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Garstang Fairtrade Town

Garstang The World's First Fairtrade Town

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Walk the Fair Trade Way

Between Friday 24 and Wednesday 29 August 2012, four Garstang Oxfam Group members and original pioneers of The Fair Trade Way walked the route again to promote fair trade and raise money for Oxfam and The FIG Tree in Garstang. They were accompanied by dedicated Oxfam campaigner Push and took part in storytelling events along the way. For further information on the Fair Trade Way visit the dedicated websitehere.

Fairtrade with the Soroptimists.

Ruth Bruce, Chairwoman of Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group, is to address the 19th International Soroptimists’ Convention in Montreal next month. Last week she gave Garstang Soroptimists a preview of her talk.
The Convention will be treated to a comprehensive introduction to the Fairtrade movement, to its place alongside other Soroptimist issues such as climate change and people trafficking, and how Garstang has led the world in the successful growth of the Fairtrade Towns movement.
Showing the relevance of the saying about big trees growing from little acorns, she described how the movement has just welcomed its 1,000th member town, and outlined the positive reasons for involvement – a passionate belief in fairness throughout the world, a positive contribution to ending poverty, the fact that anybody can become meaningfully involved and, particularly relevant to Soroptimists, how Fairtrade offers a more stable financial future to the world’s women.
She said that, from this First Fairtrade Town, mutual respect between communities had grown alongside educational opportunities, better relations between consumers and producers, and much-improved understanding between different cultures.
The presentation was followed by lively discussion about issues raised, and should make a good model for Ruth Bruce’s address to the Montreal audience.

Garstang celebrates 500 Fairtrade Towns in the UK

As we approach 500 Fairtrade Towns in the UK plans are underway to celebrate with a 500 mile bike ride from Aberfeldy to Cardiff, the first Fairtrade capital city. The route will pass through other prominent Fairtrade Towns and as the world’s first Fairtrade Town Garstang has to be included.
Fairtrade Town campaigners will be setting off from Aberfeldy on Saturday 23rd October 2010 and arriving in Cardiff on Monday 1st November 2010 taking the following route:
Route Miles Acc. mileage
Saturday October 23rd, set off from Aberfeldy
(Joint 1st Fairtrade Town in Scotland) 0m 0m
Saturday October 23rd, arrive Strathaven
(Joint 1st Fairtrade Town in Scotland) 80m 80m
Sunday October 24th, arrive Dunscore
(1st Fairtrade Town in Dumfries and Galloway) 56m 136m
Monday October 25th, arrive Brampton
(Hadrian’s Wall, first Fairtrade Heritage Trail) 48m 184m
Tuesday October 26th, arrive Kendal
(1st Fairtrade Town in Cumbria) 47m 231m
Wednesday October 27th, arrive Garstang
(1st Fairtrade Town in the world) 32m 263m
Thursday October 28th, arrive Chester
(1st Fairtrade City) 57m 320m
Friday October 29th, arrive Bridgnorth
(1st Fairtrade Town in Shropshire) 56m 376m
Saturday October 30th, arrive Hay-on-Wye
(Home of the famous Book Festival) 52m 428m
Sunday October 31st, arrive Ammanford
(1st Fairtrade Town in Wales) 52m 480m
Monday 1st November, arrive Cardiff
(1st Fairtrade capital city) 55m 535m
It is still unknown which place will declare as the 500th Fairtrade Town in the UK, but it is hoped that they will connect directly with the celebrations in Cardiff via a video link. Garstang will be holding its own celebrations as the cyclist passes through on Wednesday 27th October.

Fairtrade Towns now exist in 19 countries worldwide and include such cities as London, Paris, Rome, Copenhagen and San Francisco. Following on from the 500th Fairtrade Town in the UK we soon hope to be celebrating the 1,000th Fairtrade Town worldwide, which is expected some time early in 2011.


