World?s First Fair Trade Town

Garstang, a small town in Lancashire, England, carries the
distinction of being the first officially designated fair trade
town in the world. In fact, it came up with the idea and declared
itself as such three years ago. Following its lead, the Fairtrade
Foundation launched a Goals and Action guide for other cities,
towns, and businesses that want to follow suit.

Writing in The Guardian, John Vidal notes that ?90 of
the town?s 100 businesses, both its schools, its local council, its
chamber of commerce, its churches, garages, and hairdressers all
sell or actively promote food that pays a fair price to small
farmers in developing countries.? Garstang is so committed to the
idea and practice of fair trade that it has paired itself with a
?twin? cocoa producing community in Ghana in order to learn more
about their challenges, and plans are in the works for a resident
exchange program between the two communities.

The Fair Trade Organization believes that ?everyone has the
right to a decent existence, irrespective of the color of their
skin, their origins, and the country in which they live.? Fair
trade food includes produce, coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, and
other products grown and produced in developing nations. The fair
trade mark is a symbol that farmers were given a fair price for
their products. Without fair trade, millions of farmers are forced
to trade at a loss. ?People are suffering to provide us with cheap
luxuries like tea, chocolate, and fruit,? says Bruce Crowther, a
leader in Garstang?s fair trade movement. ?When we look back on
slavery we can see it was deeply immoral. It?s just the same
today.?

?Can fairly traded foods ever go mainstream?? Vidal asks. ?Those
who think they can point to the fact that organic food also rumbled
along the bottom of retailers? priorities for years before taking
off exponentially.? Other cities are beginning to follow Garstang?s
lead and, perhaps in the near future, awareness and demand for fair
trade products will cause a burgeoning market.
?Anne Geske

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Fair Trade Town

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