Fairtrade Fortnight in Scotland was lively and successful with events taking place all across the country.
The highlight for us in the Scottish Fair Trade Forum was the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, of further Scottish Government funding of over £309,000 over the next two financial years, but in cities, towns and other communities people found their own causes for celebration.
Often these were linked to visits by Fair Trade producers from overseas. These included Jennifer Wettaka from the Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative in Uganda; Masauko Kembo from the Kasinthula Cane Growers' Co-operative in Malawi; Agnes Armah and Elias Mohammed, Fairtrade cocoa farmers from Ghana; and Norma Gadea Pavias, a Fairtrade coffee farmer from Nicaragua who visited the Scottish Parliament as a guest of George Adam MSP, Co-convenor of the Cross Party Group on Fair Trade, where she met members of the Cross Party Group.
Across the country, cities and towns organised their own Fair Trade Fortnight events.
Bishopton Primary School hosted a Fairtrade Afternoon tea and the Old Library Centre in Kilbarchan screened the acclaimed film, Black Gold, about one man's struggle to get a fair price for the coffee he produces.
Wallneuk Church in Paisley hosted coffee mornings; Masauko Khembo spoke at Cults Parish Church in Aberdeen where a Traidcraft stall made over £100 in 45 minutes: and Fife Fair Traders took Fair Trade to 'New Heights in the Kingdom' with a walk up West Lomond, the highest point in Fife.
At the same time Jennipher Wettaka was welcomed to a coffee morning with the Cambuslang and Rutherglen towns group in South Lanarkshire, visited the Environmental market in Dumfries and toured Kirkculdbright
The City of Edinburgh Fair Trade Steering Group hosted their annual Fair Trade Brunch at Cafe Camino in St Mary's RC Cathedral and heard the announcement of the Lord Provost's Fair Trade Awards.
Glasgow Caledonian University celebrated the award of Fairtrade status by the Fairtrade Foundation.
St Thomas Church in Arbroath had a Big Brew after Mass; the High School had a visit from Fairtrade sugar farmer from Malawi, Masauko Khembo; Warddykes Primary School had a Fairtrade Dodgeball event; the town held a Fair Trade Coffee Morning with the Arbroath Fair Trade Steering group, the local MP, MSP and councilors; Arbroath Football Club served Fairtrade tea and coffee at their Saturday matches; and Inverbrothock Primary School organised a Fair Trade Treasure Hunt.
In Aberdeen, customers of the Drum Garden centre were treated to a meet and greet with sugar grower, Masauko Khembo, and the new Steering Group that is working to keep Aberdeen a Fairtrade City.
Palestinian olive oil producers, Abu Kamal and Manal Abdullah, gave a presentation in Stirling about Fair Trade and Hadeel hosted an illustrated talk about women's rights and education by Hanan Alsanah, Director of Education and Community Building at Lakiya, which drew over 80 people.
In Alloa, Abu Kamal and Manal Abdullah attended a music and dance event and answered any questions about Fair Trade.
Bonnyrigg Primary School hosted a special Big Brew Coffee Afternoon which raised just under £200.
In Elgin there was a big turnout for the Fair Trade Steering group's Fairtrade tea and coffee evening, held in Elgin Library. Abu Kamal and Manal Abdallah took part.
Mrunal Lahankar from Fairtrade cotton producers, Chetna Organic in India, visited East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, New Lanark and Edinburgh and gave presentations on the importance of Fairtrade cotton.
In Midlothian, Fairtrade Football pioneer, Jamie Lloyd visited a number of events in Bonnyrigg, Lasswade, Dalkeith and Penicuik.
Strathaven celebrated 10 years as a Fairtrade Town at the East Church Hall.
The Farmers' Market in Paisley had a Fairtrade stall.
A Fairtrade Coffee Morning was held in St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Crieff.
There was a tasting stall in the Dundee Health Store, visited by our Palestinian guests Abu Kamal and Manal.
In St Andrews, the University Fairtrade Steering Group and Fife Fairtrade Forum hosted an information event in the University Union where Abu Kamal and Manal Abdallah spoke about Fairtrade farming.
The Cupar Fair Trade Steering Group and Fife Fair Trade Forum organised an evening tea and coffee meeting with Zaytoun samples. A moving talk was given by Abu Kamal and Manal Abdallah, with a very warm and supportive response from the community in attendance at St. Columbia's church, Cupar.