Sara Anderson: Coordinator Extraordinaire at UU Church of Arlington

chocolate bars and cocoas set up on a sales table

Sara Anderson, a member of the UU Church of Arlington, VA shared the story of how her church community got involved with fair trade and how they use the profits from their Equal Exchange sales in a tremendously giving way. Sara is also an active member of Equal Exchange’s Citizen Consumer community.

The UUCAVA fair trade sale table

“In the early 1990’s two members of UUCAVA, Jane and Wayne McKeel began a group called “Globalization Watch” to inform congregants about the ways in which so-called ‘free trade’ was not good for anyone but the large corporations. One of our speakers was from a UU Church who sponsored an ‘accompanier’ for Mayans in Guatemala seeking redress for harm to tribal farmers by mining corporations. The UU Service Committee had a program which bought coffee, tea and chocolate from farmers’ cooperatives in Guatemala and elsewhere–the ‘coffee project.’ Our group decided to take action by supporting them, which meant buying from Equal Exchange, the partner of UUSC in this endeavor.

Since then, we’ve held monthly sales of EE products, at least until the covid-19 pandemic ended in-person church services. We’ve encouraged our customers to continue buying EE products individually through the coffee project so UUSC benefits.
We made a slight profit from these sales, which we directed the church to give to Alianzsas, a UUCAVA group that supports the accompanier program and also provides scholarships to Mayan students. Alianzsas members began to help out with our sales. We have encouraged donations to Alianzsas to make up for the loss of income during the pandemic.”

A huge thank you goes out to Sara and the longtime UUSC Fair Trade Project participants at UUCAVA who are living the UU values through their work promoting economic justice for small scale farmers and environmental sustainability through organic farming practices.

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