City of Brandon Becomes 2nd Fair Trade Town in Manitoba

Passionate Volunteers Push for Fair Trade

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brandon, Manitoba—Fairtrade Canada has awarded the City of Brandon official designation as a Fair Trade Town. The announcement was made during an event at the Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The status acknowledges the municipality’s commitment to supporting Fairtrade certified products and was made possible by the strong collaboration between municipal leaders, businesses and a strong base of community volunteers.

Mayor Shari Decter Hirst, who spoke at the event, said “Brandon has a rich agricultural tradition and understands the importance of farmers and producers getting a fair deal. Brandon is also a diverse and global community and is proud to support efforts to bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries.”

The campaign for Fair Trade Town designation began in October 2013, when the Marquis Project, in cooperation with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and the Canadian Fair Trade Network, formed a Fair Trade Town Steering Committee to lead community engagement around the issue of fair trade.

“The initiative was met with overwhelming support from the community,” said Mireille Saurette, chair of the steering committee. “The Brandon Fair Trade Town Steering Committee extends a sincere thank you to the City of Brandon, our community and business partners, and the individuals and volunteers that made becoming a Fair Trade Town possible.”

The Fair Trade Town program recognizes municipalities demonstrating a strong commitment to fair trade from its community stakeholders, including local municipal authorities, businesses, community groups and individual members. The Brandon initiative is currently supported by 17 local businesses, and seven restaurants and cafes that sell two or more Fairtrade certified products—although this support is expected to grow.

The City of Brandon is the second municipality in Manitoba to receive a Fair Trade Town designation. The Rural Municipality of Gimli achieved Fair Trade Town designation in July 2009.

“Fair trade is often framed as something we can participate in as individuals, but the Fair Trade Town program supports the roles that a larger community can take on, and the long-term and large-scale impacts that these developments can have,” said Sean McHugh, executive director at the Canadian Fair Trade Network.

“On behalf of Fairtrade Canada and the 1.2 million farmers and workers we represent, we congratulate the City of Brandon on its sustainability commitments—another one of Manitoba's successful fair trade initiatives," said Marika Escaravage, communications and community relations specialist for Fairtrade Canada.

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The Marquis Project is a non-profit, charitable non-governmental organization dedicated to making our world better. Established in 1979 by development activists in and around Brandon, Manitoba, it is sustained by the support and participation of individuals, families, congregations, schools and community organizations. What began as a small resource centre on world issues serving southwestern Manitoba is now a nationally recognized non-governmental organization. marquisproject.com

Fairtrade Canada is a national, nonprofit fair trade certification organization and the only Canadian member of Fairtrade International. In collaboration with its sister organizations around the world, it manages the internationally renowned and respected Fairtrade system. fairtrade.ca

The Canadian Fair Trade Network is a non-profit organization that works with Canadian civil society to advance awareness and support for fair trade. It supports best practices in fair trade and envisions a Canada that is a global leader in social and environmental responsibility. cftn.ca

The Fair Trade Town program is operated by Fairtrade Canada in co-operation with the Canadian Fair Trade Network. cftn.ca/fair-trade-town-program

Contact

Mireille Saurette, Chair, Brandon Fair Trade Town Steering Committee
204-724-7836

Zack Gross, Fair Trade Outreach Coordinator, MCIC
(204) 801-5164  |  fairtrade@mcic.ca

Sean McHugh, Executive Director, Canadian Fair Trade Network
(604)-785-0084  |  sean@cftn.ca

Marika Escaravage, Communications & Community Relations, Fairtrade Canada
(613) 563-3351 x250  |  marika.escaravage@fairtrade.ca

Editor’s notes

Fair trade is a market-based system that uses informed consumer support to influence international trade practices toward greater social and environmental sustainability. As a response to conventional trade systems, which have contributed to poverty and poor working conditions within developing countries, fair trade aims to build an alternative approach based on mutually beneficial relationships between producers and consumers.

It is a powerful tool that goes beyond charity and other aid programs. At its core, fair trade aims to empower marginalized producers in improving their own living conditions. With the proper resources, capacity, and key relationships, disadvantaged producers are able to earn their own means to a better life for themselves and their communities.