but also the first major city on the East Coast! This is an exciting, innovative, and historical announcement for our fair* city. *Pun fully intended.

Now you may be wondering what exactly is a Fair Trade city?  Transfair has a wonderful campaign entitled Fair Trade Towns, encouraging towns and cities to officially declare themselves Fair Trade friendly. To do so, towns must meet 5 basic criteria: local council must pass a resolution supporting fair trade and committing to serve fair trade products, a range and specific amount of fair trade products must be sold within the town (pubs, cafes, clothing stores etc), a percentage of  workplaces and community organizations (churches, hospitals, universities etc) must serve fair trade products, an active coalition must meet regularly, and garnish media coverage.  Boston is proud to say, me have met and surpassed all 5 requirements!

To celebrate our historical declaration, Fair Trade Boston, along with Autonomie Project, Ben & Jerry’s, Equal Exchange, and many others are hosting a Fair Trade Block Party on September 10th at the Prudential Center Plaza! Live music, fair trade giveaways, and free sampling are just a taste of what our celebration will offer. So please come to our free celebration and party for your city! Boston, it is a time to celebrate and be merry.

We are ecstatic to announce and it almost seems surreal, but we are proud of our little city and hope it springs inspiration around the country.  Find out if your community already has a Fair Trade Towns campaign or start one on your own! Congratulations, Boston!!!

-Team AP

It is rare that a day unites activists, environmentalists, consumers, farmers, and workers all over the globe. However, a day such as this will commence this Saturday, May 8th. World Fair Trade Day is celebrated every year on the second Saturday in May and always carries a theme. This year’s theme is titled A BIG DAY FOR THE PLANET, in hopes of melding the ideas of Fair Trade with sustainability. The founders hope this day will draw attention to Fair Trade and hopefully people will begin to ask questions about who makes their products, where they are made, and how they are made.  Fair Trade is a viable ethical alternative to conventional products that might not pass the ethics test of the previous questions.

World Fair Trade Day events are occurring all over the world and we are really excited about this year! This year we have conquered a milestone in Boston. Our Fair Trade Boston coalition, of which Autonomie Project serves on the committee, is very close to declaring Boston an official Fair Trade City! Yesterday, May 5th, Boston City Council passed an official Fair Trade Resolution!!! This is groundbreaking and historical for our little city on a hill and we are not only excited and inspired, but proud to be directly involved in the efforts. However, we still have a little more work to do, as we need only 40 more institutions providing Fair Trade products to meet the Fair Trade Towns criteria. We are on a race to beat New York, and hope to accomplish it! If you your church, organization, school, or hospital has Fair Trade products, please contact us directly or Fair Trade Boston!

On top of this wonderful achievement with the Boston City Council, here in Boston we have a pretty exciting event planned. Fair Trade Boston is hosting a Fair Trade Crawl! Businesses all over Boston are holding separate events including some with live music, henna tattoos, Fair Trade giveaways, and scavenger hunts. There is a Fair Trade Crawl card highlighting all the participating businesses and each business you visit, you get a punch on your card. If you get four or more punches you receive a gift of discounts and are automatically entered into a raffle where you have the chance to win amazing prizes donated by Equal Exchange, Ben & Jerry’s, and of course AP!

To no one’s surprise Autonomie Project is participating in the crawl. We have partnered with Ben & Jerry’s on 174 Newbury Street. There will be live music, Fair Trade ice cream samples, and if you buy a pair of our NEW Fair Trade Flip Flops you will receive a free Fair Trade ice cream cone! We are really excited, so if you are in the Boston area, please stop by from 10-3.

So what if you are not in Boston? Don’t worry there are plenty of local events happening all over the country and world. You can find an event in your neck of the woods on the World Fair Trade Day site. Whether you are in Boston or not, we hope that you are able to participate in the 2010 World Fair Trade Day! It is important to bring awareness to the standards and ideas of Fair Trade as well show the world the demand for such products! As consumers we have the power to make sure our choices are better for the people and for the world. Together, we can do it!

AP PhotosThe snow has melted and you’ve finished your Springcleaning! You can now reward yourself with something new! We certainly have. We are proud to announce that our most popular styles, the Black and White Low-tops and Highs-tops are now offered in Wide sizes! Now everyone can enjoy our classic styles, even if they need a little extra room.

Speaking of new additions, our classic Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly and Vegan Flip Flops are making a triumphant return, now of better quality and a better price! The FSC-certified all natural and sustainably harvested rubber Flip Flops are now available in two exciting colors: Light Blue with green sole and deep Ocean Blue. You can literally putspring in your step and gear up for an ethical and Eco-friendly summer.

To celebrate the return of our Flip Flops and World Fair Trade Day, we are participating in the Fair Trade Bostonsponsored Fair Trade Crawl on May 8th. We have partnered with Ben & Jerry’s on Newbury Street to bring you “Kick Off Your Fair Trade Summer.” Our event is all day and will feature discounts on our Flip Flops, Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade ice cream flavors, live local music, and information on Fair Trade. If you’re not in Boston, be sure to check for World Fair Trade Day events in your local area.

Be sure you are keeping up to date with all things AP by following us on Twitter and Facebook! Also, please check out our friends at Consumers with a Conscious’ Giveaway. We and the CWAC blog will be giving away a couple of pairs of sneakers and our new flip flops! You will have more chances to win each time you sign up for ours and their Twitter and Facebook!!

Happy Spring,
Your Friendly AP Team

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