Fair Fair encourages local, green projects

Kelsey Ruane

A combination of non-profit organizations and student groups gathered for the second annual Fair Fair in Connelly Center on March 18 to raise awareness of local, sustainable projects that utilize land and labor in a respectful way.

“This year, we had less of a response from retailers, and a greater interest from other kinds of businesses and organizations,” junior Emily Fero, the coordinator of the event, wrote in an e-mail. “This shifted our focus from not only emphasizing buying products that are fairly made with regard to the earth and our fellow humans, but to saying that we have a responsibility to care for our neighbors and ourselves.”

Greener Partners, which looks for under-utilized land and forms partnerships with the owners to develop it into a source of community-supported, sustainable agriculture, was one such organization at the fair this year.

“It’s like a co-op,” said Julie Frieswyk, director of wellness initiatives at Greener Partners. “It’s great for the community, and great for health.”

Representatives from Grid Magazine, a publication based in Philadelphia focused on sustainable activities in the area, handed out 500 copies at the fair.

The Center for Peace and Justice Education student groups, including Villanovans Against the Death Penalty, Just Food, Villanovans for Life, Villanovans Face AIDS, Progressive Student Network, Bread for the World and CRS Ambassadors, made up a significant part of the fair.

“Much of what we do in Peace and Justice is to criticize the way in which injustices happen,” said Carol Anthony, associate director for the Center for Peace and Justice Education. “The Fair Fair was much more positive.”

“Change happens slowly, and we want to keep these ideas in front of people so that it might spark their interest and get them thinking about the effects that they have as a consumer, as well as provide resources for them to learn more,” Fero wrote.

The fair took place the same day that Judy Wicks, founder of White Dog Café, received the Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award.

“It was in the spirit of her work,” said senior Madeline Chera, who initiated the first Fair Fair in December of 2007.