Bruce Crowther began campaigning for Oxfam in 1984 in his spare time. He worked as a vet and persuaded residents and local businesses in Garstang, a small market town, to make a commitment to Fairtrade. Garstang declared itself the world’s first Fairtrade Town in 2000 and inspired the Fairtrade Foundation to develop the Fairtrade Towns campaign.
Since then, over 1,000 Fair Trade Towns in 23 countries worldwide have followed in Garstang’s footsteps. The establishment of the FIG Tree international visitor centre in 2011 was the logical next stage in maintaining Garstang as a beacon for Fairtrade. Read a 2013 account of this remarkable achievement here.
The Fig Tree relocated to St. John’s Church, Lancaster, but suffered localised flooding before Christmas. The Lancaster Guardian reported: “Terrible floods caused untold damage to one of the most historic buildings in Lancaster”.
Can readers suggest new premises in Lancaster?
Despite being rendered homeless the FIG Tree continued to work for fair trade and trade justice and The Friends Meeting House in Lancaster (below) kindly allowed the Fig Tree to use their premises for meetings and workshops free of charge.
Over 120kg of chocolate were produced, providing a sales income of £6,500. This must be increased in 2018, hence the need to find suitable premises so production can be taken away from Bruce’s kitchen and volunteers can be enlisted.
Following the success of our soya milk chocolate an almond milk chocolate and a vegan white chocolate also using almond milk has been produced. It is available at Single Step wholefood cooperative and The Radish in Lancaster. FIG Tree chocolate is also available online from Ellie Choc Chocolates.
Readers are invited to join the Fig Tree Co-operative
Bruce wrote recently “If you know of an individual, corporate, community group and especially a Fair Trade Town group that may consider joining us we would be most grateful for your support in encouraging them. The flyer (above) is for information and application forms to download are available on our website at: http://fairtradecentre.org/become-a-member.”
The Fig Tree so far has 30 members and its target is 200. There is one corporate member, the Cooperative Group, and more community group members are needed. All members that sign up before the AGM will be entered into a draw to win a FIG Tree chocolate hamper worth £50, The AGM will be held later in the year when more members have joined and suitable premises may have become available..
Regular messages will be sent to all members every month except January, April, July and October each year when the quarterly newsletter will be sent to over 550 subscribers, including all members.
Contact: Bruce Crowther Executive Director, The FIG Tree:
m: 07526 713255