The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent body which
awards the Fairtrade Mark to products which meet
international Fairtrade standards. This mark guarantees
farmers in developing countries a fair price for their
products. which covers their costs. We need this because
the practices of international trade are often biased in
favour of rich countries and powerful companies, often
to the cost of poor producers. By buying Fairtrade
products you are giving farmers a chance to sell their
products at a stable price that enables them to support
their families and invest in a better future.
The Fairtrade steering group in St. Neots was set up to encourage business, retail outlets and customers to be more aware of the growing Fairtrade movement. Each year during Fairtrade fortnight we have manned stalls outside the major supermarkets, giving out information about Fairtrade and giving free samples of tea, coffee and chocolate. We have spent time talking to local businesses to encourage them to embrace the Fairtrade idea. Gradually more and more outlets, including national companies and small family businesses have come on board.
In March 2006 we were delighted to be able to announce that St. Neots had been awarded Fairtrade status. To qualify, we had to prove that we had at least two restaurants, food outlets, schools, and one flagship employer selling or using at least two Fairtrade products. In Fairtrade fortnight that year we held an event to celebrate and to receive the award from a member of the Fairtrade Federation. This was held in the United Church in the High Street, with a coffee morning and a cake baking competition.
St Neots Fairtrade cake baking competition
Following the competition a cook book was produced
and sold, which included all the recipes of the cakes entered into the
competition. Balloons were given out on the day and a treasure hunt
organised to find all the Fairtrade friendly outlets in St. Neots. The
Town Crier made the announcement in traditional style and the St. Neots
Mayor - Pat Gregory was in attendance.
Since then we have held several Fairtrade stalls at the Farmer's markets and at the May day Fayre in Eaton Socon. We also provided Fairtrade mulled apple juice at the switching on of the Christmas lights in 2006. We now have to ascertain that the level of Fairtrade products in St. Neots is at least remaining stable in order to maintain our status as a Fairtrade Town. This year we are encouraging local schools to take part in a Banana Challenge to be held on March 6th. The aim is to get as many people as possible eating a banana on that day. Our future goal would be to have many more business, schools, shops and workplaces embracing the Fairtrade principles.
If you are interested in Fairtrade in St Neots then make contact with one of the committee