Be Part of the 1,000th Fair Trade Town Celebration!

Courtney Lang April 7, 2011

What will happen?

At 2pm on Saturday, June 4, 2011 Fair Trade Towns will declare sequentially from East to West across time zones to celebrate 1,000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide. If you are a Fair Trade Town or are likely to declare status between now and then you can be a part of this thrilling, milestone celebration event.

The following places are just some of the towns and cities that may declare as part of the joint 1,000th declarations, can you join them?

Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Kumamoto, Japan; Herne, Germany; New Koforidua, Ghana; Madrid, Spain

To accompany the declarations the policy statement below will be presented on behalf of the international Fair Trade Towns movement at the G20 Agricultural Ministerial meeting in Paris to be held June 22-23:

The world is facing a food crisis. Demand for food outstripping supply – global food production will have to rise 70 percent by 2050 as the world population expands to 9.1 billion from about 6.8 billion in 2010, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The threats of climate change, food speculation and rising inequality are all amplifying the impact of this on the poor.

According to a United Nations (UN) study, half the people in the world suffering from hunger in 2005 were smallholder farmers. They are often net buyers of food and so are the first to suffer from high food prices, but are rarely able to capture the benefits when selling their products. They are at the wrong end of both chains.

The race to the bottom triggered by the current food system has also had negative effects on producers and workers who are fighting to make a decent living and implement sustainable economic, environmental and social practices.

Large producer countries, such as the European Union and the United States, heavily subsidize their own agricultural sector while putting in place barriers for imported agricultural products. This has a negative effect on the possibility for producers disadvantaged by conventional trade (both in the North and South) to trade their way out of poverty.

The rising awareness of the food crisis means that agriculture is back on the agenda for the global community.

As the agricultural ministers of the G20 meet in France, proposals on global food security and commodities will be at the center of the debate and we need to keep a clear focus on the need to reform the whole food system. There is a battle on to ensure that the response to the food crisis is based on fairness and justice and not just on producing more and cheaper food.

In addition, the ever increasing pressure to conclude the World Trade Organization´s Doha Development Round, in a way that truly benefits the poor, and the European Union’s plans to revise its post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy, provide a window of opportunity to address these problems.

There is no divide between Southern and Northern farmers. The real issue at stake is whether and how G-20 leaders will ensure that current food systems and agricultural trade flows contribute to, rather than hinder, sustainable agriculture and food security, in the South and in the North. The right to food of the world´s population is at stake.

With the recent declaration of New Koforidua (Ghana), there are today 1,000 towns across the globe that have obtained the status of Fair Trade Town, showing their commitment to Fair Trade and benefiting directly more than 6 million people in 58 countries.

Fair Trade Towns bring local government, businesses, community organizations and individuals together under the shared vision of fairer, more sustainable trade

By buying Fair Trade Certified products and products from Fair Trade Organizations, consumers are also showing that there is another way of doing trade.

On June 22-23, 2011, the agricultural ministers of the G-20 countries will meet in France to try to find a global solution to these global challenges.

G-20 leaders should not turn a deaf ear to this loud and clear message from the 1,000 Fair Trade Towns and the Fair Trade movement.

Make Trade Fair

The campaign to celebrate 1,000 Fair Trade Towns will be launched on World Fair Trade Day (May 14) when the policy statement will be displayed on the International Fair Trade Towns website.

What can you do?

Your Fair Trade Town will be invited to sign up to the policy statement and add your own short message. At 2pm local time on June 4, Fair Trade Town groups will be able to upload a photograph onto the website showing the final sentence, ‘Make Trade Fair’ written or drawn in any imaginative way you choose. These photographs will again appear sequentially on the website as declarations are made across time zones from East to West. The policy statement, accompanying messages and photographs, will be presented at the G20 Agricultural Ministerial meeting in Paris on June 22 -23.

If you are already a Fair Trade Town:

  • NOW – With your group, start preparing how you will write the ‘Make Trade Fair’ message and photograph it.
  • May 14th (World Fair Trade Day) – Sign up your Fair Trade Town to the policy statement on the International Fair Trade Towns website and add your message.
  • May 27th – Write your own Press Release using the template provided by your national Fair Trade Towns coordinator
  • June 3rd – Send out your Press Release to local media
  • 2pm local time on June 4th – Upload your photograph onto the International Fair Trade Towns website (instructions will be sent from your national Fair Trade Towns coordinator) and Celebrate!

If you are not yet a Fair Trade Town but are soon to declare:

  • NOW – Alert your national coordinator and then follow the instructions above.

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Courtney Lang, National Organizer | Fair Trade Campaigns

Courtney Lang brings over 5 years of community organizing to Fair Trade Towns USA, building both the Local Food and Fair Trade networks in Vermont. As Local Food Coordinator with City Market/Onion River Cooperative, Courtney worked with local producers, institutions and consumers to grow the local food system and organize a strategic model for community engagement through farm tours, workshops, and local food challenges. Like many in the Fair Trade industry, Courtney was inspired to take action in Fair Trade when she witnessed child-labor first hand in Costa Rica. As a founding member of Fair Trade Burlington, she has worked with economic development organizations, businesses, and consumers to build awareness of Fair Trade among Vermonters. She also worked with a Fair Trade USA licensee, Vermont Coffee Company, as Friend Ambassador where she united the story of Fair Trade to every purchase of coffee.