The Forum held its annual conference on the 5th September at the Golden Lion Hotel in Stirling, and Fair Trade campaigners, supporters, businesses and organisations from across Scotland were invited to attend.
The conference had a focus on how Fair Trade supports smallholder farmers and also acted as a platform for Fair Trade campaigners from local Fairtrade Towns groups to meet, discuss and exchange ideas. Over 80 people travelled to Stirling for the occasion! The conference was opened by the Forum's Chair Graeme Clark, who welcomed all attendees and introduced our speakers for the day. After a talk by our own Sophie Tolley, Community Engagement Officer, on how Fair Trade supports smallholder farmers, Malcolm Shannon, Managing Director of JTS, presented a case study of the work JTS do in Malawi.
After everyone had returned from lunch, Kevin McCullough, Head of Campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation, and the Forum's Director Martin Rhodes spoke about the importance of campaigning. Several breakout sessions followed, including an Introduction to the World Fair Trade Organisation’s Guarantee System for Campaigners and an update on the cooperation between the R&A and the St Andrews Fairtrade Steering group regarding to The Open 2015, where all tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar and bananas supplied throughout the Championship were Fairtrade. There were sessions addressing the Future of Fairtrade as well as how Fairtrade Towns groups can generate income and keep track of their funds.
Keynote speaker Kenny Ewan, CEO of WeFarm, gave an introduction to ‘the internet for people without the internet’. WeFarm is a pioneering social enterprise that launched a peer to peer knowledge-sharing platform for small-scale farmers in rural communities in Africa and Latin America. It provides a service for producers to ask questions addressing anything that can improve their lives, from farming techniques to business ideas.
We'd like to thank all our speakers and attendees for making the event such a success! See you next year!
If you'd like to read up on all the tweets of the day find our storify here.
For a selection of photos please click here!