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Ballston Spa embraces global movement

Those looking to buy fair trade products can look for the emblems of the Fair Trade Federation or the International Fair Trade Association. The ubiquitous free trade items are coffees and teas, but anything from food items to crafts can be fairly traded.

In addition to Mango Tree, Fifty South, Wild Thyme Whole Food and Tea, Coffee Planet and Strolling Village Artisans offer fair trade products. The Christ Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches also serve them.

Stores wishing to join the movement wouldn't be required to change their items significantly.

"They just have to offer something that's fairly traded," explained Andersen. "A huge part of fair trade is just an awareness campaign that extreme poverty exists globally."

One local businessman is applauding the steps made to earn the designation.

"I think it's great," said Cliff Baum, owner of Coffee Planet and president of the Ballston Spa Business and Professionals Association, which will be looking into serving fair trade items at its meetings. "It shows that the town looks at the quality-of-life issues around the world."

Andersen said that she hopes a ribbon-cutting ceremony can be scheduled for sometime in April to ring in the village's progressive status.

More information about the initiative and a list of fair trade towns can be found at www.fairtradetownsusa.org. ""

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