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Taking a break for fair trade

Often this means working with wholesalers who are Fair Trade Federation or International Fair Trade Association accredited. Consumers looking to buy fair trade should look for those groups' seals.

Ballston Spa resident Frank Conte was enjoying a cup of fair trade coffee just outside the door of Mango Tree Saturday afternoon.

He said he frequents the store often because of its unique items.

"I try to buy fair trade if I can," he said. "It usually costs more, but it's not difficult."

Indeed, the idea of fair trade is catching on. Though her store is the only area business shelving exclusively fair trade items that Anderson knows of, fair trade coffee can be found at many local coffee shops.

Though Mango Tree only logged 11 participants this year, plans are already in the works to make next year's local coffee break even better. Anderson expressed hopes that by that time Ballston Spa could be on its way to becoming a "Fair Trade Town." A Fair Trade Town hosts campaigns to increase awareness of fair trade products, and must have a certain number of stores carrying fair trade products. A resolution would also have to be passed by Ballston Spa's Town Council.

Though the push for Ballston to become a Fair Trade Town is in its earliest stages, Anderson has high hopes for the initiative. "I think it will take a little work, but it's all education," she said. If the program succeeds, Ballston Spa would be the first town in New York to become a Fair Trade Town.

Mango Tree Imports is also the home of Las Mariposas Language Center, which offers classes on nine languages at the adult and child level and also provides corporate language programs. It's all a part of raising awareness of the world around us, according to Anderson. "I think knowledge of culture and language is important in today's world," she said.""

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