History of the FIG Tree


Where it all began

The FIG Tree is the world’s first international Fair Trade Visitor Centre. Originally opened in 2011 in Garstang (the world’s first Fair Trade Town) but then relocating to Lancaster. The people of Garstang voted for their unique status at a public meeting in April 2000 and since then over 1,700 Fair Trade Towns in more than 25 countries worldwide, including London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Vancouver and Wellington in New Zealand have all followed in Garstang’s footsteps.

Sadly The FIG Tree closed in Garstang in November 2014, but reopened in St. John’s Church, Lancaster. St. John’s Church was built in 1754 by Lancaster traders at the height of the British Transatlantic slave trade, at the time Lancaster was Britain’s fourth largest slave trade port.

After having to relocate from Garstang in 2015, The FIG Tree moved to St. John’s Church in historic Lancaster but following severe flood damage in December the same year was again forced to move.

The FIG Tree can now be found in The Priory at the top of Castle Hill in Lancaster. The FIG Tree @ The Priory cafe and chocolate shop is now open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.30am – 3.30pm.

Continuing the success built up in Garstang, The FIG Tree provides

–   A Fair Trade Exhibition focusing on fair trade and trade injustice by exploring the four themes:

  • Fair Trade and Fair Trade Towns
  • The British Transatlantic Slave Trade and its abolition
  • Quaker Heritage in ‘1652 country’
  • Chocolate – everybody’s favourite Fair Trade treat

– A cafe and a shop selling local and Fair Trade products

– Unique Bean To Bar chocolate made from beans sourced in New Koforidua, Ghana the first Fair Trade Town in Africa.

– An Educational Programme including our innovative and unique interactive chocolate making events using cocoa from New Koforidua and live video links.

– “On The Fair Trade Way” – a long distance Fair Trade Heritage Walk

The FIG Tree also offers:

– Events including Corporate Fair Trade Chocolate workshops and Fair Trade chocolate safaris
– Package Tours to Garstang
– Advice, support and information on the International Fair Trade Towns movement
– A variety of volunteering opportunities and the chance to become a Friend of The FIG Tree
– We are always keen to adapt our events to meet your requirements so please contact us to find out what we can do for you.

Join the FIG Tree as a volunteer or become a Friend of The FIG Tree