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Woman proposes fair trade town

The Sun Times, CAN

Liz Campbell believes Saugeen Shores could become the third “fair trade town” in Canada.

“By becoming a fair trade town, we are confirming our community’s commitment to supporting the principles of fair trade and improving the livelihood of millions of farmers and workers in the global south who benefit from the fair trade certification system,” the Port Elgin resident told a town council committee of the whole meeting earlier this month.

Campbell said among of the major goals of the program are to encourage access to fair trade-certified products in the community and to increasing public awareness of the issue of fair trade.

“We already meet many of the criteria and with some support from council and the development of a dedicated steering committee, which I will launch, we can easily become the third fair trade town in Canada and the first in Ontario,” said Campbell. “Add this to our already excellent reputation as a vacation retreat and Saugeen Shores will not go unnoticed.”

The two fair trade towns are Wolfville, N.S., and La Pˆche, Que. Fair trade is an international system of doing business that contributes to sustainable development and improved conditions for producers and workers and their communities in developing countries. Under fair trade arrangements, less money goes to middlemen and more goes to the producer, usually an independent farmer, member of a small co-operative or an artisan. Some of the money paid for products is diverted to the wider community to, for example, build schools or improve infrastructure.

Campbell said Saugeen Shores residents have high disposable incomes and a genuine concern for the welfare of others, so the fair trade town campaign is perfect for “our small but big-hearted community.” She wants to earn the fair trade town status in time to have a sign erected for the May 24 weekend.

“This kind of initiative would bring the community together,” said Coun. Victoria Serda. “It would make us more aware of our Canadian values in making purchases and how that affects other people.”

Campbell said coffee shops in both Southampton and Port Elgin and several gift shops in Saugeen Shores already offer fair trade products. Council agreed to support the initiative.

Anyone who wants to help with the program can call Campbell at 519-389-2295 or e-mail her at
campbell650clan@mac.com or liz_campbell@bwdsb.on.ca.

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