Started in 1970 with students and teachers concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor, Friends develops partnerships to dig at the root causes of poverty. We started a local recycling/reuse program that encouraged the City to begin curb-side recycling; we helped start a local organic food co-op and organic deli and supported a program that recycles medical and hygiene supplies providing them to clinics in areas of crisis in Central America and the Middle East. Our graphics co-op started with a grant to offer job training to unemployed and disabled adults while providing printing and digital services to nonprofits in a sustainable way.
Our primary business Cooperative Trading and retail gift store Third World Fair Trade Shoppe grew from an effort to market handmade crafts made by landmine and war victims of the wars in SE Asia. Our work supporting cooperatives in Central America market coffees and other foods as well as organic cotton clothes which helped grow the Fair Trade Movement and led to the start of the Fair Trade Federation. We currently have partnerships with 80 producer groups in areas of economic, ecological and violence disasters to help market using Fair Trade and Green business practices.