Fair Trade Schools

Fair Trade Schools across the nation promote social justice, environmental sustainability, and economic empowerment for Fair Trade producers, workers, artisans and their families. Achieving Fair Trade Status means educating and empowering students through Fair Trade curriculum and fundraising to be conscious consumers.

Ongoing Fair Trade education and promotion is a priority within our school community. Students are educated and empowered through fair trade curriculum to be conscious consumers. In addition, the school commits to using fair trade products on campus. (soccer balls, t-shirts, fund-raisers, coffee, tea & chocolate)

Visit our school site on Fair Trade Campaigns/Schools.


Fair Trade goods that are sold by the fifth grade class for sixth grade camp.


The fifth grade class sold cups of fair trade hot chocolate, coffee, tea and chocolate bars at the Holiday in the Village in La Mesa.  It was a fun experience for the students and over $600 was earned for their 6th grade Astro camp fund.


Fair Trade in Schools and Congregations

by Lee Van Ham

November 2018

This podcast features Lee’s conversation with Anne Pacheco and Diane Hartley on how they brought the Fair Trade Campaigns to their school and congregation—St Martin of Tours, La Mesa, California.

“For most of us the news about free trade agreements, tariffs and trade wars feel quite beyond our control. But in this podcast we talk about a different paradigm of trade, and it’s the kind of trade over which we have lots of control. We’re talking about the trade structures known as FAIR TRADE. And just how do we exercise our power regarding trade that is fair? In elementary schools, high schools, colleges and congregations. That’s what you’re about to hear about. Stay with us.” – Lee Van Ham



Fair Trade Committee 2018

Students interviewed fair trade vendors at the La Mesa Fair Trade Gift Fair in Oct. 2018.


Students sold fair trade baked goods.


World Fair Trade Day inspires local school to create a human chain to be “Agents for Change” for Farmers & Producers.

On May 20, 2018, over 250 students, faculty and staff showcased the 10 Principles of Fair Trade and recognized Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream for following the Fair Trade guidelines.

“St. Martin Academy is empowering their students to become mindful of what they buy in stores, catalogs & on the internet. They will be the “change” we need to seek a more just economy in this world. A big shout out to St. Martin Academy & Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s has made sure that every possible ingredient in their ice cream is Fair Trade certified. Thank you for supporting SMA, a Fair Trade School since 2015.” – Fair Trade San Diego County

SMA Receives Certificate from

Senator Joel Anderson

A representative from Senator Anderson’s office presented a Certificate of Recognition for our school at the Fair Trade Gift Faire held on 10/16. It was presented to our principal at the 5th grade table with students, parents and staff….and lots of shoppers looking on.

The certificate was presented on Monday to the student body during the morning assembly.



How You can Make a Difference Buying Fair Trade

Interviewed by Cherie Gough, a reporter from SD Family Magazine, Anne Pacheco of St. Martin Academy, explained why it is so important to educate students and faculty about fair trade and sourcing fair trade items in schools and at events.

Read article here!


Malia Designs Announces Fundraising Collaboration with St. Martin of Tours Academy

St. Martin of Tours is the First Fair Trade Elementary School in California


San Diego, CA, May 9, 2016 – Malia Designs, a socially responsible fair trade brand that designs and sells handbags and accessories handcrafted in Cambodia with every sale helping to fight human trafficking, announces successful fundraising collaboration with St. Martin of Tours Academy.

St. Martin’s chose Malia Designs as part of a larger initiative to promote fair trade within the St. Martin’s curriculum and to raise funds for students to attend sixth grade camp. St. Martin’s students sold a curated collection of Malia Designs fair trade handbags, wallets, messenger bags and other accessories as opposed to selling wrapping paper, magazines or other typical fundraiser-type products.

“We were so thrilled to partner with St. Martin of Tours and to work with the parents and children to provide both a quality handmade product for their fundraising efforts and to have them be directly involved in the product selection process and experience how purchasing fair trade positively impacts our Cambodian artisans and their families,” said Lucia Ruth, Brand Director of Malia Designs

The spring fundraising effort contributed almost $1,000 to St. Martin’s sixth grade camp fund and helped to further fair trade as a part of the school’s curriculum. In January St. Martin’s became the first elementary school in California to receive the fair trade designation.

“We are committed to purchasing and using fair trade products wherever possible.” Malia Designs was the perfect choice for our first fair trade handbags and accessory catalog fundraiser,” said Anne Pacheco, administrative assistant at St. Martin and advisor to the school’s fair-trade program.

If you are interested in partnering with Malia Designs for your fundraising efforts, please email @">@. If you would like to learn more about how to become a fair trade school or how to incorporate fair trade into your school’s curriculum, please visit www.fairtradecampaigns.org.


