Celebrations will be taking place across the borough this Fairtrade Fortnight (21 February – 6 March) as 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of Chester becoming the UK’s First Fairtrade City, as part of the Fairtrade Foundations Communities scheme.
The borough’s Fairtrade Steering Group, which currently includes campaigners and supporters from Neston, Ellesmere Port and Chester, first secured Fairtrade status for Chester city in 2002 and for the borough in 2011. The achievement, spearheaded by Cheshire Development Education Centre, and supported by the Council and many individuals, community groups, churches, schools, and businesses, has seen the promotion of Fairtrade across the area over the last 20 years.
Graham Proctor, who was the Lord Mayor of Chester at the time, said, “It was a great honour, as Lord Mayor, to sign the documents making Chester the first Fair Trade City in the UK.”
John Tacon, Acting Chair of the Fairtrade Steering Group, said, “We’re proud that the Fairtrade Steering Group has successfully renewed Fairtrade status for the borough over the last 11 years and are celebrating Chester’s 20th anniversary of becoming a Fairtrade City. We’ve welcomed no less than eight Fairtrade producers and farmers to Chester, and some have made visits across the borough, inspiring so many by sharing their stories about how Fairtrade really does make a difference.”
Fairtrade is a system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, this means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers, it means high quality, ethically produced products.
This year, the focus of Fairtrade Fortnight is climate change, and the growing problems this poses to farmers and workers within the Fairtrade community. The two-week period will highlight how climate change is a huge challenge for farmers and workers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, who face such issues as droughts, crop disease, floods and heatwaves, yet these are the countries who have contributed least to the causes of climate change.
Councillor Paul Donovan, Cabinet Member for Workforce, Equality and Democracy, said, “Tackling the Climate Emergency is high on the Council’s agenda. By choosing to buy ethical food and drink, we can all help to effect change globally, helping farmers and producers around the world on the frontline of the climate crisis. With better incomes and financial support, producers will be able to build greater climate resilience, changing their farming methods to ensure a low-carbon economy.”
The support for Fairtrade in Chester has continued since the outset, with Chester’s Fairtrade shop, Chester Fairtrading at Wesley Church Centre, recently celebrating 22 years of trading in Chester.
The following activities will be taking place across the borough during Fairtrade Fortnight.
- 25 February – Neston Fairtrade Town Steering Group is hosting a Fairtrade stall at Neston Market
- 26 February – Fairtrade coffee morning at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Whitby Road, Ellesmere Port, 10am – 12noon
- 28 February – Cheshire West Fairtrade steering group is hosting a Fairtrade breakfast at Chester Cathedral
- 1 March – Fairtrade talk focusing on chocolate at the Tuesday Club, The Centurion Pub, Vicars Cross
- 4 March – Members of the Cheshire West Fairtrade steering group join the Lord Mayor for afternoon tea
- 4 March – Traidcraft Big Brew at Neston Methodist Church and Community Centre Welcome Café, 9.30am – 12.30pm
- Oldfield Primary School, Vicars cross and Kingsley St John’s CE Primary School, Frodsham will host a Fairtrade stall
- Chester Fairtrade shop, based in Wesley Church Centre, Chester, will be offering 10 per cent off everything during Fairtrade Fortnight
To find out more about how to take part in Fairtrade Fortnight in 2022, including online events, visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight