Fair minded …
CuparNow is ‘by business, for business‘ – but we know and appreciate none of the town’s businesses would thrive were it not for the incredible community spirit that abounds in the town. There’s a multitude of groups and organisations that collaborate and work hard to enhance the Cupar experience. We caught up with Margaret Lawrence, Chair of Cupar Fair Trade, to discover more about their work …
We met in the ground floor cafe at Cupar’s County Buildings on St Catherine Street. Margaret explained the Group’s objectives, saying: “Our aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of fairly traded goods, for the producers, retailers and the customers.” In short, this means that the group – and those with whom they work – adhere to The Fairtade Charter …
Margaret adds: “Fairtrade puts ‘People’ and ‘Planet’ before ‘Profit’ – bringing together issues of fair trade, sustainability and climate change.” To be badged as ‘fairtrade’, all products must be sustainably produced and guarantee a fair price for the producer, allowing families in developing countries to invest in the future and educate their children.
The Cupar Fairtrade Group was formed about 14 years ago. Margaret explains: “The local Justice and Peace Group were involved in Trade Justice and launched a group to motivate interested people to form the Fairtrade Group.” As a a result, Cupar became a Fairtrade town in February 2009.
Over the last decade, they have hosted a number of Fairtrade producer speakers from around the world. Margaret says: “They have shared inspiring stories of how the benefits of fairtrade impact on their communities, helping to lift families out of poverty, providing health care, clean water, education and empowerment of women.”
Seeing the light …
They have a stall at the Lighthouse Cafe on Bonnygate on the first Thursday of the month. “We can also set it up wherever there is a suitable venue or event – particularly in local churches and at County Buildings.” They offer a wide range of fairtrade products for sale at their stalls: two of their main products are Zaytoun Palestinian Olive Oil and Kilombero rice from Malawi.
The group has eight core members and they circulate information to around 40 supporters – including Cupar’s three Councillors. We asked Margaret what she considered the group’s greatest achievement to date: “Winning the Scottish Fairtrade Innovation Award in 2017 in recognition for our Fairtrade Mural which can be seen on the wall as you head from Bonnygate into the Co-op car park.”
As with all the wee profiles we feature on this Blog, we always ask what is recommended for the first time visitor to Cupar – or for the first time in a long time. Margaret says: “Take a walk up the Crossgate and along the Bonnygate and view the Mural on the Co-op wall. You can visit shops en route, looking out for Fairtrade goods to purchase. Visit a caf to have a refreshing cup of fairly traded tea or coffee knowing that every time you opt for fairly traded goods, you are helping to bring more justice to our world.”
Margaret and the team are always keen to help businesses and organisations in the town who’d like to become more involved and supportive of Fairtrade.
You can follow their Facebook page and pop in to see them at The Lighthouse when they’re running their stall on the first Thursday of each month.
Thanks for reading!