The City of Birmingham is working towards status as a Fair Trade City. Dal Singh Dhesy of the Sikh Community and Youth Service and I attended a briefing at the Council House this morning (5/3/2005) when the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mike Nangle, unveiled a logo designed by Birmingham school children as part of a competition. There was a slight hitch when the curtain was drawn back to reveal a blank space. Nobody had put the winning drawing in place. A quick search found the design and the winners were photographed receiving prizes for both themselves and their schools.
Speakers came from co-operatives in Ethiopia and Ghana (Cape Coast region) and told us how farmers had been able to put money back into their communities, In each case priorities had been to provide schools to educate the next generation to build on this foundation. We were told that Ethiopia was the birth place of coffee and takes its name from the site with which it is associated.
A front runner in retail outlets for fair trade is the Co-op which is also at the forefront of a campaign to increase participation. A partner is being sought from leading business organisations in Birmingham to buy fair trade products.
More information on Fair Trade is available from newconsumer, who are working with the Fair Trade Foundation on a campaign Make Poverty History