During Fairtrade Fortnight, the Ealing Fairtrade Group held a double celebration – 10 years as a group and 5 years as a Fairtrade London borough. Fairtrade supporters from across London joined the Mayor of Ealing and local councillors, campaigners, trade unionists and students to celebrate the achievements of the volunteer group.
Guest speaker, Frank Olok, of the Malawi Fairtrade Network described how Fairtrade has transformed the lives of smallholder farmers in Malawi. As well as guaranteeing a fair and stable price for their products, Frank explained that the farmers also receive an additional sum of money, the Fairtrade Premium. This has enabled them to improve their communities by, for example, constructing school buildings and bringing clean, piped water to their villages.
Frank said that an important aspect of Fairtrade is that it brings producer and consumer closer together, and suggested to the Mayor that a link be made between Ealing and Blantyre in Malawi, so that the two communities could establish an ongoing relationship based on Fairtrade.
The evening began with music from student flautist Sarah Peter Sorencen, and ended with folk music from local band Oddfellas. Messages of congratulations and support were sent from some of the hundreds of other Fairtrade towns, cities, boroughs and villages from around the country. Haworth in Yorkshire said “Be proud that you are part of this massive social movement changing the way the world values products and producers”.
The group now needs to renew its Fairtrade Status by agreeing a plan of activities for the next two years. Anyone wishing to contribute can find out more at www.ealingfairtrade.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.