St. Martin of Tours Academy was featured on the cover of Momentum Magazine, a national publication Spring 2016.  We were chosen because we are the first Catholic Fair Trade Elementary School in the Nation and a Pilon® Workshop Way® School.

SMA Staff at the NCEA National Convention at the Catholic Relief Services booth.


stmartinacademyfairtrade sm

Fair Trade committee members and the fifth grade class celebrate SMA’s new designation as being the first Catholic Fair Trade Elementary School in the United States!

SMA Featured in The East County Californian

September 22, 2016


Somewhere in the world, a coffee farmer’s community is being benefited by the choice a La Mesa school made to serve his coffee and become Fair Trade certified. Even the coffee we drink can have an impact.

Many do not realize where products come from, but organizations that support Fair Trade in developing countries are trying to change that.

Essentially, Fair Trade is an initiative for producers of goods in developing countries to trade environmentally friendly products with the public at fair prices that provide living wages for them, lifting communities and individuals from economic hardship.

La Mesa’s Saint Martin of Tours Academy was officially declared the first Catholic Fair Trade school in December 2015. Its Fair Trade program has gotten stronger since. 

After starting with Fair Trade coffee in the lounge, today, even the benches in the playground at St. Martin are sourced ethically. Fair trade’s eco-friendly principals have also managed to imbue themselves into the school’s activities. St. martin has even recently planted a vegetable garden to provide food assistance.

According to Toni Dimuzio, the Academy’s principal, the most important thing for her is to teach students the value of Fair Trade by getting them to understand what goes on in parts of the developing world.

“There is a curriculum to it, and we want our children to know empathy, we want them to understand what is going on in other parts of the world to farmers and other producers of goods to help create a conscientiousness so that they become better consumers as they are growing and become adults,” she said.

Despite its relative youth, the program is changing mindsets already.

Administrative Assistant Anne Pacheco said the first requirement to become a Fair Trade School is to form a committee which, at St. Martin, is comprised of parents, staff and most notably, three students: 12 year old 7th grader Presley, 11 year old 6th grader Isabella and 10 year old 5th grader Zachary.

Zachary said that his school’s fair trade education changed the way he chose things in his everyday life, because one part of the curriculum is teaching the children to recognize fair trade symbols on products.

“Before we knew about it, we just bought the things we needed but now, we just look specifically for the fair trade version,” he said.

Pacheco said there are more places that are carrying fair trade now. “That’s encouraging for us,” she said.

Third grade teacher and Fair Trade Committee member Diane Hartley emphasized the importance of the Fair Trade curriculum to help open her students’ eyes to the world.

“It’s really hard for them to picture what life is like somewhere else,” she said. “So when we tell them stories of these people, that they work so hard and they barely make any money, because of this process, we can show them, this is how fair trade helps and hopefully, it opens their eyes,” she said.

A long time before the City of La Mesa became a Fair Trade town in 2012, St. Martin’s staff contemplated incorporating Fair Trade into the school.

Pacheco, who is also a Fair Trade Committee member, said they first heard about Fair Trade in San Diego back in 2005.

“We can make a difference by uplifting the farmers & artisans by supporting them with what they make or grow,” she said. “And a part of the money goes back to the communities and co-ops where they can decide democratically what to do with it.”

“There’s only three steps, that’s why anybody could do this: forming the committee, putting the curriculum in the classroom and switching out for Fair Trade products,” Pacheco said. “It’s a no brainer, everybody should be able to do this. There should be hundreds of schools, Catholic and non-Catholic.”

Besides the curriculum, another way Fair Trade is evident at St. Martin of Tours Academy is its Fair Trade fundraisers and gift fairs, where the community can shop for ethically sourced and eco-friendly products that range all the way from clothing and accessories to food and home décor.

Isabella said her favorite Fair Trade products are the soccer balls.

“I’m glad that they incorporate that with my favorite hobby, Fair Trade is going in with my favorite sport,” she said.

There is something for everyone.

“Those things are beautiful, they are different, and I know that the money I am giving is helping someone,” Hartley said.

“They make all this intricate stuff while I can’t even make a paper origami swan. “ Zachary said.

Presley agreed.

“Its amazing craftsmanship and how someone can make this by hand,” she said. “They use all the stuff around them to make beautiful art.”

The students in the committee said they planned to take what they learned about Fair Trade on to high school later.

Both Presley and Isabella said their experience in the committee is invaluable.

“Most high schools don’t have Fair Trade so I’m thinking of maybe starting my own Fair Trade committee at whatever high school I go to if they don’t have a Fair Trade program,” Isabella said.

“I guess I’ll take that (Fair Trade) with me everywhere I go,” Presley said. “I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place and I think fair trade is helping do that.”



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