The world's largest Fairtrade city marks 1,000 Fair Trade Towns internationally

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

London, June 4, 2011: London, the world's largest Fairtrade City, has been part of the international event to celebrate 1,000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide. At 1400 hours local time on Saturday, June 4, 2011, towns and cities across the world formally declared their Fair Trade status from East to Wets as the movement celebrates an incredible 1,000 Fair Trade Towns across the globe.

The Spanish capital Madrid joined the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's constituency Witney, and Kumamoto flew the flag as Japan's first Fair Trade Town.

This event celebrated the growing people's movement, now present in 21 countries across five continents campaigning for fair trade in the fields, on the high streets, in local schools, community groups and businesses.

To mark the 1000th Fair Trade Town, Faitrade London joined individuals, organizations and Fair Trade Towns everywhere on signing up to a statement calling onto the G20 leaders to 'Make Trade Fair'.

The statement calls for action to ensure “the current food system and agriculture trade flows contribute to, rather than hinder, sustainable agriculture and food security, in the South and in the North.” Fair Trade Towns around the world have been echoing this demand through local photo messages.

Fairtrade London carried out its photo message by its stall – C33 – at the London Green Fair at Regents Park, on Saturday June 4, 2011 at 2pm British Summer Time.

The statement, supporting messages and photographs will be presented on behalf of the 1,000 strong movement to Agricultural Ministers at the G20 meeting to be held in Paris on June 22 – 23, 2011.

Malcom Clark, campaign co-ordinator of Fairtrade London said: “Acting locally, to make change locally and globally; that's the power of the Fair Trade Towns movement.

“Consumer and community pressure can achieve great things; and has already; including here in London, where many shops, cafes, schools, faith and community groups and tourist attractions sell or serve Fairtrade products; and commitment has been secured that all tea, coffee, sugar and bananas served at the Olympic Games next year will be Faitrade.

“We now look to our MPs and MEPs to do their part, by ending trade-distorting subsidies and giving Southern farmers fair access to the opportunities that will enable them to trade their way to a better future for them and their communities.”

Sainsbury's has shown that Fairtrade can be sold on many lines without taking a knock down and all their bananas and all their own brand tea is Fairtrade and has been for a number of years already. It proves that it can be done.

When the Fairtrade Towns Movement and the Fairtrade in general talks about fair trade opportunities for farmers it seems to be always farmers in Southern fields – pardon the pun. Our farmers at home, also, need to have fair trade opportunities but many a supermarket does not handle it in that way.

Farmer's margins are squeezed in such a way that the only way that they can actually keep afloat is by way of the agricultural subsidies from the EU, etc. It should be possible, as it used to before the EU arrived with the cash, to make a decent enough living for a farming family, but it no longer is.

We, therefore, also need to make trade and conditions fair for farmers in our home countries and should support out local farmers so that they can sell their produce at a rate that benefits both him and us, the consumers.

© 2011