The Marquis Project will be holding a meet and greet this evening to celebrate the launch of the Brandon “Fair Trade Town” campaign.
Special guest will be Sean McHugh, the executive director of the Canadian Fair Trade Network.
The meet-and-greet takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the foyer outside the Marquis Project office at Community Futures Westman, 940 Princess Ave.
It will also be a chance for members of the community to meet the Marquis Project’s new education program facilitator, Samantha Dellezay, who will implement programming for the 2013-14 school year courtesy of a grant received from Manitoba Education.
Meanwhile, McHugh will also visit Ten Thousand Villages on Rosser Avenue at 2:30 p.m. to meet staff and their board to talk about the Fair Trade Town initiative.
He’ll be accompanied by Zack Gross from the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation. Gross is the former executive director of the Marquis Project in Brandon.
According to the Fairtrade Canada website, the idea of a “Fair Trade Town” was born in England in 1999, when an Oxfam group in the town of Garstang wanted to promote fair trade as part of a community effort.
The campaign aimed to make Garstang the world’s first Fair Trade Town. This goal soon attracted the interest of others throughout the community, including private citizens, local businesses, and the town council.
All of the excitement surrounding the campaign soon captured the attention of local and regional media and before long Garstang became a famous landmark and an international campaign was born.
While there are now more than 630 Fair Trade Towns in 18 countries, the movement is relatively young in Canada. Gimli is the only other community in Manitoba to certify.
To become a Fair Trade Town, a community must achieve the following six goals:
• Political support: The local council uses Fairtrade-certified products and supports the Fair Trade Towns campaign;
• Availability of products: Stores and restaurants serve Fairtrade-certified products;
• Community support: Workplaces, faith groups, and schools use and promote Fairtrade-certified products;
• Public education: Public awareness events and media coverage held on fair trade and the campaign;
• Fair Trade Town committee: A steering group created for continued commitment;
• Keep the momentum: Other ethical and sustainable initiatives promoted within the community.