Oxford to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

The Oxford Times: Julie Osborne from Fairtrade at St Michael's with products for Fairtrade Fortnight       Picture: OX65493 Marc West Buy this photo » Julie Osborne from Fairtrade at St Michael's with products for Fairtrade Fortnight Picture: OX65493 Marc West

TEN years ago Oxford became a Fairtrade city and received a personal message from the late Nelson Mandela.

Over the next two weeks, known as Fairtrade Fortnight, a number of events will celebrate that status and what has been achieved over the decade.

Sebastian Blake, chairman of the Oxford Fairtrade Coalition, said: “This is a celebration of how far we have come in the last 10 years since Nelson Mandela’s message, and what we have planned for the future.”

The 27-year-old added: “We are trying to use this fortnight to engage more people with Oxford’s Fairtrade businesses, and also get other businesses to think about expanding their Fairtrade offerings.”

The Oxford Times:

When the city achieved its Fairtrade status Nelson Mandela, above, wrote a message for the city.

He said: “By supporting Fairtrade, Oxford is affirming once more its commitment to partnership and friendship with people in South Africa and around the world.

“In a world where much trade is not fair, such partnerships and friendships offer hope for the future.”

There are dozens of shops, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets across Oxford serving a range of Fairtrade products – exports from developing countries to developed countries, One of those is Fairtrade at St Michael’s on Cornmarket Street, the first shop in Oxford to offer a range of fairly traded goods from across the globe.

Founder and director Kate Goodacre, above, said: “We wanted people in Oxford to have access to Fairtrade items.

“Fairtrade Fortnight is a great way to show people what is always available here in the city. There’s a much wider range of items than just coffee and chocolate – we do crafts and clothes as well as tinned and dried foods.”

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Fairtrade shopping is growing in popularity as the nation becomes more ethical in their purchasing habits. Since Fairtrade at St Michaels opened in 2003, it has grown to having a turnover of £1.5 million.

Ms Goodacre said: “We just want to empower people to be able to make that choice for Fairtrade.”

Oxford Mayor Dee Sinclair has been a big supporter of Fairtrade businesses over the years. She said: “It’s exciting for our city to have this status renewed, and it’s really important to promote these businesses and ethical way of shopping. “ Another shop involved in Fairtrade Fortnight is the Windmill Shop in London Road.

Its director Elizabeth Whitwick said: “We’re a big part of the fortnight’s events - we’re going to be giving out samples of Fairtrade coffee at one, and the first 50 shoppers on the last Saturday will get a free Fairtrade breakfast.”

EVENTS DURING THE FORTNIGHT

  • TODAY until March 9: Fairtrade Trail at the Oxford University Botanical Gardens s Wednesday: Oxford Brookes University – “How can universities go beyond Fairtrade?”
  • Friday: Cowley Centre – Midcounties Co-operative Fairtrade Event
  • Friday: Headington Farmers’ Market – Fairtrade doughnuts and coffee
  • March 4: Kidlington – Midcounties Co-operative Fairtrade event with cooking demonstration March 5: Town Hall – Mad Hatter Tea Party
  • March 8: Headington (Windmill Fair Trade Shop, London Road) – “Breakfast in a Bag”

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