Monday, 26 April 2010
If you haven’t ever visited Garstang, in Lancashire, I would put it on your to do list now. The countryside is beautiful, the town interesting, the people friendly and the Garstang Blue cheese is worth a visit alone. But for Fairtrade fans, Garstang is a legend and yesterday I joined them to celebrate ten years since they declared themselves the World’s First Fairtrade Town – a momentus milestone in the Fairtrade movement.
Today that movement spans the globe. There are now an astonishing 802 Fairtrade Towns across 19 countries and it's growing by the day. Arriving with me is Ms. Shoko Akashi who is leading the campaign to make Kumamoto the first Fairtrade Town in Japan (and indeed Asia) and later in the evening we link up live with Media, the first Fairtrade town in the USA and with New Koforidua in Ghana. But first Bruce Crowther, the passionate man behind the movement, takes us on a guided tour of his home town. One thing is for sure: you cannot miss Fairtrade in Garstang.
Strung across the High Street, a banner declares its Fairtrade credentials; there are road signs and history boards and Ghanaian flags flutter outside the town council offices. LBT Motors is the place to get your car fixed – and they have a sign letting you know that they drink Fairtrade tea and coffee. Pipers Restaurant will serve you Fairtrade wine with your gourmet meal. Across the road at the pub, they’ve got Fairtrade coffee too, or you can pop round to the Coffee Pot, picking up all the Divine chocolate money can buy at Market Place News on the way.
We drop into the Co-op and have a chat with Betty, the hard-working store manager who has put her weight behind Fairtrade from day one. There’s certainly an impressive display of Fairtrade goods in store: ‘It’s popular’ she says. ‘Otherwise we couldn’t stock it’. And there’s no doubt that throughout the country, the Co-op have been staunch supporters of the Fairtrade Towns movement.
Certainly Saturday night was a time to celebrate with some Co-op Fairtrade bubbly and with messages of support from nearby Lancaster to London, Jersey to Japan in the East and Belgium to Brazil in the West, not to mention our own Prime Minister who salutes Bruce as one of his Everyday Heros. Bruce always said that what they had done in Garstang only mattered if the idea could spread. And spread it has. Like wildfire across the country. And now the world. And everything is still to play for.
And all this started by one man who is still a working vet, operating on cats in the day while fielding calls from Ghana to Germany out of hours. Really it shouldn’t happen to a Fairtrade Vet.
Thinking of animals: On 18th April, a horse called Fair Trade won its maiden race at Newbury, ridden by Jimmy Fortune. Now three years old, from the stallion Trade Fair, the horse has a bright future. I don’t want to encourage gambling, but I know for one that I am going to be backing the winning horse, called Fair Trade.
Find out more about Fairtrade Garstang and Fairtrade Towns
The Fairtrade Garstang cake was baked by budding 14 year old chef Anna Crowther.
All photographs © John Sargent of the Haworth Fairtrade Town campaign.
Posted by Fairtrade Foundation at 11:48