Fair Trade is an international movement that seeks to establish principles of ethics and justice in the commercial relations developed by farmers with the actors in the markets to which their products are destined. While international Fair Trade rules and compliance verification mechanisms have been established, there is a great diversity of local ways of seeking a fair relationship for both producers and consumers. Therefore, Fair Trade today has multiple forms, and it has set a diversity of goals to achieve. It can be seen as a way to rely on the economy in order to achieve both social and environmental goals. In a context of tremendous global challenges such as rural marginalization, migration, climate change or loss of biodiversity, the goals and mechanisms of Fair Trade constitute a laboratory to practice and scale the principles of a better world.
Fair Trade International Symposium has been held 6 times since 2002. Along its history, it has become the preeminent academic conference and international meeting for scholars, practitioners and policymakers working in the area of Fair Trade. The symposium has become a unique platform for academics and practitioners to exchange ideas, build and consolidate networks, develop projects and identify new areas of research (FTIS 2018).
The VII Fair Trade International Symposium will take place in Chiapas, southern Mexico, in June 2020. For the first time, this meeting will take place in a country where fair trade actors are mainly small farmers. Chiapas is certainly one of the best places to hold a symposium with and for fair trade farmers, as it is the heart of Mexico and Central America coffee production, as well for honey production from Yucatán to Nicaragua and Argentina. At a wider scale, challenges faced by Mexican farmers are shared in most Latin American countries, and in many ways, close to situations in Africa and Asia.
In this context, the aim is to build a special meeting bringing together a diversity of actors, academic and small farmers. This means that in addition to the usual academic talks, the symposium will host dynamic and creative sessions for exchanging knowledge through a “campesino a campesino” (farmer-to-farmer) method.
Along with the main event, the Fair Trade Products Fair will include interactive workshops with schools, the general public, as well as stands to learn more about products and cultivated species, for example native bees and coffee varieties.