Garstang celebrated 10th Anniversary

On Saturday 24th April the people of Garstang, Lancashire celebrated 10 years as the world’s first Fairtrade Town. This small market town with a population of just 5,000 has given rise to a grassroots movement made up of 480 Fairtrade Towns in the UK and a total of over 800 in 19 countries worldwide, including cities such as London, Paris, Rome Copenhagen and San Francisco. Over 100 guests attended what was a truly international celebration with over 50 congratulatory messages from the nearby Fairtrade city of Lancaster to the largest Fairtrade City of London; from Jersey to Japan looking East and Belgium to Brazil looking West.

Unfortunately the volcanic ash cloud filling the UK airspace left some British people stranded abroad and prevented most international well wishers from attending the event. But no volcano could dampen the gentle but determine spirit of Ms. Shoko Akashi who is leading the campaign to make Kumamoto the first Fair Trade Town; not only  in Japan, but the whole Asian continent. Shoko braved the airport chaos and arrived in Garstang the day before the event. She was to read out messages from the campaign group, Mayor and local authority of Kumamoto and then perform the traditional Japanese dance ‘Sakura Sakura’ about the springtime cherry blossom. But again disaster struck as all her luggage, including ceremonial Kimono was left behind in Helsinki. Nothing would stop Shoko however and by some small miracle a Japanese dance group staying in the same hotel was able to come to the rescue. With a new ‘cherry blossom’ Kimono the dance could go on. International links were also made via webcam with the good folk of Media, the first Fair Trade Town in the US and Garstang’s community link and Fairtrade cocoa farming village of New Koforidua in Ghana from where Nana Sarpong addressed the gathering.

Another highlight of the evening was the launch by Ian Agnew of the Lorna Young Foundation of the new directly-traded Mzuzu coffee from Malawi, that will first be sold in Garstang’s One World Shop the Mustard Seed. The Director of the Fairtrade Foundation Harriet Lamb CBE was full of praise for Garstang’s pioneers and delivered a highly motivational and inspiring speech. Former Chair of the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group Elaine Gisbourne said, “I was deeply moved by Harriet Lamb's address; it will stay with me for a very long time to come”. Following her speech Harriet Lamb cut the Fairtrade chocolate cake made by budding chef and 14 year old Fairtrade supporter Anna Crowther before giving a toast to Fairtrade Towns, using Co-op Fairtrade bubby of course.

Guests were also treated to a 15 minute PowerPoint showing the history of the Garstang Fairtrade Town campaign as well as many stalls and displays from local Fairtrade traders together with Ubuntu Fairtrade cola and the Cooperative Group.


Futher reportrs can be found on the following websites:
Fairtrade Foundation
Harriet Lamb's Blog
International Fairtrade Towns Website

Photos taken by Sara Cuff can be seen and bought here

Photos taken by John Sargent at the event can be found here.

Garstang celebrates 10th Anniversary

Come and join us on Saturday 24th April 2010, when Garstang will celebrate its 10th anniversary as the world’s first Fairtrade Town. Celebrations will include a buffet, live music from the ‘Mostly Hums’ and ‘Bang on – Clifton Drummers’ and video links with New Koforidua, Ghana and Media, USA. The Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, Harriet Lamb CBE will be the guest speaker.

Since Garstang was officially recognised as a Fairtrade Town by the Fairtrade Foundation in November 2001, more than 460 Fairtrade Towns in the UK have followed  in Garstang's footsteps and the idea has spread beyond the UK with over 750 Fair Trade Towns in 19 countries worldwide. As past Under Secreatry of State, George Foulkes MP declared during his visit to Garstang following their monumental declaration, "The beacon that has started in Garstang (surely has) spread like wildfire throughout the whole country and beyond". Don't miss out on celebrating thisextraordinary international celebration!

Details

Event: Garstang’s 10th anniversary as the world’s first Fairtrade Town

Time and date: 7.00pm on Saturday 24th April 2010

Venue: The Crofters Hotel, at Cabus near Garstang

Admission: £20 (including buffet) by ticket only.

Tickets available in Garstang from:

  1. The Mustard Seed, Park Hill Road
  2. Greenlivinggifts, Thomas's Wiend
  3. Garstang Courier office, Thomas's Wiend

Booking arrangements (UK only): Send the following details with payment* to M. R. Bruce, 31 Norton Rd, Cabus, Garstang, Preston, PR3 1JX.

