Fairtrade Foundation blog ; “Stourbridge celebrates
becoming a Fairtrade Town”
11 Mar 2011 6:59
By Hannah Reed, Campaign Manager, Fairtrade Foundation
A cold and windy
night in the West Midlands and I arrived at St Thomas’s Church to find
the entrance, courtyard, walls and trees smothered with meter upon meter of
Fairtrade cotton bunting, all hand-designed by people across Stourbridge.
A truly magical sight and just a taster of what was inside!
Hundreds of people
were gathered to celebrate Stourbridge joining the grassroots movement in
the UK of over 500 Fairtrade Towns.
From the local
primary school, to the Deputy Mayor of Dudley Council, local Councillors,
local shop managers, former and current MPs, supporters, shoppers, church
representatives and college students – all sectors of the community
were out in force to celebrate their collective achievement.
The hall was quite literally covered in beautiful Fairtrade cotton bunting,
each triangle representing one statement of support for Fairtrade and trade
justice for cotton farmers. And that’s the beauty of Fairtrade. It would
be hard to imagine another issue or occasion that would bring together quite
so many people from different walks of life, or an issue on which quite so
many people could agree and, more importantly act.
After the Deputy Mayor cut the ribbon to declare Stourbridge Fairtrade Town
officially open, Julie Bate, who works at the local Sainsbury’s, spoke
powerfully about her recent trip to visit ground-nut farmers in Malawi.
Julie visited new nut processing facilities, made possible through a unique
partnership, involving Comic Relief, the Sainsbury’s Fair Development
Fund and Liberation (a dedicated 100% Fairtrade nut company) and spoke of
the pride and hope of the farmers she met and their ambitions to become even
stronger through working together. She was visibly moved while describing
the poverty she saw in Malawi and the overwhelming dignity, kindness and humor
of the people she met and their hope for the future.
By bringing people together, Fairtrade proves that the way it’s
always been, is not the way it needs to be. There is an alternative. So
let’s raise a glass to Stourbridge Fairtrade Town and the farmers
of Malawi and join them in reshaping trade so it works for all of us.
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