The Garstang story
From Small Beginnings
With just three members at the outset, a group of Oxfam volunteers came together in 1992 and campaigned in support of Fair Trade.
With the FAIRTRADE Mark about to be introduced, the Garstang Oxfam Group carried out a survey in which 82% of people said they would buy products that were identified as giving a better deal to producers in developing countries.
But what would they actually do?
Throughout the 1990’s the Oxfam group organised several events and challenges to encourage people to try Fair Trade products to persuade local shops and restaurants to sell Fair Trade products, and urge local businesses and organisations to use them.
Despite initial scepticism and inertia a few shops and businesses came on board.
Then in Garstang they had an idea…
The idea of a Fair Trade Town
If the local authority, community organisations, businesses and members of the public collectively used Fair Trade products where possible, wouldn’t that make Garstang a Fair Trade Town?
Following a meal held during Fairtrade Fortnight 2000 in which many businesses, shops and cafes along with all the schools and faith groups signed up to support Fair Trade, the idea was debated at the town’s Annual Public Meeting.
At the same time, the Garstang Oxfam Group developed ties with New Koforidua in Ghana, leading to cultural exchanges and a lasting relationship between the two communities.
Success – The first Fair Trade Town
At the Public Meeting on 27 April 2000, the people of Garstang voted to declare their community the world’s first Fair Trade Town. The local Council soon followed by signing a Resolution agreeing to use Fair Trade products where possible.
This was later approved by the Fairtrade Foundation and in November 2001 Garstang’s status received official recognition. Garstang had become the World’s First Fair Trade Town.
But it would not be the last…
“The beacon that has started in Garstang can spread like wildfire through the whole country”George Foulkes – past Under Secretary of State, June 2000