Name
Address
Tel. No.
E mail (if applicable)
No. Tickets Required

*Due to banking arrangements only cheques or cash can be accepted.  Cheques to be made payable to ‘Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group’.  Tickets will only be dispatched after cheques have been cleared.

Cheques accepted until April 14th 2010. 
RSVP  April 17th 2010

Booking arrangements (Overseas only): For overseas visitors tickets can be collected and paid for on the door providing an advanced booking is made. To make an advanced booking please send the following details in an email to brucemr@btinternet.com

Name
Address                                     
No. Tickets Required

RSVP  April 17th 2010

Any queries to: brucemr@btinternet.com

We hope to see you there!

Download a PDF poster for the event here.

View the Facebook event here.

The Fairtrade Way is born

In October 2009 six intrepid pioneers blazed the 80 mile (a total of 196,000 footsteps) trail from Garstang to Keswick along the Fairtrade Way. Led by pathfinder and Garstang Oxfam Group Chair Graham Hulme, Bruce Crowther (Chair of the Garstang Fairtrade Group) Belinda Hulme, Carolyn Hall, Danny Callery and Irv Grimbaldeston walked for six days through North Lancashire and the Fairtrade County of Cumbria with stops in the Fairtrade Towns of Lancaster, Arnside, Kendal, Bowness and Grasmere.

The walk took in the beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park bursting with wildlife from circling buzzards and swooping kingfishers to leaping salmon at Force Falls Fish Pass on the River Kent near Levens Hall.  Many historical interest sites lie on the route including the Maritime museum and slave trade memorial at Lancaster Quay, Leighton Hall, Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve, Levens Hall, the Quaker Tapestry at Kendal Meeting House, the grave of slave Rasseals Bellfield at St. Martin’s Church in Bowness, Wordsworth’s homes at Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage and his grave in Grasmere.

Unfortunately Carolyn suffered a severe muscle injury on the third day which meant she was unable to complete the walk, but she stayed with the team to run a support van and provide the walkers with regular supplies of Fairtrade snacks, sweets and cups of tea. Although not written into the original plan this support proved to be an essential service that was hugely appreciated by the walkers.

The Fairtrade companies Tropical Wholefoods and Divine Chocolate kindly donated Fairtrade cereal bars, dried fruit, apricot kernels and chocolate to help energize the walkers. The mango tango and chocolate and banana Mule Bars supplied by Tropical Wholefoods were a particularly welcome energy boost on the 726m peak at Ullscarf. As well as the magnificent homemade savory and sweet flapjacks made by Jim Paris from Garstang Quaker Meeting. Lush also donated pots of Fair Trade foot lotion that provided welcome relief at the end of each long walking day (and sometimes in the middle!).

The walkers were most impressed by the abundance of cafes, restaurants and guesthouses supporting Fairtrade along the route and by the reception and departure committees from campaigners and council representatives in each of the Fairtrade Towns. Each day they were joined by other hikers who were keen to show their support for the walk and its ideals. A very special welcome awaited their arrival in Keswick where Fairtrade campaigner and Keswick Town Crier Bob Bryden ensured a warm reception on completing the walk, before joining the walkers for a congratulatory toast using Co-op Fairtrade rose sparkling wine in the Pedlar Café.

Throughout history the message of great campaigns has been brought to the attention of the masses by organised walks. From Mahatma Ghandi’s Salt March to the Jarrow March in the North East of England and more recently the farmers march in Nicaragua to protest about the disastrous fall in coffee prices. The time has now come for a Fairtrade walk involving the many Fairtrade Towns across the UK.

