Following years of grassroots efforts and advocacy throughout the city, Edmonton has officially become a Fairtrade town, as announced last Thursday evening in the University of Alberta’s Alumni Room.
The announcement revealed that Edmonton is the third largest Canadian city to be named a Fairtrade town, and the 17th city in total.
Formal approval from Fairtrade Canada entailed several conditions Edmonton had to meet, such as garnering community support, raising public awareness through events, convincing City Council to commit to purchasing Fairtrade products and having dozens of Edmonton’s restaurants, cafes and stores selling at least two Fairtrade products.
Fairtrade Edmonton Coodinator Valantina Amalraj said the city’s new status as a Fairtrade town is a stepping stone to a greater nat-ional recognition of the issues and complexities surrounding global trade.
“Being a Fairtrade town is just, in a nutshell, a way to showcase that there’s all this support, and Edmontonians care about how global trade happens and they care about what they buy,” she said.
“It basically shows that Canada is catching onto a movement that’s really big in places like Europe, but I think the biggest thing it says is that it sends a message to our government that this is something Canadian citizens care about.”
A number of speakers, including MP Linda Duncan, comm-ented on the work U of A students and Edmonton youth have done to further the cause.
“It’s really, really incredible to see a group of young people come together and actually achieve success,” she said.
“You’re the leaders. You’re the ones who can get up and vote, you’re the ones who can make a change.”
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