Town marks its seven-year Fairtrade status

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Tina Mitchell, Buckingham Fairtrade steering group, in The Old Gaol.

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Tina Mitchell, Buckingham Fairtrade steering group, in The Old Gaol.

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A town centre anniversary event celebrated seven years of Fairtrade status and 20 years since the mark was introduced in the UK.

Buckingham became a Fairtrade town in 2007 and the town’s Fairtrade Steering Group, in partnership with Buckingham Town Council, has held an event in September ever since.

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Margaret Gateley, Buckingham Fairtrade steering group. PNL-140920-205021009

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Margaret Gateley, Buckingham Fairtrade steering group. PNL-140920-205021009

This year’s celebration, on Saturday, saw a range of products including chocolate, tea and coffee, sold from stalls with entertainment from Buckingham Acoustic Club.

Secretary of the Fairtrade Steering Group Tina Mitchell, who sold produce from a stall in The Old Gaol, hopes some of the town’s major employers can introduce Fairtrade products too.

She said: “Sugar is an easy one for the shops but some find it difficult to do coffee because they have to have special machines.

“We don’t have a major employer but we have a really good town council who have been on board from the beginning.

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Entertainment by The Linda Watkins Band. PNL-140920-205031009

Buckingham Fairtrade Town anniversary event. Entertainment by The Linda Watkins Band. PNL-140920-205031009

“There was a good buzz all through the morning – we had a much bigger range of products this year and with the 20th anniversary of the mark too, it was quite a timely celebration to have.”

Mrs Mitchell said the aim of the group, which has four core members, is to raise awareness and monitor the schools’ products.

She said there is even talk of introducing a smartphone Fairtrade app although it is still ‘early days’.

But the group, which produces leaflets every two years for the town, thinks there is more work to be done until producers in developing countries get the trading conditions they deserve.

Mrs Mitchell said: “There’s always room for improvement - it’s a bit of an uphill struggle.

“But people in the town do know about Fairtrade products, even if they don’t buy loads of the products.

“There’s still a long way to go but it’s good people are aware.”