It is hoped and expected that the Fairtrade Way will help strengthen the Fairtrade Town campaigns in North Lancashire and Cumbria and that many other walkers will follow the route. Fairtrade ramblers are encouraged to develop their own Fairtrade Ways in other parts of the country. The World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall that stretches from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to South Shields in the North East is working to become the first cross-country Fairtrade zone in the world. This famous walkway already includes the Fairtrade Towns of Carlisle, Brampton, Hexham and Newcastle with Haltwhistle well on the way and would extend the ‘Fairtrade Way’  to the East coast should their campaign be successful. Who knows perhaps Fairtrade supporters in Newcastle and Gateshead may wish to resurrect the Jarrow march in support of Fairtrade farmers wanting a fair days pay for a fair days work. Then the ‘Fairtrade Way’ will run from Garstang, the world’s first Fairtrade Town to London, the world’s largest Fairtrade City.

More detailed information, photographs and the route for Fairtrade Way will soon be available via a link from this website and work will now continue to get the Fairtrade Way officially recognized as a public walkway.

We are very grateful to the Fairtrade companies Tropical Wholefoods and Divine Chocolate for their kind donation of Fairtrade snacks and to Lush for their donation of Fair Trade foot lotion.

Walking the Fairtrade Way

Four members from the Garstang Fairtrade Town Group and the Garstang Oxfam Group, will walk 80 miles from Garstang to Keswick, along what they hope will be named the ‘Fairtrade Way’. They will set out at 7am from the old Garstang Council Offices on Sunday 25th October and arrive in Keswick on the following Friday, with overnight stays in the Fairtrade Towns of Lancaster, Arnside, Kendal, Windermere and Grasmere in the Lakes Parish. Anyone is welcome to join them for any part of the walk.

The walkers will only stay in guesthouses, hotels and Youth Hostels that serve Fairtrade products to their residents and will only eat and drink in catering outlets that support Fairtrade, including such places as Arnside Chip Shop that uses Fairtrade sugar and lemons to the Jintana Thai restaurant in Windermere that serves Fairtrade wine. This should be an easy as well as pleasant task, as most of the walk passes through the Fairtrade County of Cumbria, where there are no less than 20 Fairtrade Towns and over 100 places of accommodation that support Fairtrade. The walkers will also enjoy the beauty of the Lake District National Park which is working towards becoming a Fairtrade Zone. They will keep up their energy levels along the way by eating Fairtrade cereal bars, dried fruit and Dubble bars, kindly donated by the Fairtrade companies Tropical Wholefoods and Divine Chocolate and their feet will be energised using Fair Trade foot lotion donated by Lush.

The walk has been organised by the Garstang Fairtrade Town Group, the Garstang Oxfam Group, the Keswick and District Fair Trade Campaign and the Cumbria Fair Trade Network in order to demonstrate the wide availability of Fairtrade goods, not only in the 440 UK Fairtrade Towns but anywhere in the country. The walkers also hope to encourage more Ramblers to fill their flaks with Fairtrade tea, coffee or hot chocolate. The Ramblers Association has a membership of 135,000. Imagine the impact on Fairtrade sales if just half of those filled their flasks with Fairtrade tea, coffee or hot chocolate while on their regular walks?

Throughout history the message of great campaigns has been brought to the attention of the masses by organised walks such as this one. From Mahatma Ghandi’s Salt March to the Jarrow March in the North East of England and more recently the farmers march in Nicaragua to protest about the disastrous fall in coffee prices. The time has now come for a different Fairtrade march involving some of the many Fairtrade Towns in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Information and the route for the walk will soon be available via a link to this website and it is hoped that one day the walk will be officially recognised as the ‘Fairtrade Way’ and be included in a guide book. The walk will also pass by other related sites of interest to Fairtrade supporters, such as the slave trade memorial at Lancaster Quay and will go through ‘1652 country’, where Quakers were first established. Quakers strongly supported the slave trade abolition and likewise support the Fairtrade movement today.

We expect many other walkers will follow the ‘Fairtrade Way’ and that Fairtrade ramblers may develop their own ‘Fairtrade Ways’ in other parts of the country. The World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall that stretches from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to South Shields in the North East is working to become the first cross-country Fairtrade zone in the world. This famous walkway already includes the Fairtrade Towns of Carlisle, Brampton, Hexham and Newcastle with Haltwhistle well on the way and would extend the ‘Fairtrade Way’  to the East coast should their campaign be successful. Who knows perhaps Fairtrade supporters in Newcastle and Gateshead may wish to resurrect the Jarrow march in support of Fairtrade farmers wanting a fair days pay for a fair days work. Then the ‘Fairtrade Way’ will run from Garstang, the world’s first Fairtrade Town to London, the world’s largest Fairtrade City.


