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.”
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.”
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”