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Take the next step on the Fair Trade Way

Posted by Nicola Sansom Activism and Community Campiagner

24th May 2012

When you join any campaign, you take the first step along a journey. The more people we can reach out to and connect with along the way, the faster we will reach our destination together.

You are invited to come and be a part of this incredible Fair Trade Way.

Beginning in Garstang

This week I got to meet with two incredibly inspirational people who have been tirelessly championing a fairer way to trade food since the 1980s. They aren't you're traditional heroes dressed in masks and capes, or on a football field; but hearing their stories just shows the power of people with a passion for justice who decide they must take action no matter what.

Bruce Crowther is a founding member of the Garstang Oxfam group. We met in a room that is very close to his heart. It's the room where in April 2000, the people of Garstang came together after years of local campaigning to show them the justice of using fairly traded products, to pass a people's resolution to become the world's first Fairtrade Town. This was later ratified by the Town Council.

The idea of a Fairtrade Town is to give the local community the option to buy products that are making sure producers are getting a fair deal and to show their collective support.

Since 2000, when Garstang became the first Fairtrade town, a people's movement has begun. There are now 1126 Fairtrade towns and cities in 23 countries worldwide. And the story doesn't end there...

Pushpanath Krishnamurthy is a dedicated campaigner for Climate justice after seeing the affects of the changing climate on farmers across the world first hand in his work. In 2009 he walked from the UK to the climate summit in Copenhagen (550km over 23 days).

According to Push, 'Walking with a purpose has a profound meaning across time and culture. Walking has been used as a social, spiritual and political action, from pilgrimages to hunger marches. We can walk almost anywhere, we don't need to be told how to do it, you can be unfit or energetic, and it's free. We can walk for our own well-being, and we can walk for change'.

Last year Push walked from from Baba Budangir in Chikamagalur district of India (the birth place of coffee in the Western Ghats) to Mysore in Karnataka. He walked 540km and connected with over 30,000 people on the way; the majority of which were small-scale farmers.

Joining the Fair Trade Way

In 2009 members of the Garstang Oxfam group came together again to design a walk that would help to highlight and connect the growing movement of people committed to trade justice. They named it the Fair Trade Way and six of them set off to trial it. The idea is taking off and new Fair Trade ways are being developed in Yorkshire and Wales and … who knows where next?
Getting people like Bruce and Push together is like igniting a box of fireworks - you are not quite sure what's going to happen next but you know it's going to make a lot of light and noise!

From 24-29 August 2012 the group have decided the time has come to walk the Fair Trade Way from Garstang to Keswick again, and would like to invite you to join them.

Why walk?

Bruce said, "I believe the world is getting more compassionate and that there is growing a passion to see an end to poverty."

This walk is a walk to connect; with local communities of people and with our history of overcoming the slave trade and committing to fairer trade. 

This walk is a walk to share; the stories of people both locally and across the world who are already taking practical action so their hard work is no longer hidden.

This walk is a walk to continue a journey; because we've already come so far but still have a long distance to travel.

Get involved

Thank you for joining us on this journey, there are many different ways for you to take your next step.

Come and walk the Fair Trade way or offer your support for one of the stages of the journey. Contact Bruce:

Or find a different way to support food justice that fires you up. 

  • Groups like Foodcycle who are using waste food to create nutritious meals. 
  • Designers who are creating simple energy efficient solutions like cooking bags from old mattresses to reduce stove use. 
  • Communities eating more vegetarian meals which needs less land to produce than meat and dairy.  
  • Campaigners who are speaking out for small scale farmers all over the world and showing world leaders that we need to invest in them.

Mahatma Gandhi said 'It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Blog post written by Nicola Sansom

Activism and Community Campiagner

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