Departure times and meeting points

Date                           Departure         Arrival point & departure point for following day                Miles
(Oct. 2009)                    Time

DAY 1                            7.00am           Lancaster - Slave trade memorial at Lancaster Quay         15.5
Sunday 25th                                         (Set off from Garstang Council Offices)                           

DAY 2                            8.30am           Arnside - Jetty                                                                               14
Monday 26th

DAY 3                            8.30am           Kendal - Quaker Meeting House                                               12   
Tuesday 27th

DAY 4                            8.30am           Bowness - St. Martin's Church                                                  12
Wednesday 28th                                 (grave of slave Rasseals Bellfield)

DAY 5                            8.30am           Grasmere - Wordsworth's grave                                               12
Thursday 29th

DAY 6                            8.30am           Keswick - Lakeland Pedlar cafe                                               14.5
Friday 30th 

We are very grateful to the Fairtrade companies Tropical Wholefoods and Divine Chocolate for their kind donation of Fairtrade snacks and to Lush for their donation of Fair Trade foot lotion.


Fairtrade Big Brunch in Garstang a success despite inclement weather

Dark skies and the occasional shower did not deter the 70 brave souls that turned up for the Garstang Big Fairtrade Lunch with their Fairtrade and local produce hampers and they were rewarded with some sunshine later in the day. Despite the weather the event was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Garstang, Gordon and Lyn Harter were in attendance and joined with local Fairtrade supporters in making a toast to Garstang, New Koforidua and Media; the three points of our Fair Trade Triangle. Fairtrade sparkling wine was of course the drink of choice.
Other residents of the world's first Fairtrade Town tucked into their local Lancashire cheeses, local chutneys, sausages and beef burgers as well as the large array of Fairtrade products from  fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate and wine to a special Big Lunch cake made with Fairtrade sugar and other ingredients where possible.

While Garstang enjoyed their Big Lunch in the rain Stephanie Gaboriault from Media, the first Fair Trade Town in the USA woke up to a sunny day to enjoy her Fairtrade and local produce breakfast consisting of local yoghurt, Fairtrade sugar, Fairtrade vanilla and Fairtrade coffee. Later for lunch she had a pasta salad with local vegetables and banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies full of local and Fairtrade ingredients. She says "I enjoyed preparing the ingredient lists explaining the Fairtrade and local ingredients and wish everything were labelled that way."

The Big Lunch in New Koforidua took place right in the middle of the rainy season in Ghana when heavy down pours are frequent, but as in Garstang the weather could not keep people away from the celebrations. A total of 258 people, including children from the various Churches, Mosque and the traditionalists came together in the Presbyterian church to take part in the event. Moslems and Christians, the Queen Mother, other dignitaries and residents all dined together in unity in the knowledge that they were also joined by their Fairtrade friends in the UK and the USA.

For photos of the successful Fair Trade Triangular event go to the International Fairtrade Towns website and join up to the interactive social forum.

Fairtrade and Local Produce Big Brunch in Garstang

At 1pm on Sunday 19th July you are invited to Garstang's Millennium Green to take part in The Big Lunch, the new ambitious idea from the Eden Project. Our Fair Trade Triangular friends in New Koforidua, Ghana and Media, the first Fair Trade Town in the USA will join us for lunch and breakfast respectively as part of Garstang's Big Brunch.

At the Big Brunch the people of Garstang, together with their friends from New Koforidua and Media will join thousands of UK residents to take part in The Big Lunch. The local event will be called The Big Brunch (because our friends in Media will be sitting down to breakfast at our lunch time) and will take the form of a Fairtrade and Local Produce picnic in the new Family Picnic Area on the Millennium Green in Garstang. Residents and non residents alike will be invited to bring their picnic hampers filled with Fairtrade and local produce to the Millennium Green for this exciting, mass extravaganza.

