Scotland has sights set on becoming a Fair Trade Nation in 2012

Scotland aims to become a Fair Trade Nation in 2012, and to raise awareness the Co-operative Group's membership team is backing a series of events to promote African...

Scotland aims to become a Fair Trade Nation in 2012, and to raise awareness the Co-operative Group's membership team is backing a series of events to promote African cooking using fair trade ingredients.

“Savour the Flavour” events have already been held in conjunction with Just Trading Scotland, with the most recent session in Alloa. Following the success, more are planned throughout 2012. Just Trading Scotland is a Paisley-based social enterprise involved in the import and wholesale distribution of fairly traded goods and crafts.

Its African Kitchen-branded products, from Malawi and Swaziland, are used alongside Co-operative Food products at the events to inspire people to cook African recipes. The Alloa event, backed by The Co-operative Membership in Scotland, also involved Glasgow’s Calabash African restaurant and Fi Bird, a finalist on TV’s MasterChef and author of “Kids’ Kitchen”. It attracted a full house to a local restaurant. As well as cooking demonstrations by the experts, the two-hour event included cooking tips, food tastings, quizzes and recipe cards, all encouraging amateur cooks to have a go in their own kitchens at home.

The Co-operative Membership began working with Just Trading Scotland, to develop fairtrade cooking events last year. Following the successes of the event in Alloa and similar pilots held earlier last year, The Co-operative Membership team in Scotland and Just Trading Scotland are planning to take the event out on the road. Details are still being finalised, but “Savour the Flavour” will visit nine Scottish towns during June and July, giving people up and down the country the chance to learn more about how to make the best use of fantastic fairly traded foods, while having some fun at the same time.

Soon, local communities will also be able to stage their own “Savour the Flavour” events, by borrowing an African Kitchen Community Kit, which is currently being developed. Just Trading Scotland’s Tracy Mitchell said: “Together with The Co-operative, we’re inviting communities to take up the challenge of increasing Scotland’s fairtrade. We’re determined to help Scotland become a Fair Trade Nation, and it is great to have the backing of The Co-operative to help get out and about to inspire people.”

For The Co-operative Membership, joining forces with Just Trading Scotland was a natural partnership, as a business with a long and proud track record of supporting fairtrade. It’s one thing knowing we have stores across Scotland, and the whole UK, stocking a wide range of Fairtrade produce, but it’s great to be able to take it a step further and actively show people how to get the most out of the ingredients.

A series of events promoting fair trade, showing amateur cooks how to cook tasty African dishes, and the result of co-operation between different organisations … a great example of what can be achieved during the United Nations’ International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.

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