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Organizations and individuals around the world will support Fair Trade by taking part in this year’s World Fair Trade Day on May 13th.

The Fair Trade movement continues to grow rapidly, attracting more and more supporters who bring innovation and energy to the cause. As proud supporters of World Fair Trade Day, Café Campesino and our fellow Cooperative Coffees members are deeply committed to making Fair Trade work for more small producers. Our experience has taught us that the development of Fair Trade depends upon the creative thinking and problem solving as well as the concerted, coordinated efforts of consumers and Fair Trade businesses alike.

As World Fair Trade Day 2006 approaches, we encourage you to support Fair Trade and our friends at the Fair Trade Resource Network and take advantage of the great information and ideas offered in the their World Fair Trade Day Resource Kit.

One of the resources FTRN offers is the newly published fourth edition of The Conscious Consumer: Promoting Economic Justice Through Fair Trade. Commonly viewed as the authoritative source for basic, comprehensive Fair Trade information, the book is full of producer stories and photos, history, facts and figures, challenges and goals and is expanded from the past editions.

“The Fair Trade movement has grown exponentially in the last five years,” says author Rose Benz Ericson. “To reflect important developments in many areas, it was necessary to significantly expand this primer.” Those developments include the ever-increasing number of Fair Trade products now available, the evolution of certification processes, the explosion of distribution through mainstream outlets, increasing media and consumer awareness, and the burgeoning role of students and faith-based groups.

Since its first edition in 1999, The Conscious Consumer has proved a valuable resource for Fair Trade allies, individual consumers, the media, students and educators, advocacy and faith groups, and development workers. Fair Trade organizations — which are challenged to present succinct, reliable and easy-to-grasp information that clarifies Fair Trade’s key principles to an increasingly diverse audience — find this publication an ideal supplement to their own marketing materials.

While The Conscious Consumer is intended to introduce readers to Fair Trade concepts, it provides more than a superficial overview. “Because so many Fair Trade consumers are highly educated, inquisitive people eager for in-depth insights, I wanted to highlight some of the tougher issues currently facing Fair Trade leaders,” Ericson says.

“As in any industry marked by rapid growth, friction often emerges, as key stakeholders debate the merits of differing philosophies and strategies,” she says. “In Fair Trade then, where leaders tend to be passionate and highly invested, it is no surprise that consensus can sometimes be elusive. At the same time, it’s crucial to remember that Fair Traders are united in the ultimate goal of benefiting low-income producers. By touching on some of the difficult questions, I hope The Conscious Consumer will illuminate and help shape the larger conversation about the future of Fair Trade.”

Visit www.fairtraderesource.org to buy your copy of The Conscious Consumer and explore how you can take action on behalf of the Fair Trade movement on World Fair Trade Day.

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