The commitment of people in Orkney to fair trade has been highlighted by local MSP Liam McArthur during a debate in parliament today.
The debate was held to mark Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 which is running from 29th of February to the 13th of March.
Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual promotional campaign, organised and funded by the Fairtrade Foundation to increase awareness of Fairtrade products.
This year Fairtrade Fortnight has centered its theme around “stand up for farmers by sitting down for a Fairtrade breakfast” which focuses on the fact that millions of farmers in developing countries who produce everyday foods for UK consumers themselves suffer long periods of hunger.
Speaking during the debate, McArthur drew MSPs’ attention to the wide range of initiatives across Orkney. He said:
“The Fair Trade movement has been growing from strength to strength. The evidence for that is nowhere more apparent than in Orkney, where it is a genuinely community effort.
“Schools in Orkney are at the forefront of raising awareness and promoting the benefits of fair trade. This is being recognised not just locally but nationally. Westray Junior High, for example, deserves congratulations on achieving the Margaret Demidecka award, the UK award for best Fairtrade School initiative.
“Westray and Papa Westray, who both have fair trade island status, are home to even more fair trade initiatives. Ann Rendall has made Westray Chutney Orkney’s first fair trade food producer. Already she has secured fairtrade accreditation for most of the company’s range of products.”
Mr McArthur also praised Northlink Ferries staff for their commitment to the campaign. They will be hosting a Ferry to a Fair Trade Future on 10th March, while no doubt wearing their Koolskools Fairtrade cotton shirts.
Koolskools were also instrumental in bringing Pamela L'Intelligent, a cotton producer from Mauritius, to Orkney last week as part of Fairtrade Fortnight. She met with pupils at KGS, Glaitness and Papdale last Friday (February 29th) to talk about the way in which fair trade has changed her life.
Notes to editors:
Last month, Mr McArthur backed the 'Show Your Hand: Make Trade Fair' campaign being led in Orkney by pupils at Kirkwall Grammer School, which he highlighted in the debate. - http://www.liammcarthur.org.uk/mcarthur_backs_kgs_fair_trade_campaign
Please see attached a photo of Mr McArthur at KGS. From left to right: Liam McArthur MSP, KGS pupil Angus McDonald, (back) KGS RMPS Teacher Theo Ogbhemhe and Lord Malcolm Bruce.
Please see the motion text below:
S4M-15422 Fiona McLeod: Fairtrade Fortnight 2016—That the Parliament notes that Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 will have the theme, Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers!; understands that it will run from 29 February to 13 March and will be celebrated across Scotland, including in the Fairtrade-status local authority of East Dunbartonshire and its Fairtrade towns such as Lenzie, Bearsden and Milngavie; believes that the fortnight will bring together shops, cafés and delicatessens in these communities with farmers and producers in similar-sized towns across the world who are being paid a fair price for their foodstuffs thanks to the work of the activists from the Fairtrade network; supports the continuing status of Scotland as a Fairtrade nation and the underpinning and celebration of the country’s achievements; believes that these inspire innovative and groundbreaking new ways to make trade fairer for farmers, and notes the view that public bodies and private businesses should be encouraged to procure fairly-traded products.