All are welcome to attend but please remember that dogs are not permitted in the Family Picnic Area. Bring your picnic hampers made up of Fairtrade and local produce where possible and ensure that you take your litter home with you. To encourage the neighbourly spirit the Family Picnic area will be divided into three areas to represent North, South and Central Garstang and residents will be invited to sit with their neighbours in the designated area. None Garstang residents are welcome to join in and sit wherever they choose.

The Big Lunch aims to get as many of the 61 million people in Britain to sit down with their neighbours and share lunch on Sunday, July 19. But because of Garstang’s international status as the world’s first Fairtrade Town our friends from our linked town of New Koforidua in Ghana and from Media, the first Fair Trade Town in the USA will also sit down for lunch and breakfast respectively at exactly the same time.

Bruce Crowther, Chair of the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group said: "The Big Lunch is a great opportunity for friends and neighbours across the UK to come together, laugh, share food and get to know each other.  But as the world’s first Fairtrade Town Garstang is an international leader, so it is only appropriate that we should join with our Ghanaian and American Fairtrade friends in a meal made up of Fairtrade and Local Produce. We all have an interest in forming and sustaining strong communities throughout the world and as well as being good fun, The Big Lunch can help us build those communities”.

Fairtrade Triangle contributes to world record attempt

At the end of Fairtrade Fortnight 2009 a total of 2,281 people in Garstang, their twin town New Koforidua in Ghana and Media, the first Fair Trade Town in the USA took part in the Fairtrade Foundation 24 hour world record attempt to eat Fairtrade bananas from noon on Friday 6th to noon on Saturday 7th March. This is the first time that the three corners of what has been termed a modern day Fair Trade Triangle have come together to run a joint event. At present 25% of all bananas sold in the UK are Fairtrade bananas and the Fairtrade Foundation hope to make this 50% by 2012. This was one of many events held worldwide to help boost the sale of Fairtrade bananas and help to make this happen.

The event kicked off with 434 staff and students at nearby Myerscough College eating Fairtrade bananas at noon on the Friday. In the afternoon 529 children from all three of Garstang's Primary schools joined with 795 people in New Koforidua and 344 people in Media as part of the world record attempt. The Fairtrade bananas eaten in New Koforidua were very kindly donated by the Volta River Estates Limited (VREL) which is Africa's only Fairtrade banana plantation. The assembly hall at St. Thomas's Church of England Primary school in Garstang was filled with 212 staff and pupils who connected with 117 staff and pupils from the Providence Friends School in Media, Pennsylvania via a video link. At 2pm precisely a phone call was made to connect to the people in New Koforidua so the bananas could be eaten together. At the same time children from the Community Primary school and SS Mary and Michael's Primary school in Garstang and people from the Selene Whole Foods Co-op, Ten Thousand Villages, Earth and State and the Untours Foundation in Media also ate Fairtrade bananas.

The event attracted much media coverage locally, nationally and internationally.Tim Lake from NBC 10 News in the USA said "What do school students in two parts of the world, the internet and Fair Trade bananas all have in common? Well, a unique exercise in social action, that's what. NBC 10 at the Media Providence Friends School today where students ate bananas while watching their counterparts in the United Kingdom do the same by internet Skype camera. Their goal is to raise awareness about buying Fair Trade items like bananas that help underdeveloped nations compete economically."

Later that evening at the public launch of the Wyre Borough Fairtrade campaign in Poulton-le-Fylde 75 people ate bananas supplied by David and Christine of Riverford Stockley Farm and signed up to show their support to make Wyre Borough a Fairtrade Borough. Banana eating continued on Saturday morning when the Garstang Soroptimists enrolled 68 people at a stall outside the Co-op on Garstang High Street. The Garstang cycling club also took part when 12 members ate bananas before their Saturday morning ride. Finally an additional 24 people took part at the Garstang Town Council coffee morning at the United Reformed Church that was held just before the 24 hour world record period ended at noon on Saturday 7th March.

