On Saturday 8th March, at the end of Fairtrade Fortnight 2014, we enjoyed a wonderful celebration of the 10th Anniversary of York’s Fairtrade City Status. We were blessed with good weather for our information and campaign stall in St Helen’s Square and a great day was had by all. Passers-by and the Lord Mayor enjoyed riding the Smoothie Bike, using people power to make delicious Fairtrade banana smoothies, and many signed the ‘Stick with Foncho’ Fairtrade Fortnight campaign cards to ‘Make Bananas Fair’.
We were delighted to welcome Aimeth Fernandez Angulo, a Fairtrade banana farmer from Columbia, to York for the weekend. It was truly inspirational to meet with a ‘real, live’ Fairtrade producer and hear first-hand what a huge difference Fairtrade has made to the lives of her family and community.
In the evening the Lord Mayor, Cllr Julie Gunnell, hosted a reception at the Mansion House on the theme of ‘Fairtrade Past, Present and Future’, which was packed with Fairtrade supporters from York and beyond. Hugh Bayley, MP for the City of York, spoke movingly about the importance of Fairtrade in his own life and its growth in the city over the last decade, particularly mentioning the vital part played by Moira and Charlie of Fairer World.
Aimeth gave a fascinating presentation about her work growing Fairtrade bananas for UK consumers, representing ‘Fairtrade – Present’, and we enjoyed hearing ‘Behind the Bars’; a prizewinning story about Fairtrade chocolate written by young Tom Haygarth of Fulford Secondary School – surely a Fairtrade campaigner of the future.
After the reception we continued the celebrations in the Guildhall, with a delicious bring-and-share buffet washed down with Fairtrade juices, wines and beers. Campaign stalls, a raffle and pop-up Fairtrade shopping from local businesses kept us browsing and chatting, and we were fabulously entertained with music from the ‘Barbarellas’ choir and Voice of the Drum percussion group.
Thank you so much to Aimeth’s translators Maria and Mariela, to the superb musicians, to everyone who baked and brought food for the buffet and to all who came along and helped us to celebrate. Here’s to the next 10 years!