With the coronavirus pandemic still having a huge impact on our lives, a very different Fairtrade Fortnight is on the menu this year.
East Dunbartonshire Fairtrade Steering Group is encouraging everyone to continue to play their part in keeping COVID-19 at bay, while supporting efforts to ensure farmers overseas receive fairer prices and the resources needed to tackle climate change.
This year Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 22 February to 7 March and, while no physical events can take place, you can get involved by visiting www.fairtrade.org.uk/get-involved/current-campaigns/fairtrade-fortnight
You can also order Fair Trade goods, crafts, books and more from the Gavin's Mill online shop - https://www.gavinsmill.org/shop-2/
Liz Ibbotson, of East Dunbartonshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said, "In East Dunbartonshire the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on our Fair Trade activities over the past year. There have been no Fair Trade events, no church stalls since March 2020 and no school fairs in the summer or at Christmas.
"Our main Fair Trade outlet – Gavin’s Mill - has suffered two lengthy periods of closure, although people can still order from our online shop (order by noon on Tuesdays for collection or delivery on Thursdays).
"It feels very strange that we are unable to mark Fairtrade Fortnight in the way we would like, but we know the generosity of people in East Dunbartonshire will mean they continue to purchase Fair Trade produce where and when then can."
Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 aims to highlight the growing climate change challenges faced by supported farmers in developing countries. Crops and livestock are affected by late rains, floods, unusual droughts, damaging winds and unprecedented high temperatures.
The global pandemic also means that farmers have to deal with more uncertainty than ever before.
The Council works closely with East Dunbartonshire Fairtrade Steering Group, as well as Fairtrade Town groups in Lenzie, Bearsden and Milngavie, Gavin's Mill shop/café in Milngavie, Silver Birch in Milton of Campsie, church groups and more.
Councillor Andrew Polson, Leader of the Council, said, "The Council is committed to the ethos and values of Fair Trade, and we will continue to work with local people, organisations, schools, nurseries and traders on this important issue. The focus at the moment - rightly - is on helping communities through the pandemic, but it is important that we continue to consider Fair Trade where possible."
Councillor Vaughan Moody, Leader of the Council, added, "It will be a very different Fairtrade Fortnight this year, but I hope people can still show their support by finding out more about this very important cause and buying Fair Trade produce where possible. It all helps to ensure that farmers in developing countries receive an income which allows them a decent standard of living."
East Dunbartonshire has held Fairtrade Zone status continually since 2007.
- Gavin’s Mill online shop - https://www.gavinsmill.org/shop-2/ - is open from Friday at 9am until noon on Tuesday each week. All orders placed by then will be available to collect from 11am on Thursdays. A delivery service is also offered for G61 and G62 residents.
- The Fairtrade guaranteed minimum price means better financial security for farmers so they can plan in advance to meet new challenges. Farmers can use the Fairtrade premium to buy equipment such as solar panels to slow the pace of climate change or they may use it to provide training and technical support to farmers to help them cut emissions.
- Buying Fairtrade allows farmers to reduce and mitigate climate change effects and helps safeguard our food supplies.
- Nilufar Verjee, Director of Public Engagement at the Fairtrade Foundation, said, "Farmers and workers in agricultural communities in the global south have contributed the least to climate crisis – yet they are among the world’s most vulnerable and are already feeling the worst effects - from unpredictable weather to natural disasters and disease. But without stable incomes, these farmers lack the ability to fight climate change impacts and continue to struggle to meet their immediate needs."