All in all a great success and again the people of Garstang, together with their Fairtrade friends in Ghana and the USA have been at the forefront to make it happen for Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.

Garstang goes bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight 2009

On Friday 6th March staff and students from all three of Garstang’s primary schools, Garstang High school and Myerscough College will eat Fairtrade bananas together as part of the 24 hour world record attempt organised by the Fairtrade Foundation to increase the sale of Fairtrade bananas in the UK and beyond.

They will be joined by the people of Garstang’s twin town and Fairtrade cocoa farming community of New Koforidua in Ghana and the Selene Whole Foods Co-op and the Providence Friends School in Media, Pennsylvania, the first Fair Trade Town in the USA. This will be the first time that the three points of the Fair Trade Triangle link between Garstang, New Koforidua and Media will take part in  a joint campaigning action. In total over 1,000 people are expected to be involved. The event will take place at the end of a busy Fairtrade Fortnight that this year runs from 23rd February to 8th March.
 
The afternoon event will be followed by a public launch of the Wyre Borough Fairtrade campaign to be held at the Methodist Church, Queensway, Poulton-le-Fylde from 7pm to 10pm. Bill Reed, representative of the Wyre Strategic Partnership, said "I have no doubt that supporters of Fairtrade are as numerous in Thornton, Poulton and Fleetwood as they are in Garstang, the world’s first Fairtrade Town. The evening will help us to show that - and give us the chance to go bananas in Wyre."

Bruce Crowther, Chair of the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group and national Fairtrade Towns Coordinator will speak at the launch and those attending will again be asked to eat Fairtrade bananas as part of the world record attempt. Fairtrade products will be available to sample and musical entertainment provided by Fairtrade supporters. All are welcome to attend. 

Banana eating will continue into Saturday morning when the Garstang Soroptimists will be selling Fairtrade bananas to anyone wishing to take part at a stall outside the Co-op on Garstang High Street between 9.30am and 10.30am. Garstang residents and visitors will be joined by members of the local cycling club before setting off on their morning activities.

Bruce Crowther as high expectations for the event when he said "Presently 25% of all bananas sold in the UK carry the FAIRTRADE Mark and we want to see this rise to 50% by 2011. This is a difficult task but I am sure that Garstang aided by Fairtrade supporters on the Wyre can again be at the forefront to make it happen."

Other events taking place in and around Garstang during Fairtrade Fortnight include:

Monday 23rd and Thursday 26th February – Myerscough College
students are doing a Fairtrade promotion / tasting. Myerscough College are also running a series of events to raise cultural awareness during Fairtrade Fortnight.

Tuesday 24th February 2pm - 4pm - An Introduction to Fairtrade at Wesley’s Coffee Lounge for Tea and Chat.

Thursday 5th March, Lancs Federation of WIs Coffee Morning - Bruce Crowther will speak at the event and give a guided tour of Garstang in the afternoon. WI members only.

Thursday 5th March 7.30pm, 'Handbag and Fairtrade Chocolate' Evening at Wesley’s Coffee Lounge. A promotion of fair trade handbags and chocolate with fair trade tea, coffee and biscuits.

Saturday 7th March 10.30am – 12 noon - Garstang Town Council are hosting a Fairtrade Coffee morning at the United Reformed Church Hall.

Throughout Fairtrade Fortnight the Crofters Hotel and Pipers Restaurant in Garstang will be offering a special Fairtrade menu. Fairtrade beverages are served at these establishments all year round.

2008 Garstang survey reveals positive results

Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group members recently completed a survey in Garstang town centre. The purpose of the survey was to assess recognition and understanding in the town for Fairtrade, the link with New Koforidua in Ghana and the causes of global poverty. Respondents were almost all Garstang and district residents; a small number of non-residents were questioned but in insufficient numbers to provide meaningful data.

The work was carried out free of charge by Group members and thus no cost was borne by the community. For people not trained in the art, surveying can be a somewhat arduous, not to say stressful, pastime. Bearing this in mind, I would particularly like to mention the Stakhanovite efforts of Mr. Pip Riley, who stayed off his bike long enough to complete more than half the interviews carried out. I would also like to thank the general public (or ‘victims’ as some wags would have it), the vast majority of whom took part with patience and enthusiasm.

The survey was last carried out in 2001. Several of the questions were identical to those used in 2001, offering an opportunity to make direct comparisons of responses. This year, we added questions relating to the Garstang – New Koforidua Link which did not exist in 2001, plus questions about wider aspects of poverty.

Click here to view the full results together with a comparison with the 2001 survey results.

The principle points to note are that recognition of the Fairtrade mark has increased from 71% of those questioned in 2001 to 92.5%, and that 95% of residents now know that Garstang is the World’s first Fairtrade Town (knowledge of the town’s status was in fact already good in 2001 at 91%, only a year after it had been acquired). There appears to be clearer understanding that the Mark guarantees a better deal for Third World producers, with 88% of respondents indicating this answer compared to 63% in 2001, and a correspondingly smaller spread of other interpretations of the mark such as Oxfam, Traidcraft or indeed Office of Fair Trading.  The number of people who positively choose to buy goods with the Fairtrade mark has improved slightly from 65% to 69%, which maybe a small increase but from a very high initial level. By 2001, the Fairtrade campaign (as opposed to Fairtrade Town activities) had already been going on for over nine years.

With over two-thirds of the Garstang population choosing to buy Fairtrade products some would say we are reaching the saturation point beyond which factors such as price or other preference criteria prevent further gains. But it is testament to the longevity of the campaign and its impact that we are still achieving a strong level of uptake and indeed while there is still so much poverty in the world and outlets not selling or people not buying Fairtrade products  in Garstang the campaign must go on.

Personally, as someone who has always seen the Fairtrade campaign in the wider context of global trade justice, including trade both locally and internationally, it is a little disappointing that the number of people positively choosing to buy locally-produced products has fallen slightly from 88% to 86.5%. However, given the sample size, it may be that a statistician would say the difference is not statistically significant. In any case, almost 9 out of 10 Garstang residents do opt for local produce, and it would be nice to think that this is the level we should be heading for with Fairtrade goods. It bears repeating that the factors which make life difficult for Third World producers are identical in every respect with those hampering farmers in this county.

I will consider the last two questions before returning to the questions about the Link. People were asked which of a list of factors they felt were most significant in causing global poverty. Unsurprisingly, corrupt governance (48.5%) and overpopulation (24%) were clear winners. Unfair trade was cited by 7.5% of respondents. I would like to bet that very few of those we questioned were farmers. The last question asked if people felt Western governments were doing enough to address global poverty. Over 80% responded negatively.

Finally, to the questions about the Garstang – New Koforidua Link. These showed poor recall of the name of our Twin Town at 18.5% (to be fair, the spelling and pronunciation is not straightforward); faintly better recall of the country in which it is to be found (Ghana) at 26%; slightly better memory of the product grown in NK (cocoa beans) at 46%. Come on, you Geography students, you need to sit your Mums and Dads down in front o’tinternet and straighten these details out! Despite this vagueness there is an undeniably encouraging feeling that the Link benefits Garstang (at 66.5% of residents’ responses).

To put this another way, two-thirds of Garstang and district residents feel that a twinning with a small town with a funny name in Africa producing a popular luxury foodstuff, a twinning which has cost the public purse nothing at all, is of benefit to our community.  To my mind, this is a stunning endorsement – Barack Obama only got 52% of the public vote!

Alex Briault, Vice-Chair, Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group

Garstang greets Ghana guest

Samuel Ofori, a teacher from DA JSS School in Garstang’s twin town and Fairtrade cocoa farming community of New Koforidua in Ghana will visit Garstang for two weeks from 4th – 19th November.  This will form the second leg of the 2008 Exchange following a visit by seven people to New Koforidua in June.  Samuel’s visit was also originally planned for June but his visa application was not successful.  Garstang And New Koforidua Linking Association (GANKLA) members appreciate the tremendous support from Lancaster and Wyre MP Ben Wallace, Garstang Travel, the UK One W

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